Urban-inspired collection: Volvo

Volvo’s new Vice President of Sales Tony O’Connell details the company’s latest waste collection iteration – the Volvo FE Low Entry Cab.

With more than 67 per cent of Australians living in a city, one of the biggest challenges going forward for the waste transportation sector will be maintaining and improving safety.

Likewise, minimising one’s environmental impact and increasing efficiencies will be ongoing hurdles, not to mention keeping pace with population growth and its impact on waste generation.

Original equipment manufacturers are cognisant of the task that lies ahead and it’s this determination to innovate that has driven Volvo to continually refine its waste collection range.

To tackle this challenge head-on, Volvo earlier this year launched its FE Low Entry Cab. The company has for years offered the FE and FM as a custom solution for select waste transportation and recycling solutions.

Building on its previous success in the refuse sector, Volvo has made excellent ergonomics, superior all-round visibility and a low vantage point key traits of its latest iteration.

Close to the coalface of its customers is Volvo’s people, with experienced professionals who know the ins and outs of their customer’s needs – fleet managers and councils.

Tony O’Connell, Volvo’s former Aftersales and Services Vice President, is a Volvo industry stalwart. With more than 14 years’ experience with the company, Tony was recently promoted to Vice President of Sales. Tony brings experience across a number of areas, including Soft Products and Retail, National Retail and Project Manager roles.

CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO

In his most recent role, Tony served across Volvo’s dealership network in Australia and New Zealand and focused on improving customer support. This allowed him to develop a grassroots understanding of his customers and challenge Volvo to improve its product offering.

“I really enjoy working with customers and our dealer network to ensure their needs are met and we are best positioned as our customers’ long-term business partner,” Tony explains.

“I like to solve issues before they become problems, and working in a company like Volvo where there is a lot going on, I enjoy negotiating those challenges.”

The FE Low Entry Cab (LEC) design was born out of a need for an efficient and safe refuse vehicle in the busy city of London. The first Volvo FE LEC was released in 2009 but proved popular and quickly became a standard offering.

“We know London is a recognised leader for requirements on direct vision in heavy vehicles, so it is good to be able to draw from the innovative work done in the UK,” Tony says.

“Additionally, London is the epitome of urbanised living, and if the truck suits their strict safety requirements we are confident it will suit Australian cities also.”

Volvo’s newest iteration comes as manufacturers are continually challenged to ensure drivers and refuse workers have maximum visibility and agility in their vehicles and avoid accidents wherever possible. By lowering the driving position and reducing hidden angles, Volvo is able to significantly improve all-round visibility.

“As these vehicles operate in highly urbanised areas in close quarters with road users, it is important for them to have the suitable manoeuvrability and visibility,” he says.

Tony says that the FE Low Entry Cab’s low profile and safety credentials make it an attractive proposition for urban distribution as well as the waste segment.

“Volvo knows that safety is paramount for councils and operators who provide waste management services in busy residential streets and high-traffic urban environments,”
he says.

Tony says Volvo aims to disrupt the current state of the segment and target those looking for safer, more versatile options, with the Volvo FE LEC ready for immediate sale.

“We want to place driver comfort, safety and visibility at the forefront, and we believe we can offer our customers the tailored solutions they need for their business,” Tony says.

Tony says that for this reason, all FE and FM models feature world-class safety and technological innovations, including forward collision warning with autonomous emergency brakes in almost all models. He says that Volvo trucks are also engineered to be significantly quieter in order to cause as little noise pollution as possible.

AGILE VISION

Considerable testing has gone into ensuring driver needs are at the forefront of Volvo’s success. Tony says that this involved relentless testing to support maximum visibility out of the front and side windows as well as the mirrors.

In providing excellent ergonomics and superior all-round visibility, Volvo has ensured the windows on either door (optional) allow the driver to clearly see what or who is right beside them. This simple, yet effective feature is particularly important for use in high-traffic urban areas where the safety of vulnerable road users is paramount.

“The literal step up to the cab and the 90-degree angle at which the door opens have been included with driver ease-of-access in mind, aiming to maximise driver convenience when swiftly entering or exiting the cab,” Tony says.

The Volvo FE LEC can accommodate up to four people with the low instep aiming to save drivers time. A range of telematics and connected services also assist in truck monitoring, tracking, preventive maintenance and servicing.

As far as safety is concerned, Volvo has made numerous advancements in its latest model. Tony says the low vantage point of the FE LEC allows the driver and passenger to have maximum visibility of all pedestrians, cyclists and road users surrounding the vehicle.

“As workers in the segments we are targeting often have to leave the vehicle multiple times a shift, it is important they are able to do so safely by having a clear view of their surroundings,” he says.

In the FE LEC, the step has been brought lower to the ground to allow for ease of access. Tony says that as drivers are doing multiple stop shifts where they are hopping in an out of the truck, the walk-up start with a lower step ensures less strain is placed on the driver. A kneeling function has also been included to allow for the vehicle to get 90 millimetres closer to the ground.

“Safety is so important to us at Volvo Trucks. These improved driver ergonomics reduce the chance of a driver tripping or missing a step.

“Some drivers get in and out of the cab more than 200 times a day, the LEC therefore ensures higher safety and productivity.”

KEEPING IT GREEN

Sustainability and a low emissions profile are also values integral to Volvo and part of the design of any new vehicle. In designing the vehicle, Volvo has made the FE Low Entry Cab Euro 6 compliant with an eight-litre up to a 350-horsepower diesel engine ahead of the standard regulations.

“The engine emits clean, frugal power on the road, as to deliver on our promise to work towards cleaner transport solutions,” Tony says.

“In addition, the cab fulfils both EU and Volvo unique safety demands, including legal requirements ECE-R 29/02 and Volvo’s even stricter internal safety requirements such as the Swedish BOF 10 and barrier testing at 30 kilometres an hour.”

To ensure Volvo can service the market with servicing, part and maintenance across the country, Tony says the company offers the largest dealer network in Australia and New Zealand.

“The total cost over the lifetime of the truck is also something our customers value and we consider our offers, including uptime solutions, to be highly competitive,” he says.

“With specific reference to the Volvo FE LEC, this truck has been brought to market as a result of local demand. It’s another example of listening to our customer base and delivering.”

And as the ever-growing waste market continues its upward trajectory, Volvo aims to leverage its global capabilities to meet niche local demands.

“I look forward to capitalising on our global capabilities more in the future to deliver on our promise to tailor our solutions to our customers’ needs,” Tony says.

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Volvo releases new low entry cab

More than 67 per cent of Australians live in a capital city, which brings unique challenges to the transport task.

One of the biggest challenges is how to deliver goods and services safely, efficiently and with the least impact to the environment.

According to Volvo Trucks Australia Vice President Tony O’Connell, Volvo is attempting to meet this challenge with the launch of the Volvo FE Low Entry Cab (LEC).

“Providing excellent ergonomics for the driver as well as superior all-round visibility, the low vantage point of the FE LEC also helps keep vulnerable road users and pedestrians safe,” Mr O’Connell said.

“The Volvo FE LEC is literally a walk up start for applications where the driver leaves the cab multiple times during a shift.”

Mr O’Connell said the lower step minimises the chance of a driver tripping or missing a step when entering or exiting the vehicle.

“A versatile cab configuration means that the FE LEC can be specified with up to four seats and flat cross cab access, or a more traditional two seat layout with an internal instep,” Mr O’Connell said.

“This new truck has class leading driver visibility and improved driver ergonomics, and most importantly, the FE LEC features Volvo Trucks world-class safety and technological innovations, including emergency braking as standard.”

Mr O’Connell said the flexible platform targets the waste sector, however its low profile also makes it useful for multi-drop urban distribution.

“Volvo Trucks has placed urban emissions high on the agenda, and the FE LEC utilises a Euro 6 compliant eight-litre up to 350hp diesel engine to deliver clean, frugal power to the road,” Mr O’Connell said.

“This truck is also equipped with Volvo’s class leading I-Shift automated transmission or a traditional automatic 6-speed with torque converter.”

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Volvo EC250D and EC300D excavators

Volvo EC250D and EC300D excavators have been designed to operate with faster cycle times and greater productivity than previous models.

With this in mind, the machines offer operators a seven to 10 per cent increase in fuel efficiency.

The company’s D7 diesel engine seamlessly integrates with all excavator systems, with the premium, six-cylinder engine delivering high performance and low fuel consumption. Auto engine shutdown, ECO mode and a fuel consumption display all contribute to fuel efficiency.

Volvo incorporates a smart hydraulic system which increases controllability, offering smoother and easier movement when travelling and lifting simultaneously. The harmonised boom and arm movement also works to offer better grading.

To enable a better working environment, the D-series cab comprises a I-ECU monitor for machine status information, a climate control system to set the ideal temperature and a rollover protective structure for increased operator safety.

The easy maintenance design incorporates safe and easy access centralised filters and grouped greasing points. The radiator, charged air cooler and hydraulic oil cooler are situated side by side on a single layer to maximise efficiency, reduce blockages and aid cleaning.

A fully sealed electrical distribution box contains all fuses and relays, working to protect against dirt and moisture for more machine uptime.

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Repurpose It goes Volvo buying excavators and loaders

Australian waste-to-resource company Repurpose It have opted for Volvo Construction Equipment’s excavators and loaders for their Victorian plant.

The five new machines will assist the company’s loading and handling duties to assist in their recycling operation that sees large quantities of waste material re-used in the construction industry.

One Volvo EC250DL and two EC220DL units were chosen for excavation duties on the site, Repurpose It aims to input the tools on general earthmoving, screen feeding, sorting and stockpiling projects.

The company chose the L110F and L220H two-wheeled loaders for their loading work which will see hopper fed into their new recycling plant.

Repurpose It CEO George Hatzimanolis said that the company was happy to choose Volvo as the manufacturer alings with their energy efficiency commitments and engineering values.

“Our business is focused on reducing our carbon footprint and working towards a more sustainable future, as is Volvo,” Mr Hatzimanolis said.

“We were also attracted to the quality that comes with Volvo machines.”

The two EC220DL excavation units chosen for the site uses Volvo’s modern D6 diesel engine reporting 10% extra fuel efficiency over its competitors.

The Volvo machines were purchased from Dandenong’s CJD Equipment, Volvo’s exclusive Australian distribution partner.

Volvo Trucks signs milestone deal with Norwegian company

In what is being described as a landmark deal by Volvo Trucks, the commercial vehicle manufacturer has announced it has agreed to provide its first commercial autonomous solution in Norway.

Brønnøy Kalk AS will use six driverless Volvo FH trucks to transport limestone from pit to port, a five-kilometre journey through a network of tunnels between the mine site and crusher.

The agreement, reportedly a first of its kind for Volvo Trucks, involves a deal whereby the customer buys a total transport service and pays per tonne delivered.
An operator of a wheel loader will manage the autonomous Volvo FH trucks from hub to hub in a controlled environment near Velfjord in Norway.

While tests for the operation have been ongoing, they are set to continue into the latter half of 2019 when it is anticipated the commercial solution will become fully operational.

It’s a first for Volvo Trucks who will be selling the transport solution rather than just autonomous trucks to Brønnøy Kalk.

Raymond Langfjord, Managing Director of the mine said it was an important first step given competition in the resources sector was always tough.

“We are continuously looking to increase our efficiency and productivity long-term, and we have a clear vision of taking advantage of new opportunities in technology and digital solutions,” he said.

“We were searching for a reliable and innovative partner that shares our focus on sustainability and safety.”

“Going autonomous will greatly increase our competitiveness in a tough global market,” said Langfjord.

Volvo Trucks, according to its President Claes Nilsson, is providing an autonomous solution that will meet the challenges of its customers in terms of safety, reliability and profitability.

“Global transport needs are continuously changing at a very high pace and the industry is demanding new and advanced solutions to stay ahead,” he said.

“Our aim is to be the leader of the development of products and services to respond to these demands” he said.

Reaching this point of introducing autonomous solutions, according to Sasko Cuklev, Volvo Trucks Director Autonomous Solutions, was exciting.

“By working in a confined area on a predetermined route, we can find out how to get the best out of the solution and tailor it according to specific customer needs,” he said.

“This is all about collaborating to develop new solutions, providing greater flexibility and efficiency as well as increased productivity.”

Volvo Group Australia to upgrade Queensland facility

Truck manufacturer Volvo Group Australia has announced it will upgrade its current truck plant in Wacol, Brisbane.

The news was announced at the launch of the company’s $30 million Australian headquarters and Brisbane south dealership.

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The new headquarters houses offices, a dealership dedicated to Volvo, Mack and UD trucks, which all had models on display and a 33,000 square metre workshop at the new Metroplex Westgate business park.

It features a Leonardo Di Vinci-inspired helix central staircase made of muted Scandinavian timber and a seven-metre glass hangar door inside a 12.5 metres high atrium to accommodate the display of heavy vehicles.

The company employs more than 1500 employees around Australia and has produced more than 60,000 trucks from its Wacol factory since 1972 when it first began manufacturing in Queensland.

Volvo Group international President and CEO Martin Lundstedt said the refurbishment of the nearby Wacol truck plant attests to the strong outlook of the company as it ramps up production.

“Our increase in market share towards 27 per cent over the past five years in combination with a strong heavy-duty truck market, makes it necessary to further increase our production capacity,” he said.

“In the past five years alone, production at our Wacol factory has increased by 40 per cent.”

Mr Lundstedt said the investment in the new Wacol facility will provide a boost to its 85 local component suppliers.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the announcement at the opening of the new facility, which employs 500 workers and is a significant part of the state’s manufacturing base.

“Volvo Group is the only truck manufacturer to be awarded ‘Australian Made’ certification, and we’re particularly proud to call them Queensland-made,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Their commitment to the state is a vote of confidence in our future and testament to the State’s economic strength.”

Outgoing Volvo Group Australia President Peter Voorhoeve said the building housed 200 staff.

“It’s a beautiful building but more than that it’s a tangible demonstration of Volvo Group’s commitment to its future operations in Australia,” he said.

Volvo Cars commit to 25 per cent recycled plastics by 2025

Volvo Cars has announced that by 2025 at least 25 per cent of the plastics used in each new Volvo will be made from recycled material.

It has also urged the auto industry suppliers to work more closely with car makers to develop new sustainable components, especially when it comes to plastics.

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The company has unveiled a new version of its XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV that has several of its plastic components replaced with equivalents containing recycled materials.

The XC60’s interior has a console made from renewable fibres and plastics from discarded fishing nets and maritime ropes. The carpet contains fibres made from PET plastic bottles and a recycled cotton mix from clothing manufacturing offcuts.

The seats also contain material from PET bottles, with used car seats from old Volvo cars being used to create the sound absorbing material under the bonnet.

It follows the company’s announcement that it will electrify all new Volvo cars by 2019, stating that it aims to make fully electric cars 50 per cent of its global sales by 2025.

President and CEO of Volvo Cars Håkan Samuelsson said Volvo Cars is committed to minimising its global environment footprint.

Environmental care is one of Volvo’s core values and we will continue to find new ways to bring this into our business. This car and our recycled plastics ambition are further examples of that commitment,” he said.

Senior Vice President of Global Procurement at Volvo Cars Martina Buchhauser said the company already work with suppliers when it comes to sustainability.

“However, we do need increased availability of recycled plastics if we are to make our ambition a reality. That is why we call on even more suppliers and new partners to join us in investing in recycled plastics and to help us realise our ambition,” she said.

Image: Volvo Cars

JJ Richards & Sons bolsters fleet with 20 Volvo trucks

JJ Richards & Sons has started a seven-year contract to provide kerbside collection services for the City of Whittlesea, Victoria, with 20 new Volvo FE side-loaders.

The City of Whittlesea said in a statement that the waste collection trucks feature Euro VI–compliant environmental design, demonstrating its commitment to investing in sustainable equipment that reduces the impact of vehicle emissions. The contract began at the end of April.

The trucks are also fitted with the JJ Richards–designed j-Track in-cab computer system that provides real-time service tracking and information, reducing the likelihood of bins being missed. Data is reportedly updated within minutes and records every bin lift with location, date and time.

The vehicles are also fitted with Black Moth Mobile Vision System comprising an on-board dual-touchscreen computer as well as up to five wide-angle smart cameras, giving the driver access to 360° vision around the vehicle.

The Volvo side-loaders have also been engineered to be significantly quieter, with advanced engine braking systems and a thick layer of insulation under the cab to help reduce engine noise, therefore ensuring as little disruption to residents as possible.

Last year, JJ Richards & Sons invested in 20 new waste recovery trucks for a new nine-year kerbside waste and recycling contract in Cairns.

The FE Electric garbage truck is set for launch by Volvo Trucks in Europe. Developed with refuse equipment builder, Faun, the new truck will reportedly be operational in Hamburg, Germany, early 2019

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