Signalling a fundamental shift in operations, commercial fuel delivery specialist, mini-TANKERS, has taken delivery of a new DAF CF draw-bar configuration to provide greater operational flexibility. Supplied by Evans Halshaw DAF in Stockton, the new maximum-weight rig is the first of its kind in a previously rigid-only fleet.
The new DAF CF 440 FAN chassis is a 6x2 rigid chassis with a lifting and steering second axle. Coupled with a 16,000-litre capacity tri-axle trailer with lifting first axle from TASCA Tankers, the result is a 44-tonne drawbar combination with highly manoeuvrable handling characteristics ideal for maximum weight Haz. Chem. deliveries to smaller locations.
A division of Wilton Transport, mini-TANKERS says the new DAF drawbar is a new move for the company, in that it provides support for the smaller rigid vehicles. The tanker-trailer can be left on location to allow the rigid fleet to draw fuel from it, acting as what mini-TANKERS describes as a ‘fuel pod’. This method of refuelling reduces empty running for mini-TANKERS and brings cost benefits for customers.
The new drawbar enters the mini-TANKERS fleet alongside two ’17-plate DAF LF 12-tonners, two of four Euro-6 LF rigids which the company acquired outright and which are also accompanied by two further 18-tonne DAF LFs.
General Manager at mini-TANKERS, Gary Branch, explains why the company has stuck with the DAF brand in recent years. “We have an ‘N’-reg DAF 7.5-tonner which we acquired when we bought the company over 10 years ago,” he says, “and we couldn’t have hand-built the specification to be more suitable. We wanted to future proof the specification, and DAF has provided us with successive models ever since, albeit higher up the weight range to suit our requirements. Today’s DAF light and middleweight rigid range is a solid, reliable workhorse, and,” says Gary, “support from DAF in Stockton has been first rate.”
“The new DAF drawbar was the first of its kind on the fleet,” he adds, “and the drivers were uneasy with its size at first. But, aside from the articulation, it’s a compact little machine and the drivers are all very comfortable with it now. It certainly looks fantastic,” he says, “and, quite unintentionally, it’s become the flagship of the fleet. Winning 2016 Tanker of the year title was certainly a highlight we didn’t expect either,” he added.
“The drivers really like the three-over-three gearbox and, of course, for a drawbar on six axles, it’s highly manoeuvrable. A lifting / steering axle on the prime-mover and another lifter on the trailer allows us to get pretty much anywhere,” says Gary.