New Schweppes low-loader fleet
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Afleet of low-loading six-wheelers for soft drinks delivery, now being produced for Schweppes, are the result of a work-study programme and show a marked change from existing types. '
Of the 36 vehicles in the first batch, now being completed, 35 are based on Bedford TK 5-ton KDLC1 chassis and one on a Ford D.500 chassis; all have third axles fitted by Reynolds Boughton.
The work-study suggested a change from the traditional platform lorry and the incorporation of efficient weather protection, allround access and a platform height low enough to enable the carman to reach the load from the road or pavement without having to climb on to the vehicle. The resulting design was evolved jointly by Schweppes' transport engineer, Mr. H. G. Dagg, Reynolds Boughton Ltd., Vauxhall Motors Ltd. and Ford Motor Co. Ltd.
To achieve a loading height of only 2 ft. 11 in., instead of the more usual 3 ft. 6 in., and retain a payload capacity of at least 6 tons, a combination of trailing third axle and 16 in. wheels was chosen. As can be seen from a photograph, the rear suspension is of familiar Reynolds Boughton layout, with only the front end of the semi-elliptic springs rigidly anchored at a pivot and the rear free to float on swinging shackles which are interlinked by rods and levers. In this application, the design gives a load proportioning ratio of 60:40 in favour of the driving axle.
Mr. Dagg told COMMERCIAL MOTOR that the vehicle had proved to be exceptionally stable, despite some forecasts to the contrary.
The 16 ft. 7 in.-long bodywork by Spurlings comprises a wooden-floored flat platform and an alloy front bulkhead with a cambered Zintec roof supported at the centre and at the rear corners by metal pillars. The centre pillars are detachable. At each side there are two striped roller blinds made by Deans of Putney from Plastolene 950, a triple-laminate vinyl sheeting of high strength and low weight, while at the rear a conventional roller shutter is fitted. The striped blinds are spring-loaded and are held closed by short ropes which can be looped over cleats under the body side rails.
To provide restraint for possible move meet of the load, the blinds have steel battens incorporated in them. The closed body is of particular value in protecting the cardboard cartons which are being increasingly used.
Both types of vehicle permit the low platfcirm height to be achieved without use of wheelboxes, and both are shod with Michell] "X" 7.50-16 tyres. The Bedford wheelbase as a 6 X 2, is 12 ft. 7 in., the Ford 11 ft. 3+ in With a gross vehicle weight of just over ii tons, they both have a payload of around I tons 5 cwt. The body weighs 1,456 lb.