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Delivery Vehicles Set New Safety Standards

17 February 2012
Nixon Hire has recently invested over £1.5 Million in a new fleet of delivery vehicles to service the requirements of an ever expanding hire fleet and depot network. The fleet replacement programme is a continuous process keeping Nixon Hire up-to-date with industry developments and maintains a relatively low average vehicle fleet age. Correct fleet selection and geographical configuration achieves maximum productivity and utilisation consequently minimising waste and carbon emissions.
 
Due to the nature of our business, access to customer sites can be restricted which does not permit the use of longer wheelbase vehicles. Historically we have despatched multiple vehicles to meet the customer needs. In order to combat this we have increased the drawbar fleet, where a smaller rigid vehicle tows a trailer allowing increased delivery capacity.
 
Our 150 plus strong transport fleet includes market leading multipurpose vehicles fitted with cranes and loading ramps so they have the ability to carry both heavy plant and accommodation modules. These distinctive vehicle specifications benefit productivity and reduce empty journeys.
 
The latter part of 2011 saw significant investment in the Nixon Hire transport fleet replacement programme. This has increased the number of Euro 5 standard engines with either EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) or SCR (selective catalytic reduction) systems which reduce emissions for nitrogen oxides.
 
12 of the more recent additions to the Nixon Hire fleet include 4 x 32T Multi-Accommodation Vehicles and 8 x 26T Beavertail Plant Vehicles.
 
Multi-Accommodation Vehicles: 32T Scania chassis are fitted with Fassi cranes and Sterling Coachworks bodies. An outstanding feature of the Fassi crane is the newly developed stability control system which continuously monitors and ensures ideal crane working conditions versus the vehicle/crane stability based on the position of the outriggers being maintained.
 
Following extensive trials by Nixon Hire and Sterling Coachworks this vehicle is fitted with a unique portable Fall Safe System, easily stowed for transporting it can be fixed to any position along the side of the body to become an integral part of the vehicle. This system provides fall protection for drivers to access and egress the body to carry out load security duties and eliminates the temptation to take short cuts like jumping off the body.

The development of this vehicle also enabled us to design it with payload and load volume in mind allowing us to increase payload, significantly reducing journeys and minimising carbon footprint. The Cheesewedge style ramps we introduced have reduced drag and have visibly improved fuel economy versus existing fleet. 

Beavertail Plant Vehicles: 26T Scania chassis with a King Body which has an innovative Fall Safe System. This manual system can be deployed by hand in under a minute and removes any weight and maintenance issues that hydraulic or mechanical alternatives have. When in operation the Fall Safe System creates a 350mm walkway that extends down the length of the vehicle on both sides. This ensures drivers are able work safely on the body of the vehicle with no risk from falling from height. Upright stantions at the front and rear are removable to allow access to load ancillary equipment such as buckets etc. The increase in payload allows us to safely load some of our largest kit for example a 10T dumper and 9T excavator on one vehicle, which in turn reduces the number of loads required to service customers. Innovative mantis ramps reduce height and drag improving fuel efficiency through better aerodynamics. The ramps also have the ability to power in and out which makes the loading of towing and small plant items much easier and safer. When deployed the ramps boast a reduced gradient of approx 9 degrees. This enables the drivers to load vehicles at a lower working height and under safer conditions. Just below the headboard we have sunken storage bays for chains and straps to remove slips trips and falls, these are also covered with a slip resistant lid. Finally the drivers are praising the vehicles clutch saving device. This prevents over revving when clutch pedal is engaged reducing the amount of wear and tear on the clutch. We will see long term benefits of this system in our maintenance costs.

Gordon Hamilton, dedicated Practical Trainer at Nixon Hire coordinates the driver induction programme. A full weeks training provides guidelines to drive safely as well as basic equipment training. The development of a continuous driver assessment plan includes fuel efficient driving. Gordon says; “Having worked for the company for 22 years, the loading ramps are the most advanced to date and almost negate the need for use a winch in normal situations”.
 
The new Scania vehicles have an onboard system that highlights, as a percentage to the drivers, how efficiently they are driving. This is based on analysis of driver behaviour with respect to acceleration, braking, gear change and selection, idle time and speed.
 
Nixon Hire’s transport fleet is subject to a thorough maintenance programme, ensuring that vehicles are expertly maintained. Operating in this way maintains efficiency, productivity and helps to reduce damage on the highway.
 
Vehicles are fitted with spill kits to minimise environmental impact including absorbent materials, gloves and a bund to prevent hydraulic spills for example entering drainage systems.
 
Routing and scheduling software is proven to help reduce unnecessary journeys. This, in conjunction with increased payload has notably improved efficiency and will lower our carbon footprint substantially. This system is linked to handheld PDA’s transferring route information to drivers digitally without the need for paperwork.