Mixed Blessings

UD provides a new choice for customers in the highly specialised concrete agitator sector.

Since its introduction in Japan in 2017 the UD Quon has helped redefine the expectations of Japanese trucks.

Specifically engineered to suit the needs of operators in the agitator and waste sectors, this 8×4 configuration of the Quon has put UD firmly on track to capitalise on the opportunity to significantly expand its share of the Australian Heavy-Duty market.

Underpinned by its Volvo-based driveline and electronic architecture combined with Japanese production capabilities, the 8×4 version of the Quon actually had its genesis here in Australia.

Recently retired Vice President of Sales for UD in Australia, Mark Strambi and then local UD Product Manager Neil Carey set about the project in consultation with David Moore, UD Vice President – Technology Product Project, and Chief Project Manager for UD Trucks, Takayuki Tsuchiya, the latter two being based in Japan.

Weight factors, both tare and distribution across the axles when loaded, are critical to successful 8×4 applications and there was a significant level of dialogue and consultation with local engineers and operators as the project advanced.

A low centre of gravity is also a significant contributor to the stability and safety of agitator trucks. That has been taken into account as well. The 8×4 UD Quon CG30 360’s specifications have been optimised for the Australian and New Zealand markets including the use of high-tensile single skin steel in the chassis to achieve the required low tare weight.

The use of the single rails also reduces the possibility of corrosion which can be a common affliction on agitator trucks built with double skinned rails. Using single rails has also contributed to keeping the 8×4 Quon’s tare weight for the 4500mm wheelbase cab-chassis close to 8,000 kg.

The chassis rails have been engineered with angle brackets included to facilitate the installation of frameless agitator bowls which assist in lowering the centre of gravity and contributing to the lower tare weight of a ready to work truck.

The Quon 8×4 is also available in longer wheelbases of 5200mm and 5700mm making it suitable for other applications such as crane trucks, hook lifts, front bin lifts and tippers. The 4500mm wheelbase is the common industry standard for agitator applications in this country and at full steering lock the Quon exhibits a very tight turning radius of just 8.74m.

The longer wheelbase models have the option of the 8.0- and 11-litre engines while the shorter 4500mm version, mainly suited to agitator applications, is only available in the 8.0 litre variant.

However, on our test drive the 263kW engine (approximately 360hp at 2200rpm) proves to be more than capable by quickly accelerating to the speed limit and holding on well when going up hills despite being loaded to a gross of 27 tonnes.

The performance is enhanced by the Gen 5 double overdrive Allison 3200 Series full automatic transmission making the most from the engine’s 1,428Nm of torque which is at its peak at 1200rpm.

The engine has a rear access for a PTO with both DIN and SAE interfaces and the Allison has PTO access at the convenient ‘1.00 o’clock’ position.

This is the first installation globally of an Allison transmission behind the 8.0-litre UD engine in a Quon and in practice the combination of these two major components seems to be well matched with every change being smooth and predictable and there is no driveline vibration detectable.

The transmission is controlled by the familiar Allison touch pad mounted on the console in a convenient position for the driver.

The transmission is programmed to enable downshifting to maximise the effectiveness of the two-stage exhaust/engine brake by increasing exhaust pressure.

The diffs have cross locks which is essential for agitator work. The 8.0-litre engine meets the Japanese pPNLT emission standard which is the equivalent of Euro 6. The UD ESCOT-VI which is the UD version of the 12-speed Volvo I-Shift automated manual transmission is available as an option.

The installation of the AMT adds another 1,500kgs to the truck’s allowable GVM. The detailed planning of the Quon 8×4 extends to having factory pre-wiring for rotating beacon lights and automatically switching on the hazard lights when reverse gear is selected.

The test truck is fitted with a 7.6 cubic metre ATT Hydraulic Transit mixer and with water and fuel tanks, all full, comes across the scales with a tare weight of just 11,510 kg, which provides for sizable payloads due to the 28,500kg GVM. To enable legal and safe distribution of weight a load sharing suspension system for the steer axles is required.

In common with similar set-ups used in Volvo and Mack eight wheelers the Quon uses parabolic leaf springs at the front.

There is an existing twin-steer air suspension set up available for Quon in Japan but it only has a load capacity of ten tonnes due to its use of smaller axle spindles.

The Australian specification is for 13 tonnes so the local spec eight-wheel Volvo has provided much of the engineering hardware for the Quon. As part of the global Volvo Group, the UD engineers were able to access the CAST (Common Architecture and Technology) system for items such as battery boxes and the fuel and air tanks from other divisions of the group.

The location and fitment of these components have been specifically carried out to optimise agitator applications. The rear suspension now has the option of leaf springs although our test unit has the eight airbag arrangement which provides increased stability and an improved ride.

It is also fractionally lighter and has been engineered with large capacity airlines and valves on the suspension which provides more effective electronic stability control (ESC).

The Quon cab is spacious, comfortable and attractive with the mostly black surfaces complemented by silver highlights. The driver rides on an air-suspended seat which has adjustments for shock damping, seat back recline, height control, and lumbar support as well as an ajustable arm rest. Kerbside vision is enhanced with the use of the transom window located in the lower section of the passenger’s door, with the addition of rear facing cameras mounted on the mirrors on each side.

The standard safety package includes electronically controlled disc braking on all four wheels, Electronic Stability Control, Lane Departure Warning, Emergency Braking and Automatic Hill Start Assist (HSA).

The UD version of adaptive cruise control is called Traffic Eye and uses radar to detect the vehicle in front and maintain a fixed distance from it. The radar, in conjunction with the forward-facing camera, is also integral in the Quon’s Emergency Braking System which initially warns the driver of a potential collision with the vehicle in front. If the likelihood of an impact increases the brakes are automatically applied in order to avoid a collision or at least minimise damage if it proves totally unavoidable.

The cruise control functions are controlled by a switch panel located on the left side of the steering wheel. A similar control pad on the right side of the wheel controls the various displays available on the instrument panel’s 5-inch LCD information screen.

Daily checks are carried out without the need to lift the cab. Accessing the fluid levels are achieved by lifting the front panel. More comprehensive servicing and maintenance operations are assisted by the good access available to the engine area due to the cab tilting to 65 degrees.

Agitator trucks are typically used in metropolitan areas and usually return to their depots at the conclusion of each shift, so it was unnecessary to incorporate long range fuel tanks and the 190-litre alloy unit should prove more than adequate in an agitator application.

The longer wheelbase 8×4 models are fitted with 400-litre tanks. The best businesses pick their battles wisely. UD are definitely on a winner with this comprehensive package which will tick all of the required boxes for the booming concrete supply sector.

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