In ‘Volvo Trucks vs 750 Tonnes’, a Volvo FH16 featuring I-Shift transmission with crawler gears faces an extreme heavy haulage challenge: with the world’s strongest man, Magnus Samuelsson, and trucking journalist Brian Weatherley in the driver’s cab, a Volvo FH16 pulls 750 tonnes.
In the Port of Gothenburg, Sweden, 40 containers filled with Volvo spare parts sit on 20 trailers and form a 300-metre long road train. Together with the truck, the weight is 750 tonnes. The mission: to drive a Volvo FH16 from standstill while hauling 750 tonnes and cover a distance of 100 metres.
Peter Hardin, FM and FMX product manager at Volvo Trucks, says, “I-Shift with crawler gears offers starting traction that is unlike anything else on the market for series-produced trucks. The new crawler ratios make it possible to haul really heavy loads, start off in difficult terrain, and drive at speeds as low as 0,5 km/h. Specially built trucks are normally used for exceptionally heavy loads, but here we’re using a Volvo FH16 with a driveline that has come straight from the factory.”
The Volvo FH16 used in the test features I-Shift with crawler gears and the strongest axles from Volvo’s regular product range. To handle the pressure on the drive axle, the plate under the fifth wheel was reinforced.
The truck was driven by Magnus Samuelsson, former holder of the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ title, who says, “Few things can match the sense of challenging and winning over one’s physical limitations. I’ve faced many tough challenges over the years, but this pull is my heaviest ever.”
At his side was trucking journalist Brian Weatherley, who says: “That Volvo Trucks has developed an automatic transmission that can haul 325 tonnes gross combination weight is impressive. But tackling more than 700 tonnes gross combination weight with a single regular production truck is really quite amazing. In my 30 years as a trucking journalist I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The 750 tonnes could also have been made up of: 57 Volvo FH16 trucks; 350 Volvo XC90 cars; 150 fully grown adult elephants; four Boeing 747 jumbo jets; or just over 4,5 wind turbines
How the challenge was tackled
- Before the trial was carried out, several safety measures had to be adopted. For instance, the couplings between the 20 trailers were checked thoroughly and the air pressure in all 204 tyres was finely adjusted.
- 40 containers were loaded onto the trailers. The containers were loaded in pairs, one on top of the other.
- All told, the truck, trailers and containers had a total weight exceeding 750 tonnes.
- In order to obtain sufficient friction between tyres and road surface, a load of 40 tonnes was placed above the drive axles. The truck hauled the rig 100 metres.I-Shift with crawler gears
- I-Shift with crawler gears is a further development of Volvo Trucks’ I-Shift automatic transmission.
- The new version of I-Shift has been specially developed for excellent starting traction and to handle driving at ultra-low speeds.
- I-Shift with crawler gears can drive as slowly as 0,5 to 2 km/h and can start off from standstill while hauling 325 tonnes, a unique achievement for series-produced trucks with automatic transmission.
- The transmission is available in a choice of direct drive and overdrive, with one or two crawler ratios. It is also possible to specify two extra reverse crawler gears.
- The crawler gears are added to a regular I-Shift gearbox. In order to handle the high loads involved, several components are made from high-strength materials. The gearbox is 12 cm longer than a regular I-Shift unit.
- I-Shift with crawler gears is available with Volvo Trucks’ 13- and 16-litre engines on the Volvo FM, Volvo FMX, Volvo FH and Volvo FH16.
See the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UUz1zTZFfU
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