Traffic management vehicle specialist Acklea is increasing production of its plastic-bodied 7.2t commercial vehicles as demand for more lightweight, fuel-efficient and lower-emission vehicles increases among highways and infrastructure providers.
The significantly reduced weight and recyclable body means these trucks use less diesel and are more environmentally-friendly. They are also able to carry more cones, equipment and signage than heavier traditional 7.5t metal-bodied traffic management vehicles.
The trucks are based on the Iveco Daily 7t chassis, with simple, van-like driving controls and a Hi-Matic transmission. The light and fully-recyclable co-polymer plastic body is a bespoke design, which is exclusive to Acklea.
The design has been continually refined in recent years based on customer feedback from its use in operations and to take advantage of new ideas and innovations, especially around safety and efficiency. More than 100 of these vehicles have already been built and delivered to customers.
Acklea has reviewed its build process and supply chain to increase production, enabling it to meet growing customer demand for vehicles with lower fuel consumption and reduced CO2 and NOx emissions.
The modular design and use of durable, recyclable copolymer plastic, created by Strongs Plastic Products Ltd, enable the bodies to be reused with a new chassis and cab. This increases the vehicle lifespan by giving the reusable parts a second or even potentially third life and also enables the vehicles to take advantage of new chassis technology. This modular design can reduce whole life costs by up to 30%.
The material is lightweight, low maintenance, zero corrosion, heat- and chemical-resistant and also impact-resistant.
Clive Brocklehurst, product manager at Acklea, comments: “These trucks are like nothing else available today in the traffic management world. We originally designed them for one customer, but the design and concept has stood the test of time and demand among other customers continues to grow.
“We further reviewed our build process and design during the 2020 lockdowns, not only to improve the already high build quality of these vehicles but to create a more modular design.
“Utilising CAD and CNC machines as well as the latest laser-cutting technology has seen a consistent approach to the manufacturing and build quality. All of the plastic components are built and painted off the chassis. In addition, we fit as standard our own independent CANBUS electrical system and LED lighting to ensure reliability.”
He adds: “We’re ramping up production because traffic management and infrastructure providers can easily see the benefits of lightweight, recyclable and incredibly tough copolymer plastic over traditional materials.
“Fuel efficiency, emissions and sustainability are key concerns for these vehicles. Standard aluminium and glass-reinforced plastic are also very easily damaged, while steel is heavy and prone to rusting. These factors can lead to increasing downtime and additional repair costs.”
The copolymer traffic management body comes with a non-slip coated floor, galvanised fall protection rails and powder-coated drop sides. It is now available with a range of options that can be tailored to suit a customer’s individual requirements, making them more affordable:
- Full height tool pod
- PPE storage with heater (for drying the PPE)
- Tilting sand bag lockers
- 500kg tail lift
- LP13 light arrow
- Fold-down step entry to cone well
- Stairwell access
- Front or rear sign rack
- FORS Silver and Gold camera systems
- Onboard weighing.