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Taking the rough with the smooth

18th September 2007 Print
Taking the rough with the smooth Off the road vehicle operations are hard on equipment and any construction fleet manager, quarry manager of forestry contractor will confirm that soft, loose and uneven ground conditions and heavy loads put a real strain on the hardware their sectors use.

That usually means big, heavy and expensive equipment running ferry operations to roadside transhipment points where loads are switched to a conventional HGV. For larger organisations, that may well be the most economical approach. However, for the smaller user, perhaps faced with a shorter haul, this poses something of a problem. Run an on-highway truck off road, and you risk a dramatic rise in maintenance costs by using vehicles over terrain they were not designed for. Yet even if you can find specialist off-road plant that is road legal, chances are that this comes with its own set of downsides, including longer journey times, heavier fuel costs – and a heightened on-road footprint.

There is however one European supplier which has a goods vehicle with proven off the road potential. One designed to handle some of the roughest and toughest conditions a fleet owner can expect to operate in.

Only one company that has consistently provided support (and race vehicles) capable of withstanding the rigours of desert raids such as the Paris-Dakar. The same company which for decades provided Central and East European states with the means to transport anything from paper to munitions across unpaved roads from the Baltic to Siberia, The Caspian Sea to The Artic Circle – Tatra.

Now Tatra has appointed its first ever commercial vehicle distributorship in the UK. Tatra Trucks UK Ltd..

Tatra Trucks UK Ltd has been supplying spares and service to Tatra truck operators throughout Europe for the past few years and has delivered both new and used vehicles to the market upon demand. This latest move is a step up both for Tatra Trucks UK Ltd and Tatra a.s, in the Czech Republic. “Tatra has an excellent range of vehicles that are ideally suited to full off road, on/off road and full on road operations in any situation. We believe that there is a place in the market for a truck which by being more suited to the job than traditional compromises, makes a lower impact on the environment and on the operator’s budget.” says commercial director John Dunford.

The Pewesy, Wiltshire-based firm eventually intends to offer the full range of Czech-built Tatra trucks here in the UK, though is to launch with the Jamal model.

A member of the T-163 family, this is a bonneted 6 x 6 truck designed for use in off the road environments but with full on-road capabilities. Powered by a 12 litre, air cooled, turbocharged V8 Euro 4 440 bhp diesel engine the Jamal comes with a technically advanced transmission offering 14 gears: five coupled to a two-gear reduction box, and all with synchromesh, with the exception of reverse and ultra low speed gears. These drive independent air assisted leaf sprung swing axles with optional lockable axle or inter axle differentials, with a part time front axle drive facility.

Having the means to get the vehicle and its up to 25,000kg load moving it also needs to stop and the Tatra Jamal T 163 comes with automatic shoe adjustment and Wabco ABS anti-lock braking as standard..

The Jamal is designed to work in arduous conditions and benefits from Tatra's long tradition of engineering excellence and innovation. The company pioneered the development of independent swing axles and the rigid central backbone tube that enables special vehicles to be constructed without a traditional chassis frame. Deceptively simple, this construction has been proven since the 1920s on a series of successful high-mobility military transport vehicles and light armour, including the British Army's Pinzgauer and Tatra's own 8 x 8 Extreme C130 Hercules airportable military specification model.

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Taking the rough with the smooth Taking the rough with the smooth