BUILD A BODY ON YOUR LAP
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Volvo, like every other truck manufacturer, wants bodybuilders to specify its chassis. But rather than sitting back and waiting for orders, it has been on the road demonstrating the capabilities of its new portable computer-aided design system.
• Last month, Volvo Trucks GB took a computerised roadshow around Britain's bodybuilders to ask them: -Can the new 16.5m legislation benefit your transport operation?"
The company visited 22 sites around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland telling bodybuilders how to get the most out of the longer truck lengths and showing off its VCSS (Volvo Customised Superstructure System) computer program.
This computer-aided design program, which runs off a Toshiba T3100 lap-top computer, was used at the presentations to tell bodybuilders what kind of bodywork to fit, what its dimensions should be and where and how it should be fitted to the chassis.
Bodybuilders simply feed a short series of pieces of information into the software and within five minutes the program will design the optimum body for the job, having worked out maximum and
Left: Volvo applications engineer Mark Robinson (right) and sales engineering manager Ray Cattley have used VCSS in a series of major vehicle design projects for private-sector municipal contractors bidding for business.
Right: This bodywork calculation and drawing was produced in minutes.
minimum dimensions; calculated where and how the bodywork should be fitted to the chassis, and plotted the vehicle's centre of gravity. A colour print-out is produced for the bodybuilder to take away with him.
Volvo applications engineer Mark Robinson explains the benefits of this high-speed, high-tech bodywork design: "The system offers bodybuilders more information on different body mounts, and allows them to move body-mounts around on-screen without the need for redrawing by hand."
Volvo is keen to develop a "business partnership" with the UK bodybuilding industry. The company wants to encourage bodybuilders to use the VCSS program as a fast, accurate, reliable and flexible means of designing bodywork options for Volvo chassis.
Bodybuilders who use VCSS will effectively be acting as arm's-length freelance salesmen for the company's chassis, and the Swedish truck-builder is determined to ensure that it offers the sort of service bodybuilders require. If your local Volvo dealer does not have a VCSS lap-top system on his premises, call direct to the Volvo headquarters at Warwick, where the VCSS program was written to conform with the latest Construction and Use Regulations.
The computer print-out and bodywork drawings include the following information: A side view of the completed truck showing the position of the body and mounting brackets. Also shown are the tyre sizes and other additional equipment such as tail-lifts or cranes.
0 Below the truck is a diminishing-load graph, drawn to scale with the body, showing any problems that could be experienced during progressive loading or unloading.
Chassis-height information is given in graphical and tabulated forms including laden and unladen chassis heights and bump and roll clearances. Account is taken of the tyre size fitted and the conditions under which the truck will operate.
Unladen weight does not include the body weight.
0 Axle loadings are given in tabular form, with UK legal weights, kerb weights, payload weights and weights of any equipment, When considering the specification and mounting of cranes and tail-lifts, the VCSS program will also consider: • Recommended mounting positions on the chassis;
0 Maximum recommended weights and capacities of cranes and tail-lifts;
O Correct helper/subframe specifications such as material quality, section and length;
0 Quantity, position and pitch of stabilising legs;
O Bolting recommendations (numbers of bolts and hole diameters); O Special applications such as very large capacity cranes.
With the ever-growing importance of product liability, Volvo regularly reminds bodybuilders that it is now essential to get it right first time, especially if any special bodywork alters the manufacturer's original chassis or equipment.
Wheelbase alterations, for instance, can leave the bodybuilder liable on many fronts.
The VCSS design program will help bodybuilders double check that they are not overstressing the chassis or dangerously/illegally corrupting the original chassis specification and performance standards.
The sort of questions that VCSS can answer instantly include:
0 What is the maximum recommended tipper overhang?
0 Does the rear overhang need to be shortened to clear the body when tipping?
0 Do crossmembers need to be replaced or moved to suit the new chassis length and tipper hinge position? A cruciform requires fitment (as superstructure instructions) at the rear of the chassis to increase rigidity when tipping.
1.7_ Do the rear-axle ratio or gearbox need to be changed to suit the vehicle's new application?
O Is more ground clearance required for fuel/air tanks?
0 by Geoff Hadwick