Volvo Trucks

Global

Construction haulier EG Eriksson field tests the new Volvo FMX

| 7 min read | 7 min read
The new Volvo FMX has been specially designed to make the work of a construction driver easier, safer and more comfortable. Swedish construction haulier EG Eriksson puts it to the test.
For EG Eriksson, the new Volvo FMX is a welcome addition to the vehicle fleet.

There’s a flurry of activity at the concrete plant in Slind just outside Skellefteå, on Sweden’s north-east coast. Three trucks from EG Eriksson’s fleet are on site to load concrete for today’s deliveries. With their blue cabs, retro branding and red concrete mixers – the haulier’s trucks are easy to spot.

But one of the cabs stands out. Instead of the distinctive blue paint job with grey lettering, the cab is covered in black and white tape. Underneath it is a field-test truck – a brand new Volvo FMX.

The new Volvo FMX is a really long-awaited model that will make a big difference, not least when it comes to the drivers’ work environment.
Joakim Eriksson, owner Joakim Eriksson, owner

“When we were asked to become a field-test customer, it was natural for us to say ‘yes’. We like new technology and we’re usually the first to buy the new truck models here in Skellefteå. Volvo FMX is actually the truck that’s best suited for the type of assignments we have, but since only the old model has been available, we’ve chosen to buy Volvo FHs instead,” says Joakim Eriksson, one of the two co-owners at EG Eriksson.

The haulier specialises in transporting concrete and does work both for the construction and mining industries. As a field-test customer, it has now also been given an important role in testing and developing Volvo Trucks’ new products and services. Special equipment logs all the data from the truck, and every two months a visual inspection is carried out at the workshop. The driver has a frequent dialogue with the field test engineer to give feedback on the product and to get information about new features. This is all done to give Volvo Trucks’ product development team the chance to find and solve any possible faults that emerge as quickly as possible.

The new Volvo FMX equipped with a concrete mixer The new FMX driven by EG Eriksson is equipped with a concrete mixer that holds about eight cubic metres of concrete. In 15 minutes, the concrete mixer can be replaced with a loading platform for gravel, if necessary.

For EG Eriksson, the new Volvo FMX is a welcome addition to the vehicle fleet. In its hometown of Skellefteå – Sweden’s largest industrial project is currently underway – the building of Northvolt’s battery plant. In an area that is as large as 100 football pitches, almost 3,000 people will soon be producing lithium-ion batteries for the electric car industry.

For the community, the new plant not only means new job opportunities, but also demand for lots of new housing, schools and infrastructure: “They’re really building a lot here right now and it’s something we notice too. In winter we usually have fewer deliveries, but it doesn’t look like it this year,” says Joakim Eriksson.

While deliveries to construction sites can change from day to day, mine assignments are more predictable. Two of the haulage trucks drive in shifts – seven days a week, all year round – to the Renström’s mine, around 40 km northeast of Skellefteå. “We started transporting concrete to the mine in 2008. These deliveries are important because they provide continuous work for us. In the mine, you always need concrete whatever the weather. That’s not the case with other operations. If it starts pouring with rain, there’s a risk that there’ll be no deliveries to building sites that day,” says Joakim Eriksson.

The new Volvo FMX deliver concrete to the Renström mine near Skellefteå Every day, all year round, EG Eriksson delivers concrete to the Renström mine near Skellefteå. The concrete is used to strengthen the walls of the mine to prevent cracks.

Joakim Eriksson is the third generation of his family to work in the company started by his grandfather in 1953. Starting out as a one-man operation that hauled gravel and timber, the company has slowly expanded its business. Today, it has about 20 employees and 12 trucks, as well as a couple of trucks for other assignments. For Joakim Eriksson it’s always been a natural decision to join the family business.

Volvo Trucks dealer Eric Åström speaking to Joakim Eriksson Volvo Trucks dealer Eric Åström has worked with Joakim Eriksson’s company for almost 15 years.

“I started driving a truck here the day after I finished school. As the company has grown, there’s been a lot of other tasks to manage. So now I only haul goods when someone is sick or if we’re really busy. But I still think driving a truck is one of the most fun things you can do,” he says.

During the more than 65 years that EG Eriksson has existed, it has pretty much only had Volvo trucks in its fleet. The Volvo dealership is only a few hundred metres down the road and the doors to its workshop are almost always open. For someone delivering concrete, time margins are tight, so if there’s any problem, it’s important to get the truck out on the road quickly. “We collaborate well with the workshop and we always get help when we need it. They know that sometimes we’re really in a hurry,” says Joakim Eriksson.

Today the fleet consists of two Volvo FMXs and ten Volvo FHs. “The new Volvo FMX is a really long-awaited model that will make a big difference, not least when it comes to the drivers’ work environment. When you’re hauling concrete – you jump in and out of the truck 50 to 70 times during one shift. The FMX has a lower entry, and not having to take that extra step each time means much less wear and tear on the body,” says Joakim Eriksson.

Torbjörn Forsman driving the new Volvo FMX Torbjörn Forsman is the driver of the new Volvo FMX. “One of the most important improvements is visibility,” he says.

Most of the driving is done in city traffic, where good visibility is a decisive factor. In the new FMX, the windows are larger and the side mirrors are in a new position. “The visibility in the new truck is fantastic. You have good visibility both out front and to the side and there are no mirrors in the way,” says Joakim Eriksson.

Torbjörn Forsman is the driver who’s spent the most time behind the wheel of the new FMX. Every week he checks in with the field-testing department at Volvo Trucks to discuss how the truck and many of the new functions are working. He’s thinks it is a big upgrade to the truck he usually drives.

“As well as the better visibility, the new cab is more spacious – there’s more space both above and around the driver. It’s also important that the work isn’t too hard on the body, I really like my job and want to continue driving as long as possible. The fact that the Volvo FMX cab has a low entry makes a big difference. So does the fact that it’s equipped with Volvo Dynamic Steering (VDS), which makes the truck easier to steer, especially in tight spaces,” he says.

Torbjörn Forsman is a relatively new employee at EG Eriksson, but has worked in various roles with the family since the early 1980s. And he’s driven a concrete truck for about the same amount of time. As a driver, Torbjörn Forsman spends most of his shift in the truck. “The cab becomes like a colleague. So, it’s important that everything works just as it should, that there is plenty of space, good storage and up-to-date functions that make the job easier. The new FMX has all that,” he says.

The construction boom in Skellefteå will continue for the next few years. But what will happen afterwards nobody knows. For Joakim Eriksson, the big challenge is to try to stay one step ahead, both in the short and long term. “Right now, we’re so busy planning today’s deliveries, it’s difficult to find the time to think about what the future might look like, including how many trucks and how much staff we need. The concrete industry is pretty unpredictable, so sure, maybe it would be good to widen the business. I hope that the company will continue to grow and that my children will want to take over one day,” he says.

The Volvo FMX driving over a river on a bridge

The construction boom in Skellefteå will continue for the next few years. But what will happen afterwards nobody knows. For Joakim Eriksson, the big challenge is to try to stay one step ahead, both in the short and long term. “Right now, we’re so busy planning today’s deliveries, it’s difficult to find the time to think about what the future might look like, including how many trucks and how much staff we need. The concrete industry is pretty unpredictable, so sure, maybe it would be good to widen the business. I hope that the company will continue to grow and that my children will want to take over one day,” he says.

EG ERIKSSON HAULIERS
History: 
The family business was founded in 1953 by Erik Gustav Eriksson in Klutmark outside Skellefteå, in north-eastern Sweden. In the early years, the company only had one truck and hauled gravel and timber.
Operations: The company specialises in hauling concrete, mainly for the construction and mining industries, but it also transports gravel to concrete plants. It also has a couple of loaders for other assignments. 
Established: 1953.
Owners: Joakim Eriksson and Urban Eriksson.
Number of employees: 20.
Number of trucks: 10 Volvo FH and 2 Volvo FMX. Since March 2019, it has also been testing a new Volvo FMX.
Transport assignments: Concrete and gravel haulage.
Biggest customer: Byggbetong John Dahlgren.