The UK's largest cement manufacturer, Lafarge Cement UK has invested over £7 million in a brand new fleet, increasing its vehicle payload and helping the company reduce its road traffic impact by 17 per cent.
Over two years the company is completely replacing its old fleet with 109 state-of-the-art DAF FTG CF 85 mid-lift axle 6×2 tractor units, and 43 Feldbinder bulk tank trailers, leading to quieter, safer, more environmentally friendly transportation of its famous Blue Circle products from its eight manufacturing sites and 12 depots around the UK.
And increasing the payload to 30.5 tonnes in a 44 tonne gross weight vehicle means the company can deliver more cement using less vehicles, significantly reducing the company's impact on road traffic.
Once the replacement programme is completed (early next year), the company will have the most up-to-date cement distribution fleet in the country, taking its customer service to new levels.
Alaister White, Lafarge's national logistics manager, comments:
“This is not only great news for our customers, but also for our drivers.
“The tractor units have an AS-tronic automatic gearbox, cruise control, a luxury seat for the driver, air conditioning, and a CD player, making them more driver-friendly and therefore safer on the roads.
“On today's congested highways a driver needs to be in total control of his vehicle in all traffic conditions. The automatic transmission enables him to do that more efficiently and the comfortable working environment helps reduce stress and make for a more relaxed and therefore safer driver.”
As well as these benefits, the company will also achieve lower maintenance costs and less downtime through the more efficient ZF intarder auxiliary braking system – an added safety benefit for drivers who cover hilly terrain such as the area around Lafarge's manufacturing plant in Derbyshire.
The high specification of the DAF includes a lift axle and positive twin-steer set up which improves directional stability making cornering safer and smoother and reducing tyre scuff.
The Feldbinder tank trailers, which hold over 30 tonnes of cement, have a tri-axle running gear, which includes a lifting front axle and a self-tracking rear axle. This also helps minimise wear and tear on the tyres and therefore reduces operating costs.
The DAF units are being leased on a five-year contract through Warrington-based Contract Vehicles Limited (CVL) who also underwrite the residual value.
“We operate a complicated rail and road logistics operation across the UK to ensure all our customers have an efficient cement supply,” continues Alaister White. “These new tractor units and tanks will make a significant difference to our efficiency, our costs and our impact on the environment. We are looking forward to seeing the results.”