Payload is the key

Sep 28 | 2012

Truck payload has always been a problem for movers. They need the volume for large furniture but that makes it all so easy to overload lightweight vehicles when the boxes of books and china, or the occasional piano form part of the load. Here, Emma Trebble from Trucksmith explains what her company is doing to combat the problem.

Truck payload has always been a problem for movers.  They need the volume for large furniture but that makes it all so easy to overload lightweight vehicles when the boxes of books and china, or the occasional piano form part of the load.

Trucksmith, based in Devon, is a UK agent for Hino trucks and body building partner for Renault and Vauxhall vans.    The company started out 25 years ago supplying body building services and gaining experience on those that were good to work on and those that were not.  In time the company expanded to provide a range of whole vehicles including a range of highly competitive 35cwt LoLoader and KneeHi vehicles ideal for the moving industry.

The next natural move was to expand the range further into larger vehicles.  The company chose Hino trucks, the truck arm of Toyota, not well known in the UK but claimed to be the fastest growing medium-duty truck company in America. “We found that Hino could offer our customers either base vehicles or base vehicles coupled with our bodywork at reasonable prices with quite frankly, amazing payload capabilities.”

And it is the payload that is a feature of all Trucksmith vehicles.  The smaller range are based upon the Renault Master or Vauxhall Movano vans and are configured as either 3.5 tonne or 3.9 tonne GVW.  The manufacturing methods and the materials used create an astounding payload for this type of vehicle.  “We expect to get a payload of between 1.5 and 2 tonnes with this type of vehicle,” explained Emma, “with a fuel consumption of around 30mpg fully laden.”  Emma went on to explain that this type of vehicle is extremely popular with moving companies as, in the 3.5 tonne configuration, it is possible to use the vehicle without needing a tachograph and, therefore, without affecting a driver’s hours.

These vehicles are designed around a platform cab principle not a more traditional chassis cab.  In this design the body is wrapped around the base vehicle with each depending on the other to provide the vehicle’s structural integrity.  This, coupled with the Carbofont, plastic honeycomb material used for the body construction significantly reduces body weight and increases payload.

Trucksmith claims to be among the first body builders to use this technique.  Although it has proved itself to be strong and light, building in this way is not without its problems.  “It’s very difficult to build,” explained Emma.  “You have to put the right structural elements together.  If you get one element wrong it can have serious consequences. It took us a long time to develop.”  Trucksmith is now the official body builder for Renault and Vauxhall and does much of its work direct for the manufacturer. “This has the benefit that if one of our vehicles needs repairing it can be done by any Vauxhall or Renault workshop,” said Emma.

The larger trucks from Hino are available in 300 – 7.5-tonne, 500 – 18-tonne and 700 – 32-tonne options.  Again the construction method improves the payload and is very hard wearing.  The 7.5 tonne version, for example, one that is not always popular for movers because of the danger of overloading, provides a payload of around four tonnes, more than enough for most moving operations.

The Hino vehicles are sold by Trucksmith under the brand name of Ojai Commercials (pronounced Oh-Hi), started in 2009.  Emma explained that all the sales team at Ojai operate under a strict culture that has been adopted for many years with Trucksmith: there is no point is selling someone the wrong vehicle.  “Getting the money from the customer is not our goal,” she said.  “We have no interest in providing a truck that’s wrong for the customer.  The last thing we want is to have to spend time putting things right.”

Emma and the team can be contacted on 01884 839061 or at