Volvo X-ceptional duty

The new FMX is a truck purpose-built for quarry tipper work, mining and agriculture, expanding applications to include rugged duties. Considering the boom in mining, the introduction of the FMX is more than timely and continues the constant upgrade of the model range.

When Volvo introduced the FM line-up in 1998 it rapidly became the 'small big truck' for Australian operations. The FM replaced the FL Series and suddenly the new trucks found a home in a broader variety of applications, notably in longer distance haulage where they were accepted by operators as a viable player in that market segment – a role that probably surprised Volvo and its engineers.

Volvo continued to re-engineer the  range to suit customer requirements, and here in Australia the FM was tweaked to handle some pretty tough haulage roles.

One of those has been operations in New Guinea, particularly that of New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL) in West New Britain where the FM has been used in transportation from plantations to processing plants over some of the most difficult conditions imaginable.

Australian input to the trucks, supplied to Papua New Guinea, has been huge with local engineer Bev Gray-Moffatt a familiar face both over and under vehicles supplied to service NBPOL's demanding roles.

The FMX is easy to distinguish from the FM due to a more rugged appearance, with a new upper grille plus the addition of hardware to the exterior such as a hand rail and ladder at the rear of the cab, rugged three piece bumper with an integrated towing beam, skid plate and footstep to make cleaning the windscreen safer and simpler in muddy conditions. There are new rear vision mirrors with sturdier mountings and lights are easy to service with separate lenses for high and low beam, parking lamps and turn indicators. Built for the rough, the lighting was developed and is borrowed from Volvo Construction Equipment and can be fitted with protective mesh.

An optional low entry third step is on a flexible mounting to spring out of the way if striking an object in poor clearance areas and the air intake is mounted high on the vehicle for improved rear visibility and reduced dust penetration to the air cleaner.
Power comes from either the Volvo 11 or 13 litre in-line six cylinder engines with outputs of 410 or 450hp from the 11 litre and 460 or 500hp from the 13 litre, so there is no shortage of grunt driving through the Volvo I-Shift automated transmission that has been widely accepted in Australia and now makes up almost all of the Volvo build across the Volvo heavy model ranges. The transmission in the FMX features update software for on/off road operation to deliver optimised gear shifting to match operating conditions.

There are 6×4, 8×4 and 6×6 configurations available in the FMX. The range, including the all-wheel-drive version, was put through its paces over a demanding course at Werribee in Victoria, with both dealers and customers able to judge its performance.

The Volvo FAA11 hub reduction front axle offers high ground clearance along with a steering axle delivering a high degree of manoeuvrability in the tightest of situations. A wide variety of rear axle ratios are available to suit individual applications for sure footedness and excellent gradeability, plus match the engine economy rpm range at cruising speed. A differential lock is fitted as standard and on bogie drives an interaxle lock is fitted.

PTOs, both engine and transmission, driven at high or low engine speed and with connecting flange and with propshaft drive can be specified. The engine driven power take-off can handle outputs of up to 1000Nm.

“We are extremely proud of this truck and can hardly wait to see it at work for our customers throughout Australia,” says Gary Bone, General Manager Volvo Trucks. “With the new Volvo FMX, we are breaking new ground for ourselves and for our customers' operations.

“Our customers in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia have played a big role in the local engineering and specifications of the FMX. With all the improvements in the Volvo FMX, a full range of chassis configurations to choose from, and our strong service support package, we are convinced our existing customers will become even more satisfied.”

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