Paul Stanley’s grounds maintenance team at Havant Borough Council traditionally used panel vans with 16-foot trailers to transport mowers to and from sites.
But come the end of the summer, these vehicles were not being used. "At the end of the season they were used to carry salt around for winter maintenance operations," he explained. "For the rest of the year, they were largely unutilised, which was a waste."
So Paul, Havant Council’s fleet and transport team leader, decided to look for a specialist vehicle solution that could be used effectively all year round and, more importantly, all-day round.
He approached Advanced KFS in Andover, explaining that he was looking for a truck which was purpose-built to transport plant and equipment, but which was equally versed to carry any other type of heavy goods.
Eliminates the need for a trailer
Saving plant transport costs
Paul required a good payload for this, but to get a 7.5 ton vehicle, this would need an Operator’s licence, which was too costly an option.
Havant Council’s ride-on mowers weigh as much as 700kg, while a push-along mower weighs approximately 280kg. During each drive to site, the panel vans used to transport at least one ride-on and two push-along mowers, with the added weight of a tool box and various equipment such as hedge cutting equipment, plus the combined weight of three crew members.
This meant that the total gross vehicle weight of the vehicle had to be under 3,500 kg with a payload of 1,320 kg, while offering enough space to carry all that without being overloaded.
Paul also required a drop-down full-width tailgate, wider track rear axle to fit large mowers between the wheel boxes, removable drop sides and a removable toolbox large enough to carry the various hand tools the crew required.
The Advanced KFS solution
Based on these requirements, Advanced KFS designed a vehicle with a lightweight aluminium body, and a beavertail fitted with a tailgate.
This removed the need for a trailer. The solution provided so much space, that the removable tool box used to store strimmers and blowers during the main part of the year, remained on board.
Simplifies the transportation of heavy plant to and from site
Advanced KFS Special Vehicles’ Plant and Go range eliminates the need for a trailer, and simplifies the transportation of heavy plant. It has a dedicated tool box installed at the back of the cab, which can be removed when required.
Havant Council acquired three Plant and Go vehicles, and moved two three panel vans into other services, while the trailers were auctioned.
Paul explained that he is now getting greater use out of the vehicles because they are used all the time, instead of 19 weeks of the year. The vehicles can be used for other tasks, such as transporting leaves, salt or topsoil.
Paul explained the vehicle has greatly improved working conditions for his team. He added: "We don’t have to manhandle equipment on and off trailers. This vehicle is purpose-built for grounds maintenance and parkland care, but it is also useful for other services where you have to shift a heavy load, or deliver goods somewhere."
"However, after we installed this box we found that with a little bit of rearranging we could keep it all year.
"Instead of fitting the ride-on mower to the back we fitted it on the front. We are now putting the machine safely on the front with two smaller machines behind, meaning that we have a better load distribution. Rather than putting all the load on the backend of the truck, and causing the components to stretch, we are extending the life of the vehicle by loading it correctly."
Safer loading and off-loading and easier storage
The vehicle is only 550mm high which offers the operator considerable health and safety benefits since there is much less risk of injuries.
KFS has also integrated a purpose-made extruded aluminium planking system with an integral ribbed finish to enable grip in any weather condition.
However, these were not the only benefits the new vehicles delivered. Havant’s grounds maintenance team operates from a small depot where parking is limited. Now, they have even more parking space.
"We have made an efficiency saving on our parking space as well, because rather than a van and a 16ft trailer we now have 48 feet of extra space available," added Paul.
"We kept two panel vans in service, and we managed to extend their life. Two are used for verge cutting operations to carry hedge cutters and strimmers on the back. So we now have five vehicles on the fleet. But next year we may even consider another Plant and Go truck."
See our Plant and Go 3.5t Transporter range for more information, or Contact Us to discuss how Advance KFS customised transporter options can solve your transportation problems.