Taking the demountable route

Jun 14 | 2022

Long-term demountable body detester James De-Machen explains why he had a change of heart.

James De-MachenLondon-based James Removals has recently added two new vehicles to its 20-strong fleet, but this time they opted for something different. The Scania rigid and Volvo drawbar trucks were both designed to carry demountable bodies, something Managing Director James De Machen had always pledged to avoid.

James explained, “I’d always disliked demountables, partly because of their appearance, but mainly because their additional height makes them more difficult to load than conventional trucks and there’s more likelihood of porters being injured in a fall.”

With ever changing legislation and different power trains emerging, including electric, James decided the time was right to look at ways of making his fleet more adaptable to change and the prospect of using demountable bodies that could be used on different vehicles began to look more attractive.

The Volvo rigid and drawbar with demountable boxes 

“There are lots of benefits in using demountables in the moving business, for example, they can be loaded back at base while the truck is out on the road doing another job,” said James. “Or, if you turn up at an address and can’t get in, you can demount the box and return later rather than having the truck and crew just sitting there waiting. Looking to the future, we could use an electric truck to pick up a job in central London, for example, and transfer it to a diesel for the long-haul to the destination.”

However, the disadvantages of the extra height still bothered James, so a fix had to be found if the demountable route was to be taken.

“We spoke to our body builder UVB and arranged a meeting with chassis builder, Wheelbase Engineering Ltd to discuss ways of lowering the Scania rigid and the Volvo and drawbar trailer,” said James. “The team came up with a solution that resulted in the trucks being only 20mm higher than our conventional vehicles and the trailer, with its smaller wheels, was a full 250mm lower.”The Scania rigid with demountable box

The system uses airbags to lift the box clear of the chassis and allow the support legs to be deployed. Special high-lift bags are used on the trailer because of its lower ride height. In addition to the aerodynamic boxes manufactured by UVB, the trucks are also able to carry 20ft sea containers making them ideal for delivery and collection from the ports.

With so many advantages to using demountables in the moving industry, it is somewhat surprising more companies haven’t adopted them.  Perhaps now the problem of increased height appears to have been overcome, more movers will follow suit?

Photos (top to bottom):
James De-Machen.
The Volvo rigid and drawbar with demountable boxes.
The Scania rigid with demountable box.