Highland hauls for Hutchison Flour's new DAFs
It’s going to be a Highland life for a pair of DAF CF85 tractor units that have entered service with Scotland’s leading flour millers Hutchison’s Flour of Kirkcaldy, part of the Carrs Milling Group. The new trucks will spend their days entirely in Scotland and for much of the time in the Highlands.
They are DAF’s FTP mid-lift axle model which uses 17.5 inch wheels on the lift axle to reduce weight by around 450 kgs over a standard 44 tonne mid-lift axle tractor with 22.5 inch wheels. They’ll run with a variety of makes of bulk powder tanks delivering speciality flours to bakers and food manufacturers across Scotland and the lower weight of the tractors brings some added flexibility in their use.
Power is from the 12.9 litre DAF MX engine producing 460 bhp (340 kW) at 1900 rpm to give an ample 10.45 bhp/tonne of power to weight. Torque output is generous too with the engine delivering 2300 Nm of torque between 1000 and 1410 rpm at this power rating to make move-offs easier whatever the load or surface conditions.
The DAFs are expected to cover around 110,000 kilometres a year and although they’ll be amidst the grandeur of the Highland scenery, it’s a challenging environment for truck operation and one which requires frequent gear changing. To help ease the driver’s workload the company has specified the automated ZF As-tronic 12-speed gearbox.
“We’ve been using automatics for some time now,” says Alan McDonald, distribution manager for Hutchison’s Flour. “Constant gear changing because of the type of roads on which we run can be very fatiguing for our drivers and the use of an automatic transmission helps to reduce that. Not having to think about gear changing also means that they can stay completely focussed on the road and traffic and this must help to improve safety. We also find that we get a better and more consistent level of fuel return from our automatics.”
Runs to a famous shortbread producer on Speyside necessitate the occasional overnight stay and here the Space sleeper cab comes into its own. It offers a comfortable bed and a generous amount of storage for the driver’s personal gear and has an auxiliary cab heater as standard. Side collars help to improve the aerodynamics and a full width sun visor adds to the smart appearance of the trucks.
The vehicles were supplied through Lothian DAF on a five-year contract hire deal. Six weekly safety checks and routine servicing will be undertaken by us at Drummond Motor Company.