Tractor, rigid, tanker, trailer, fire-engine, crane – or the ultimate car transporter for taking SUVs on the top deck. The new Volvo FM is designed, built and prepared for special applications. More than its predecessor, the new Volvo FM is specified and adapted to simplify custom solutions and the bodybuilding process. This saves the customer unnecessary expense and speeds up final delivery, so it can start making money sooner.
“There’s no such thing as a typical Volvo FM,” exclaims product planner, Johan Eknander. “And that’s one of our strengths – we are able to produce such a wide range and take care of so many specialised needs from the factory. If you imagine all the different axle variants, the different chassis heights, suspension heights, cab sizes and so on – you wind up with a multitude of configuration possibilities. And with the new Volvo FM we can deliver most of them.”
Factory means warranty
From the moment a truck is ordered it becomes unique. This enables the factory to optimise the vehicle for its specifications from the beginning. For extreme applications the chassis can be tailor-made in the factory. Johan Eknander points out that this is unique for Volvo. “Apart from in-creasing quality and reducing lead time, this flexibility means the customer gets the full warranty scope – the full Volvo package. Nobody else can offer that.”
A multitude of configuration possibilities
Popular among bodybuilders
“One of the things bodybuilders appreciate a Volvo for is that it has straight frame rails starting directly behind the cab – building on curve shaped rails can be a nightmare,” says Johan Eknander.
Some things are just common sense, yet not common in the industry: “We try to keep our parts away from the area bodybuilders need to work in. And we provide proper attachment points throughout the chassis with the necessary space to use them.” He continues, “We can also shorten the lead time by providing exact drawings of the unique truck at an early stage. This allows the bodybuilder to start building the superstructure before they have even seen the truck.”
Exactly how flexible? “We can put the fuel tanks on either side, change the position of toolboxes, fuel tanks, and Ad Blue tanks. The length of the rear frame can be adjusted in increments of 50 millimetres and we have a much wider range of wheel bases. All this can be tailored from the factory to a far greater extent,” replies Johan Eknander.
For crane trucks, space is often needed directly behind the cab. With this in mind, preparations have been made so that heavier components that would normally be placed here can go further back. “This would otherwise take days of work for the bodybuilder to rebuild – apart from the expense of this, the customer’s warranty and legal compliance would be jeopardised,” adds Johan Eknander.
Wired for control
An important part of integrating the superstructure includes its electronic equipment. For this the new Volvo FM has an interface specifically for the bodybuilder. As well as providing power to the auxiliary equipment, the interface allows the driver to control auxiliary equipment from the dash, the remote control – or both.
“Let’s say you have a cooler and the temperature gets too high. This could set off a warning for the driver on the dash and offer a control to turn it down.” The remote control has up to five input channels for different functions and readings. “If you have a crane you might be able to see its exact height on the display while you are lifting,” explains Johan Eknander.
According to Johan Eknander, flexibility is all about mindset – it’s an approach to solving problems. “Take the clearance behind the rear wheels that lets you reverse closer to docks and equipment: That was made possible when somebody here thought of reverse mounting the antiroll bar. Or the suspension that’s been optimised to quickly load and unload even the lowest swap bodies.”
Perhaps he would say there’s no such thing as typical Swede either. But if there is, it might be the softly spoken yet sharp witted Johan Eknander.
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