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DAF LF55 Cleans up for Vacuum Truck Supplies

DAF Trucks package of proven reliability, exceptional economy and driver comfort combined with their unique body builder module is making them the preferred choice with specialised body builders like Victorian based, Vacuum Truck Supplies that specify DAF models for their turnkey products as Howard Shanks discovered.

Vacuum Truck Supplies (VTS) is located in Mansfield, Victoria, roughly a two-hour drive north of Melbourne. The area is also well known for its stunning scenery and is surrounded by lush grazing land and mountain forests.

VTS’ Managing Director, Rod Glue his right hand man Mike Fischer and Twin City Trucks’ (the local DAF dealer) Neville Farrugla were all on hand to demonstrate and answer any questions about their new Hydro-Excavation unit mounted on DAF LF55 chassis.

“Simple, firstly we have a great relationship with our local dealer Twin City Trucks,” Mike replied when asked about their decision to use DAF trucks for their turn-key stock vacuum trucks.

“Hydro excavation is a non-mechanical, non-destructive process that uses pressurized water and industrial strength vacuum to simultaneously excavate and evacuate soil,” Mike Fischer began. Because hydro excavation safely breaks up soil, the soil and water slurry is conveyed by vacuum to a debris tank. Unlike conventional manual or mechanical digging methods hydro excavation virtually eliminates any risk of underground utility damage and that’s vitally important with all the optic-cables now networked across the nation.”

“The hydro excavation process results in safe, fast, precise excavations that require less backfill, labor, restoration, and has less environmental impact than traditional excavation techniques,” Mike added.

“We are finding that more and more councils are not allowing traditional methods of digging, such as with an excavator or jack hammer in their city streets,” Mike informed. “It is for this urban city council work that we chose this nimble DAF LF55 chassis with the short wheelbase so it can maneuver in, out and around tight city spaces and still pick up a decent payload.”

“Our customers love the DAF LF55’s and tell us they’re agile in heavy traffic, easy to get in and out of,” Mike continued. “Furthermore, the modern design of the LF means they’re not an intrusive truck either their stylish looks reflect a very positive company image when the trucks are at work. These LF55’s are not only suited to inner city work and around town tasks, they are also well suited for longer runs if required.”

“We have fitted a 1200 CFM blower which delivers a huge air flow and is designed to pick up gravel, sludge, dry materials basically what ever you dig up can be sucked into the tank,” Mike explained. “The water system is run by a high pressure pump which is feed by two 1000 litre fresh water tanks that are fixed to either side of main external barrel. A self retracting hose reel attached to a high-pressure wand is used for digging.”

“The pressure in the wand can be reduced and it can be used for washing down the truck where required,” Mick added. “Most road authorities take a dim view of muddy tyres leaving a dirty trail on the bitumen leading away from job sites, so the ability to be able to clean itself is a great bonus.”

Emptying the debris from the truck is a very simple operation. The rear door with hydraulic locks, opens to 90 degrees and the barrel can be lifted the same as a conventional tipper. The wand with high-pressure can be used to totally flush out the barrel.

“We have found that DAF trucks national dealer network is one of the best around,” Mike explained. “Because we sell our vacuum trucks throughout Australia and New Zealand and we offer a comprehensive back up support package with all our products we need to be able to support our products quickly now matter where they are and through the DAF dealers we’re able to achieve this. Some of our trucks are operating in extremely remote areas from the huge iron ore mine sites in the Pilbara of Western Australia to the coalfields in Queensland’s Bowen Basin they are not all afforded the luxury local tasks like this LF55.”

“Right from the moment you open the driver’s door you immediately experience the quality of the LF interior,” Mike smiled. “Indeed, the styling and standard of finish more resemble that of a luxury passenger car. The colour schemes and materials used mean that the LF cab offers a practical, pleasant and comfortable working environment, which is easy to clean and maintain and that’s really important in this business.”

“Take the dashboard and modern instrument panel, the adjustable steering wheel with integrated controls and airbag, and the well positioned handles and switches, all demonstrate how the creation of an ergonomic working environment was a key target in the design process of the LF Series.”

“We also find that our customers comment on the wide, deep windscreen and narrow pillars provide excellent visibility, while green-tinted glass helps keep the cab cool. They also rave about the six-mirror layout that provides a larger field of vision when negotiating tight spaces for greater safety. The LF has four-point cab mountings to maximize comfort. Noise and vibration levels are even lower due to engine and cab mounts, resulting in more driving comfort, less driver fatigue and more safety.”

The DAF LF55 is powered by a 6.7-litre, six-cylinder Euro-5 PACCAR GR engine, that punches out 210 kW/285 HP and produces 11Nm of torque from 1200 – 1800 RPM. This engine is made for DAF by Cummins, which means engine parts are readily available from Cummins outlets as well. This is matched to a six-speed AS Tronic automated gearbox, with an 11.5 tonne single reduction drive axle completing the driveline.

“DAF’s ASTronic automated gear change system has matured well over the last few years and nowadays it’s just as capable as anything else on the market,” Mike explained. “While there’s no arguing that these automated change systems will never ‘see’ the road ahead like we do, after spending a bit of time with DAF’s ASTronic system around this hilly country we have here in Mansfield day you begin to wonder how on earth it can be improved.”

“Its easy to see why we’ve chosen DAF trucks as the basis of our turn-key vacuum truck models,” Mike concluded. “However we do fit up our systems to other brands which customers may have a preference for, but for people who want one of our machines that they can jump in turn the key and go to work it will be on a DAF chassis.”

August 13, 2017 | Posted in: Articles



Australian Trucking Quarterly