EAST YORKSHIRE BULK GRAIN TRANSPORTER, ROBERT CROFT LTD, HAS ADDED AN ANNIVERSARY VEHICLE TO ITS FLEET: A VOLVO FH500 6X2 LITE TRACTOR UNIT.
PHOTOGRAPHY: CRAIG ECCLESTON
The Medium Height chassis tractor unit was specified with a Globetrotter Cab, Volvo D13K engine producing 500hp and an I-Shift automated manual transmission system. Supplied by Crossroads Truck and Bus in Hull, Robert Croft’s new FH is equipped with Harsh hydraulics and hauls a Wilcox 70 cubic yard, tri-axle bulk tipper trailer.
The Globetrotter Cab 6×2 pusher axle tractor unit features Volvo’s lightweight solo drive axle in addition to its factory-fitted, Lite fixed pusher axle. Both of the latter assemblies are cushioned by air suspension. “Delivering a payload of 29.5 tonnes, our new FH 500 is half a tonne lighter than the other truck makes in our fleet. In an industry where you’re paid by the tonne, this is crucial,” says company owner, Robert Croft.
Bearing in mind his fleet’s tough operating sphere, Croft doesn’t live or die on fuel figures. However, like any professional operator he does monitor fuel use and notes: “In addition to its payload advantage, our new FH 500 is also producing fuel returns 1mpg better than anything else in our yard.
Our local dealerpoint in Hull also does a good job for us – the FH’s five year, Volvo Gold Service Contract will be done either on evening or weekend shifts to help protect our productivity figures,” continues Croft.
“In 2018, my wife Rosie and I marked 10 years as co-owners of the business and the new Volvo FH 500 seemed perfect as our anniversary vehicle. Coincidentally, the FH’s driver Mark Wainwright is also marking his tenth year of loyal service with us and the registration mark also pays tribute to him,” The company has already ordered another similarly-specified FH tractor unit.
The FH sports air horns, Kelsa light bars and Alcoa Dura-Bright alloy wheels, as well as 10th-anniversary crests and the tribute registration mark. The Premier Paint Shop at Brandesburton applies the firm’s signature yellow and red livery. “Neil Sellers there does a terrific job for us. I go in with an idea and he delivers the correct design,” says Croft.
Wainwright has been driving trucks for 18 years, the last 10 of which have been with Robert Croft. “We visit farms regularly and the FH has good ground clearance,” he explains. At a lofty six foot four inches tall, he is possibly better placed than most to comment on the FH Globetrotter Cab’s interior. “I can easily stand up and move around in it. I’m usually away all week and there is plenty of storage inside for all of my gear.”
Wainwright is impressed with the FH 500’s Volvo Engine Brake (VEB). “I often drive in really hilly territory and never have to use the service brakes, as the VEB takes care of most conditions. It climbs the hills well too. Brighouse Hill is one that comes to mind, the truck romps up there at 48mph in 11th gear. Wainwright concludes: “Another plus is that the FH’s Adblue tank lasts me all week. It means I can fill up at our yard and I don’t have to buy any top ups out on the road, which is an expensive option.”