40th anniversary of articulated haulers - News 2006 : Volvo Vostok
CompanyNews - Artic40

Volvo articulated haulers celebrate 40 years of success

The articulated hauler concept is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2006, marking four decades of transporting earth, gravel and a host of other materials over rough, muddy, slippery, steep or otherwise impassable terrain. And the company that commercially launched the concept in 1966 - Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) - is still the market leader. In 2006 Volvo CE sees the 50,000th unit roll off its (smooth and flat) production line. Painted not in the familiar yellow, to celebrate both events, the 50,000th unit is being painted in distinctive 'Volvo blue' livery and is being displayed at the Intermat exhibition in Paris in April.

1966 was the year that the soviet's Luna 9 made the first rocket assisted landing on the moon, The Cultural Revolution began in China, England won the World Cup and the Rolling Stones were banned from 14 New York hotels. With so much going on it was easy to overlook the launch of the DR631, the birth of the articulated hauler. Essentially a development of an agricultural tractor (which Volvo then made) and a trailer, they were permanently joined via an articulating hitch, and the front axle of the tractor removed. Nicknamed 'Gravel Charlie', it may have had only a meagre 10 ton payload, but it set the stage for greater things to come. Surprisingly though, its popularity grew only slowly to start with, sales in the early years being confined to its home Swedish market.

One of the main reasons for the ongoing popularity of Volvo's haulers has been its consistent development of the concept. Only one year after its launch, in 1967, the company introduced the DR860, the first articulated hauler with a bogie, meaning that the material in the load body remains level and stable (reducing spillage) while the wheels cope with very uneven road surfaces. The first hauler with a turbo-charged engine - the DR860T - arrived in 1970, and in 1979, things literally started to speed up, with the launch of the 5350. Capable of 50km/h, the 'Off-road Express' was able to maintain previously unheard of speeds thanks to a suspended front axle and an automatic transmission. Traction was further increased with the addition of a six wheel drive system.

The A20 was launched in 1986 with a 200 hp engine and a 20 ton payload. Things soon got a lot bigger in 1987 with the advent of the 35 ton abilities of the A35, which also featured a retarder built into the transmission to reduce wear on the service brakes.

The range was given a major overhaul in 1993 with the introduction of the C-Series, which featured a low emission engine, fully automatic transmission and 100% differential locks. The 40 ton class hauler was launched in the mid 1990s in the shape of the A40, pulled along by a mighty 400 hp engine and stopped by oil cooled wet disc brakes.

Bigger, stronger, tougher, more reliable, easier (and cheaper) to operate, safer for the environment and the operator - the new D-Class of articulated haulers from Volvo CE were introduced in 2000 and are still far and away the best selling hauler in the market. Covering payload ranges of 24 to 37 tons, all D-series Volvo articulated haulers - models A25D, A25D 4x4, A30D, A35D and A40D - can transport bigger loads in less time at a low cost per ton. With an award winning design - the Red Dot industrial design award - and a comfortable cabin, the operator has a low fatigue work environment, as do the service engineers, with no daily and minimal weekly greasing needed. Diagnostic electronics also alert both operator and technician of problems before they become failures; thus increasing uptime.

Developments such as Automatic Traction Control (ATC) - the latest option on the A25D and A30D - once again set Volvo CE apart in the hauler market. ATC relieves the operator from manually operating differential locks and drive configurations (6X4 or 6X6) as driving conditions change. Multiple sensors constantly check the speed differences within the driveline and select the best drive combination for the conditions. This also reduces tyre wear, driveline stress and fuel consumption.
The D-Series of articulated haulers from Volvo CE - life begins at 40.