2400 hp Truck To Take On World Record

Volvo has unveiled a 2400 hp truck to take on world record speed attempts, but is holding back showing of the video of the event until August 24. The Iron Knight is the result of cooperation between technicians, engineers and designers at Volvo Trucks.


August 23 is the date, announced a few weeks back by Scania, for the unveiling of an all new truck model. The timing of the video release appears to be a part of an ongoing public relations tussle between the two Swedish truck makers, over many years.


2400 hp Truck To Take On World Record


With the exception of the engine and its series-built I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission, the truck is entirely custom-built. With 2400 hp on tap, the truck will attempt to set new international speed records. The powertrain is based on the same unit fitted in a road-going Volvo FH, but the engine has been pushed to its limits to produce maximum power.


“The Iron Knight is the perfect way to showcase the competence and innovative power of Volvo Trucks, said Claes Nilsson, Executive Vice President Volvo Group and President Volvo Trucks. “At the same time, our aim was to generate new insights into technical and design solutions. The intention is to transfer some of these to our series-produced trucks.”


2400 hp Truck To Take On World Record


The engine in the truck is a mid-mounted and significantly modified Volvo D13 unit with water-cooled intercooler and four turbochargers, producing 2400 hp and 6000 Nm of torque. The electric and electronic systems have been scaled down and the software has been re-programmed.


The only adjustment to the gearbox is its reinforced clutch, which is necessary to handle the remarkably high torque.


“The cab is made of fibreglass and designed to cut air resistance to an absolute minimum,” said Nigel Atterbury, Senior Designer at Volvo Trucks. “The side-skirts give the truck an impressive stance with their large air ducts that supply the engine with cooling-air. The Iron Knight has an attractive and powerful design inspired by today’s Volvo FH. You just have to look at the vehicle to realise that this is a truly fast truck. Even when it’s at a standstill it looks like it’s on the move.”


Every Little Bit Helps for Volvo

According to Diesel’s European Correspondent, every little bit helps for Volvo to improve fuel consumption on its models.


Volvo recently tweaked its Euro 6 engines and FH cab aerodynamics in what it describes as, “…yet another step on the path to efficient transportation.” It goes on to say that changes to its Euro 6 ‘C’ D13 engine (fitted in FH and FM) represent “A perfect example of how several small advances together can result in a big improvement.”


Designers put the FH back into a wind tunnel to find new ways to improve its cab’s aerodynamics. As a result it’s fine-tuned the front bumper spoiler, top cab air deflector panels, mudguards and mud flaps as well as the wheel arches, a key source of aerodynamic loss according to Volvo. By reducing the gap between the wheel arch and steer axle tyre, the Swedes have reduced those aerodynamic ‘leakage’ losses and lowered the amount of turbulence around the wheel.


Every Little Bit Helps for Volvo


Likewise, by optimising the shape of the FH’s front bumper spoiler the air stream is now deflected away from the underside of the truck, a notorious area for creating turbulence and drag, to around the side of the truck where it can be better controlled. However, by making the lower part of the bumper of a softer material neither ground clearance or approach angles have been compromised. Similarly the air flow between the back of the FH cab and the front of the trailer has been improved through the use of flexible elements in the corners of the top cab deflector.


Read more about these developments, and more from around Europe in the September/October issue of Diesel. You can catch Brian Weatherley’s ‘Eurobureau’ regularly in every issue of Diesel. 

Collusion Fines for Truck Makers

Massive collusion fines for truck makers have been handed down by the European Union. According to the EU the group of manufacturers were found to be acting as a cartel to fix prices of trucks and time the introduction of technologies to comply with emissions rules.

The fines amount to 3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) and are said to be the highest ever levied by the European authorities. All of the major suppliers to the European market were included in the decision. Those fined in the case so far include MAN, Mercedes Benz, DAF, Iveco and Volvo/Renault and it was asserted they had been colluding for 14 years, from 1997 to 2011. Scania is still under investigation. Read more

Pink Truck for Pilbara

The all new donated pink truck for Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls has been unveiled in its new colour scheme. The Volvo FH16 is one the two new donated trucks PHHG will be using in training new to the industry people in live work environments.


pink truck for pilbara


The Volvo Group Australia President and CEO Peter Voorhoeve handed over the keys to Heather Jones, CEO of Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls in the lead up to the recent ITTES Melbourtne Truck Show. The trucks, which have been donated by Volvo Group, are also being supported by NTI, Jost, Pirelli, Hella and Signs Ahead.


“This is a history making event,” said Jones. “We are trying to find new drivers, but now the leaders in safety are partnering with us in developing drivers for companies by providing trucks on the road.


“I’m so excited, because after such a long time, someone is coming on board and taking the lead with training. They are looking at the future for drivers. I think there is a need for certification, something like, heavy haulage company, Mammoet’s passport program. If you are trained and have the knowledge, have the passport, you can go anywhere in the world and work for the company.”


“I’ve been working with the WA Government to improve licensing, looking at load restraint and adding a few more things. We don’t want more red tape, we actually need more training , so they can do the job. The biggest thing is their attitude.”


pink truck for pilbara


Talking about the culture in the trucking industry and the issues which makes the trucking industry unattractive to women, Jones reckons the culture flows down from the top to the bottom. Middle management and the way recruitment works influences the culture at the driver level.


Turbo Compounding Explained?

Does anyone know exactly how turbo compounding works in a truck engine? It seems to be one of those technologies which appear and disappear without truck buyers actually working out how the thing works. This video doesn’t tell us anything except it will save US truck buyers fuel.

Over the years both Scania and Volvo have introduced and then un-introduced turbo compounding on their truck engines. The current DD 15 from Detroit does have an element of turbo compounding but, as to how it works, the answer is unclear. Read more

Ravaglioli Commercial Vehicle Wireless Mobile Column Lifts

Top Mechanics Face-Off

The world’s biggest competition for workshop personnel is about to take place in Sweden. First held in 1957, the finals of VISTA (Volvo International Service Training Award), held on May 31 to June 1 in Gothenburg, Sweden will have Aussie competitors in the mix.


Two teams from Australia will be competing in the global finals, the VCV Townsville Barras and VCV Sydney Chullora Blues.


“I am so proud of the men and women who make up the Townsville ‘Barras’ and Chullora ‘Blues’ for representing Australia in the VISTA global final,” said Peter Voorhoeve, President of Volvo Group Australia. “These technicians and workshop personnel provide world-class customer service day-in, day-out. For these teams to be recognised on a world stage is fantastic.”



Chullora Blues
The Chullora Blues are heading off to compete in the VISTA Global Final in Sweden


The competition is open to all workshop personnel who work with Volvo trucks or buses. Volvo says the aim is to improve staff competence and further raise the quality of the work done at workshops the world over.


Since the first VISTA competition was first held in 1957, a lot of changes have taken place in the workshops. Back then the job was oily, dirty and demanded physical strength. In theory, today the situation is entirely different.


“Vehicle development demands that the mechanic’s training keeps pace,” said Kent Medin, Instructor at the Volvo Trucks school for mechanics. “This requires a totally different kind of knowhow today in areas such as mechanics, electronics and IT systems. Consequently, mechanics today have much higher status than they did before.”




More than 18,000 people from 96 countries are taking part in the competition, which begins with a theory test.


“This inspires the participants to do their homework and learn more,” said Medin. “In VISTA, everyone in the team is involved, so the ability to cooperate is significantly enhanced.”


In 2013 five per cent of all the participants were women, whereas this year the figure has risen to six per cent. One of the Brazilian teams in the final round includes Natalia Aparecida de Gaspri Silva, Aftersales Administrative Assistant in the Auto Sueco São Paulo workshop. She has worked there for nine years.


“VISTA helps me boost my technical experience, it gives me a broader understanding of the daily challenges facing the workshop, and underscores the importance of teamwork,” said Natalia. “Especially when it happens in an integrated and cohesive way.”


Each team consists of two to four people and the competition begins with three sessions of theoretical questions which the teams answer in their own workshops. After that round, the best teams continue on to the regional semi-finals, from which 32 teams qualify for the global finals, being held in Gothenburg, Sweden. The term ‘workshop personnel’ includes customer receptionists, parts personnel, technicians and mechanics.

Driver Shortage Solution

A survey carried out by Volvo into the driver supply issues has prompted action to address these issues by the company and others involved. Some of the results of the survey are likely to surprise and disturb the trucking industry.


So far, the survey has been responded to by fleets employing a total of 34,000 drivers. 52 per cent of businesses report difficulty in sourcing drivers, but when it comes to attracting the quality of drivers required the number is 82 per cent. 90 per cent of respondents believe bad driver image influences the number of drivers available.


The perception on the part of the general public of drivers is a long way from the reality, according to the results of the survey, with 77 per cent reckoning driver image is outdate and 72 per cent frustrated with driver image by those outside the industry.


Heather Jones from Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls and Peter Voorhoeve, Volvo Group Australia President
Heather Jones from Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls and Peter Voorhoeve, Volvo Group Australia President


In response to the results it found, Volvo, here in Australia, has come out publicly to declare its intention to develop initiatives to improve training standards and the preparation of drivers for the road. As part of this initiative it has immediately come out formally in supporting heavy-vehicle driving academy, The Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls.


This group have been trying to raise awareness of this issue for some time, taking innovative approaches to the issue, such as targeting female drivers.


“Women make up a tiny proportion of Australian heavy-vehicle drivers,” said co-founder of the company, Heather Jones, “but they’re just as capable of driving a big rig as a man. We know that the road freight task is increasing, but fewer people are entering the industry, and a big part of this is an image problem. We want to change that. For a lot of people, driving a truck is all about machismo, but to us it’s about getting the job done safely and efficiently.”


Heather first came to the attention of Volvo Group Australia’s President, Peter Voorhoeve, when he awarded her the ATA’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry’ award in 2015. Since that time, Voorhoeve had been planning ways to support her crusade.


“Australia is facing a big problem when it comes to driver availability, and its only getting worse. We’ve been looking for ways to address the issue for some time now,” said Voorhoeve. “What Heather is doing is exactly what we need more of. The Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls have a waiting list of licensed people who want to be drivers but can’t get a job because they’re lacking experience, Heather provides that much needed experience and stepping-stone to the industry!”


The outcome, from the Volvo Group to the Pilbara Girls, two prime movers, a 700hp Volvo FH16 and 685hp Mack Super-Liner, and access to Volvo Group’s extensive driver training and competence development assets.


“I’m still in shock to be honest,” said Jones, after the presentation. “It’s a fantastically generous offer from Volvo Group Australia, and it vindicates our decision to think differently. With their support, we’re now able to train more people, and train them to the world-class standard of the Volvo Group.”


Heather Jones, in her own business, spent many years extolling the virtues of female drivers. Now under the the banner of Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls, training female drivers is at the core of their business strategy. As the organisation grew, Heather also found she had qualified drivers of both genders applying who couldn’t get a job, so they quickly adapted and now offer comprehensive training regardless of gender.

Volvo To Launch New Truck at Melbourne Show

Volvo Group Australia has announced the Australian launch of its new Volvo FE Euro 6 Dual Control 6×4 rear-air suspension waste truck will be at the 2016 edition of the International Truck, Trailer & Equipment Show in Melbourne.


According to the show’s organisers, a last minute rush for exhibition space has seen multiple prominent names added to the line-up of the show, which starts next Thursday, May 5.

“There has been a real rush to be part of the Show over the past week or so, but we are trying to create sufficient space for everyone to join us at short notice,” said ITTES Show Director, Simon Coburn.

“The idea of bringing together Australia’s main growth industries, transport, infrastructure and waste, under the one roof is spreading rapidly and enticing many new exhibitors to come to Melbourne. I can’t wait for visitors to see what we have in store for them.”

Among the new exhibitors, who have been announced are, Freightmaster Trailers, Harris Trailers and Brimarco, who have all now secured space in the trailer section of the event, with tanker specialist Byford also on board again after a celebrated 2014 outing.

The last minute trailer additions will see a host of equipment travel to the Melbourne Showgrounds, including two A-double tankers from Moama-based Byford, a number of semi-trailer combinations from South Australian Freightmaster Trailers and more from local Victorian builder Harris Trailers.

Iveco Australia, meanwhile, will showcase its recently revamped Acco 6×4 featuring Bucher Municipal’s latest Gen V Series II side-loader unit, and an Iveco Daily 20 m3 van.


Brian Pulls a Big One

The latest Volvo stunt video includes a starring appearance by one of Diesel Magazine’s regular contributors. The video has Euro Bureau correspondent, Brian Weatherley, in a top power Volvo FH16 prime mover pulling a road train loaded with a number of double stacked containers.


The video is pinpointing a new development from Volvo, the new heavy haulage, low crawler gears available in the I-Shift AMT fitted to the FH model in the video. The new gearbox fills a gap in the offering from the Swedish truck maker, which has seen them lose out to truck makers like Mercedes Benz in the extreme heavy haulage market in Europe.


Benz have been offering a 625hp new shape Actros and Arocs 4163 fitted with a 15.6 litre-engine and four-axles, equipped with a Turbo Retarder Clutch and 16-speed PowerShift 3 auto, to handle the biggest heavy haulage tasks in Europe.


The new I-Shift with the lower crawler gears is said to make it possible to set off with a gross combination mass of up to 325 tonnes. This is unique for a series-produced truck, according to Volvo.


“We already know that I-Shift with crawler gears can haul really heavy loads,” said Peter Hardin, Product Manager FM and FMX, Volvo Trucks. “With this challenge, we want to demonstrate the transmission’s immense capacity and show what the new crawler ratios can accomplish.”


When the new video is released, it will reveal how many tonnes Magnus Samuelsson, former winner of the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ competition, and Diesel’s Brian Weatherley can pull in test conditions in the Port of Gothenburg.


“Attempting to move off from standstill with such a heavy load, like we’re doing here, is an immensely tough challenge for a regular series-produced truck with automated transmission,” said Brian Weatherley. “In my 30 years as a trucking journalist, I’ve never witnessed anything like it.”


Look out for Brian’s analysis of the new transmission in the next issue of Diesel Magazine.


No More Smoke and Mirrors

Truck launches have traditionally required loud rock music, along plenty of smoke machines and bright lights. Times are changing! This video  was made at the recent launch of the new F Series medium duty models from Isuzu. Apparently, the new thing is a high tech projection, with a completely white truck and background used along with an innovative design. One of the most eye-catching parts of the show is the way the truck receives a virtual paint job, appearing in a number of customer colour schemes. Read more