Volvo Trucks Presenting New Features for Construction Trucks at bauma 2016

New features Volvo Trucks will introduce include Automatic Traction Control, and a Tandem Axle Lift for trucks transporting heavy loads in one direction and returning empty.

FH 460 with Tandem Axle Lift
FH 460 with Tandem Axle Lift
Volvo Iron Mark New Rgb

At bauma 2016, the largest trade exhibition for the construction industry, which takes place from April 11-17, Volvo Trucks will be showcasing its latest technological developments for construction trucks. A total of five trucks from the Volvo FH, Volvo FH16, Volvo FMX and Volvo FL ranges will be on display at the exhibition. 

New robust front for the Volvo FH and Volvo FH16

The new front-end of the Volvo FH is based on the same design concept as the front of the Volvo FMX, which has been developed for rough construction environments. The corners and the skid plate are made from 3-mm thick steel. A fixed foot-step above the underrun protection is an integral part of the design.

The raised position of the bumper contributes to the excellent approach angle, which is over 20 degrees on vehicles with the extra-high construction chassis that was also introduced on the Volvo FH in 2014. A fully certified towing eye, which is made from cast iron and designed to handle a massive 36 tonnes, is available as a factory-fitted option.

The bumper has been moved forwards by 132 mm to ensure that it is the first part of the truck to be hit in rough conditions and that it protects other essential components, such as the headlamps.

Automatic Traction Control

Volvo Trucks is the first truck manufacturer in the world to offer automatic all-wheel drive for construction trucks. The Automatic Traction Control function engages the driven front axle when the rear wheels lose traction on slippery or soft ground.

Volvo Automatic Traction Control, which now comes as standard in Volvo FMX trucks with driven front axles, is already used by Volvo Construction Equipment in its articulated haulers.

The solution consists of a software system connected to the wheel speed sensors which detect and control the wheel drive. When a rear wheel starts to slip, the driven front axle is automatically engaged without the truck losing power or speed. A dog clutch activates front-wheel drive in just half a second maximum. The clutch is lighter and has fewer moving parts than a conventional solution with permanent all-wheel drive. If the driver encounters particularly rough ground, the front and rear differentials can be locked manually.

The driven front axle prevents the truck from getting stuck in difficult conditions. However, the function is often only required for a very small part of the total distance covered by each truck. With Automatic Traction Control, the grip of the front tires is dedicated to steering right up to the moment when the driven front axle is engaged. This ensures that drivers have the best possible maneuverability and traction in every situation. 

It also avoids the additional fuel consumption and wear on the driveline and tires that normally accompanies permanent front-wheel drive. Automatic Traction Control ensures that the ideal drive combination is always selected. Automatic Traction Control comes as standard on the 4x4, 6x6 and 8x6 variants of the Volvo FMX and is available with the complete engine range for Euro standards 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Tandem Axle Lift

This new function is designed for operations where trucks transport heavy loads, such as timber, construction materials and bulk goods, in one direction and return empty in the other. When the tandem drive axle is lifted, fuel consumption can be reduced by as much as 4%. This also leads to less tire wear and makes the truck's turning circle smaller.

Replacing the differential in the first driven axle with a dog clutch allows the second driven axle to be disengaged and raised. This enables the driver to access the power and the positive features of two driven axles (6x4) and, at the same time, to benefit from the improved manoeuvrability of a single driven axle (4x2). In addition, driving with the second driven axle lifted reduces the size of the truck's turning circle and causes less wear on the tires and suspension systems.

Tandem Axle Lift is perfect for operations where ground conditions or gross vehicle weights require a tandem-axle truck, but where the vehicle returns empty or with only a light load. On slippery or soft surfaces, the driver can increase the pressure on the first axle by raising the second driven axle, which results in better grip and reduces the risk of the truck getting stuck. 

Tandem Axle Lift also makes life more comfortable for the driver when the truck is empty, which in many cases amounts to 50% of time that the truck is on the road. The noise level inside the cab is lower and the vibration of the steering wheel is reduced when the tires of only one driven axle are in contact with the road surface. Tandem Axle Lift is available for the Volvo FM, Volvo FMX, Volvo FH and Volvo FH16.

Volvo Dynamic Steering for dual front axles

Volvo Dynamic Steering is now also available on trucks with dual front axles, which is a common configuration in the construction industry. Because these trucks often carry particularly heavy loads or have very heavy bodies, the benefits for the driver are clearly noticeable. In addition to much lower steering resistance at low speeds, the steering wheel automatically returns to the straight-ahead position after reaching full lock. This makes maneuvering easier for the driver and saves time and effort. The system consists of an electric motor that compensates for vibration and the negative effects caused by the road surface while minimizing the amount of strength needed to steer the truck.

Increased front axle loads

The maximum technical axle load of heavy-duty Volvo trucks with dual front axles has been increased from 18-20 tonnes. This gives customers the benefits of improved productivity and greater flexibility. The additional axle load capacity also leads to increased profits, in particular for construction companies that are transporting heavy loads. Four-axle trucks with a gross weight of 32 tonnes also have a longer load bed. This allows for greater flexibility when positioning a load such as gravel on a tipper body. As a result, the maximum load is reached more quickly when loading and drivers can be certain that they have complied with weight restrictions. A larger load capacity on the front axles also makes it possible to install a wider range of cranes and allows for other applications that involve a heavy weight on the front axles.

Rear air suspension in combination with a driven front axle for the Volvo FMX

The new option of combining air suspension on the rear axle with a driven front axle allows for a high level of comfort even in trucks with all-wheel drive. While leaf springs are generally designed for the heaviest weights, air suspension has the flexibility to adjust to the actual weight of the load. This leads to improved handling, less effort for the driver and a reduction in the wear on the truck and the road surface. The lower vibration levels, in particular when the truck is empty, allow the driver to maintain a higher average speed on bumpy construction site roads and, therefore, to make a larger number of deliveries during each shift. In addition to the enhanced comfort, the Volvo Trucks air suspension system also gives ground clearance of at least 300 mm and provides effective protection for all vulnerable components.

Electronic Brake System (EBS) for drum brakes

Customers who prefer drum brakes for use in particularly dusty or wet conditions can now enjoy the advantages of Volvo's Electronic Brake System (EBS). The system's electronic components provide a range of intelligent functions, including Hill Start Aid for better control on steep gradients. Safety is also improved as a result of the integration of the engine brake and the retarder function, which is known as Brake Blending. In addition to improved brake function, EBS combined with drum brakes also enables Volvo Dynamic Steering to be used (not with a driven front axle) and allows for more efficient gear changes, because I-Shift obtains some of its information from the electronic braking system.

The trucks on display at Bauma 2016:

  • Volvo FH16, 750 HP, 6x4 Tractor, Sleeper Cab,  Sturdy Bumper, Tandem Axle Lift
  • Volvo FH16, 750 HP, 8x4 Tractor, Globetrotter XL Cab, Heavy Haulage, Volvo Dynamic Steering
  • Volvo FMX, 500 HP, 8x6 Tipper, Automatic Traction Control, Increased Front Axle Load, Air Suspension
  • Volvo FL, 280 HP, 4x4 Tipper Crane, Day Cab
  • Volvo FH, 460 HP, 8x4 Tipper, Sleeper Cab, Tandem Axle Lift: this truck is part of the Show at the outdoor area