Commercial vehicle suppliers

Date: Thursday, June 04, 2015   |   Author: Steve Banner

Lift off

Penny Hydraulics used the CV Show to launch a new line-up of hydraulic cranes with lifting capacities of 0.5–5.0t/m and a boom reach of up to almost 7.0m. The line-up includes more than 470 different models.

Marketed under the PH banner, the cranes can be operated from ground level using controls mounted on the vehicle. a wanderlead or a wireless remote are both also available. Using cranes or tail-lifts wherever possible makes more sense from the health and safety viewpoint than loading or unloading vehicles transporting heavy items manually, general manager, sales, Jessica Penny told What Van? “around 1% of all workplace fatalities, serious injuries and injuries that result in a worker being off sick for more than three days are related to manual handling,” she observed.

Material solutions

Bodybuilders are continuing to employ different materials and methods of construction. Tamworth-based Strongs Plastic Products is a prime example and was exhibiting a selection of co-polymer plastic bodies mounted on 4x4 pick-up platforms. The line-up included a neat-looking tipper body on an Isuzu D-max.
It is the first one Strongs has produced with a 1.2t payload capacity using underfloor ram tipping gear sourced from Cornwall Isuzu dealer Roger young. young has a specialist fabrication division that produces tipper and dropside bodies on D-max chassis and one of its vehicles was on the Strongs stand.

Addressing a different sector of the market, Leicester’s Doyles Commercial Bodybuilding was promoting the advantages of a 3.5t Peugeot Boxer-based Luton under the aduro banner with a 20m3 body made from a composite material. Said to be over half a tonne lighter than a traditional Luton, it offers a payload capacity of 1550kg, says Doyles, and average fuel consumption of 32.7mpg. The same body can be specified on the Vauxhall Movano and Renault Master.

Perhaps the most interesting exhibit on its stand, however, was a triaxle Ducato Maxi grossing at 5.0t and with a 30m3 aduro XL body.
It was equipped with an al-Ko chassis conversion. Top payload is 2220kg and average fuel consumption is 30mpg, said Doyles strategic project manager Joseph Fieldstaff-Hughes, and it
is being marketed as a cost-effective alternative to a 7.5-tonner.

“We’ve already supplied four to DX Freight,” he reported.


Sitting in the centre of bodybuilder Maxi-Low’s stand was a 20m3 Plas-Trail trailer rather than a van. It was built by Plas-Tech, a specialist producer of lightweight flooring, panels and linings.

Plas-Trails with 15m3 and 10m3 cargo areas are available too, with models grossing
at 3.5t capable of handling payloads of up to 2.7t.

“They can be used to, for example, transport classic
cars or can be converted into mobile decontamination units,” said Plas-Tech sales director Dawn Torr. The company plans to build 300–350 Plas-Trails annually
and is setting up a factory in Doncaster.


Strict health and safety at work legislation and the general duty of care employers have towards their employees means that more and more businesses are providing gangs that work outside in all weathers with welfare vans – vehicles equipped with washing and cooking facilities, a toilet, and a seating area and table so crews can sit down and eat a hot meal.

Bodybuilders that have developed welfare vans in response to the demand include O&H Vehicle Conversions of Goole, East Yorkshire.

Its diverse line-up includes a Fiat Ducato with seating for eight crew members plus hot and cold water on tap thanks to a 2.5-litre boiler, a wrist- to-elbow sink, a microwave, and hand-gel dispensers. The rear compartment can be jet- washed clean if necessary. Other features include a 15-litre compressor-driven Travelbox fridge and an environmentally friendly toilet that collects and disposes of all waste hygienically.

Rival Clarks Vehicle Conversions of Doncaster was offering to convert a van to welfare specifications for a smidgeon under £10,000 and to deliver it in under a week in most cases. For £9999 you get all the usual messing facilities plus a toilet and useful extras such as an eye wash station. Clarks also offers load area racking, and a Vauxhall Combo was on show equipped accordingly. Among the latest additions to the racking portfolio are plastic service cases for mobile engineers.

Cartwright Group was yet another exhibitor with a welfare van. Based on a Ford Transit but available on similar-sized light commercials, its offering boasts accommodation for either seven or eight people depending on the version selected.

Vehicles that contain a kitchen and a toilet in such close proximity to one another need to have work surfaces that can be kept hygienic. Speedliner was advocating the approach used by Lyndon Security Systems in its WellBus welfare vehicle, which used a Speedliner anti-microbial, anti- bacterial polymer coating.

Home delivery

Home delivery is booming with more and more consumers ordering their shopping online from the major supermarket chains.

Hull-based bodybuilder Paneltex’s portfolio includes a temperature-controlled dual- compartment Mercedes-Benz Sprinter medium-wheelbase 3.5-tonner designed for this market and fitted with an alex Original 3000 refrigeration system. an air-transfer fan pushes cold air from the frozen to the chilled area. The frozen front compartment holds 16 plastic crates while the chilled area holds 32. The vehicle is built to supermarket Iceland’s specifications an alternative approach is encapsulated in a medium- wheelbase high-roof refrigerated split-compartment Volkswagen Crafter converted by Paneltex’s Somers operation. also intended to transport frozen and chilled loads, and equipped with a GaH Super Rapier SR351Fi fridge unit, it has a front compartment capable of going down to -18oC. The rear one can operate at 3oC.

High-profile body and trailer builder Cartwright Group of altrincham, Cheshire, was displaying
an aerodynamically styled concept home delivery vehicle. It is constructed using body panels said to be no more than 10% of the thickness of normal panels, but with no compromises in performance.

Peterborough’s Lawrence David was displaying a Sprinter with a split rear compartment: one-third dedicated to chilled loads, two-thirds to ambient. Equipped with an air management kit including side skirts, it is fitted with a Carrier Neos 100 fridge unit.

The weight of the necessary insulation and refrigeration equipment can eat deep
into the payload capacity of a temperature-controlled 3.5-tonner. as a consequence, some businesses may feel they have no option but to move up the weight scale, despite the fact that venturing over that all-important 3.5t barrier will render them liable to hold a heavy truck O licence and obey the Drivers’ Hours rules.

With their needs in mind, exhibitor Solomon has produced among other things a dual-compartment Sprinter 5.0-tonner capable of carrying both chilled and frozen cargo. Once again, the styling emphasises aerodynamics, with the fridge unit recessed into the body thereby reducing the overall height.


Displayed on the VFS stand was a 4.5t Nissan NT400 Cabstar with a high-strength steel
floor and alloy sides, plus full European Community Whole Vehicle Type approval.

“We’ve already had an order for 10 from a local authority in Northern Ireland,” VFS sales and marketing manager, ashley Morris told What Van? Several of them are being equipped with DEL tail-lifts. Gross payload is 2.2– 2.3t depending on the exact specification of the product.

Based in Eastleigh, Hants, and an offshoot of Italian bodybuilding giant Scattolini, VFS is closely involved with Ford’s One Stop range of body conversions. “Our three-way tipper, for example, is a One Stop product,” said Morris.

“One of the big recent developments for us is the arrival of the utility cab version of the latest Transit double-cab chassis,” he continued. The rear part of the cab is used to create a reasonably secure area to store power tools and other items.

“The big advantage, of course, is that the doors are integrated with the vehicle’s central locking system,” said Morris. a utility cab Transit – the first in the UK–was on show on the stand.


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