Feature: Extra long timber haulage rig tested successfully

The One More Pile project has been in progress in northern Sweden for two years now. The project’s aim is to find ways to rationalise timber haulage. A 30 metre long Volvo rig with a payload of 66 tonnes plays a central role in the project. If this type of rig were to become standard, fuel consumption from timber haulage would be reduced by an impressive 20 percent, according to a fresh report.

Överkalix in northern Sweden is covered with thick snow. The cold is biting. Sanna Brännholm looks on as the cargo is loaded onto Europe's longest truck rig used for scheduled runs. She gazes up at the enormous piles of timber.

“I was a bit nervous before driving the rig for the first time. But this will be my twentieth run, and it’s second nature now,” she says before climbing into the Globetrotter cab and starting the 90 tonne truck.

The truck is being used in One More Pile, a project aimed at finding ways of rationalising timber haulage. It is a collaboration between various players with interests in the Swedish timber industry. Volvo Trucks is coordinating the project.

“But above all, we’ve provided all the technology and developed the whole vehicle concept. The trailer consists of a modular system encompassing a dolly, a link and a semitrailer, and offers many combination options," explains Lena Larsson, project manager at Volvo Trucks.

Out on the road, Brännholm waves at an oncoming timber truck. Her odometer shows 544,286 km. The truck, a Volvo FH16 with a 660 hp engine, has really been worked hard. On 1 January 2011, it had been in operation for exactly two years. During that time, the truck has hauled over 100,000 tonnes of timber between Överkalix and Munksund. A total of eight drivers have driven the vehicle. All are satisfied with its driving properties.

“It’s very comfortable inside and behaves just like any other truck," says Sanna Brännström as she prepares for an uphill gradient ahead. “It’s important to plan carefully while driving and speed up a bit extra ahead of uphill stretches.”

The project’s progress is being monitored closely in countries such as Finland, Australia, Canada, the USA and Russia, where the timber industry plays a key role.

One of the project partners is Skogforsk (the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden). On 13 January, the Institute issued a report based on data from the half-time test report. It shows that the test rig has a 50 percent higher payload and consumes 20 percent less fuel per tonne transported than a traditional Swedish 24 metre long timber haulage rig. Besides resulting in cheaper transportation, it cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent per tonne of transported timber.

“This corresponds closely to the calculations we made before the project started, which shows that our tools really work. This solution improves the environment and benefits both the forestry industry and the general public,” says Larsson.

She relates that Volvo Trucks will continue developing this approach, working with other similar projects.

“If our preliminary calculations continue to bear out and the 30 metre rig becomes standard, the number of timber trucks on the roads could be reduced by roughly a third. Fewer vehicles on the road would, in turn, lead to fewer accidents,” she explains.

When the One More Pile project was initiated, concerns were raised that the 30 metre long rig could pose a road safety hazard, for example during overtaking.

“Obviously, road safety is a key consideration. The project has placed particular focus on this aspect,” says Larsson.

During the project, about 700 overtaking sequences involving the One More Pile rig were studied to identify possible problems. In certain cases, the project staff recorded the number plates of the overtaking vehicles, called up the owners and asked how they had experienced the overtaking situation. No negative comments were recorded.

Neither have Sanna Brännholm nor her colleagues found the rig’s size to be a problem.
“As far as I can see, car drivers have no trouble overtaking. As the rig driver, I have to plan carefully if I need to overtake. Because the rig is longer and heavier than normal, a longer straight stretch is required," she explains.

The days are short at this time of year in the Arctic Circle, and the winter sky is tinged with red. In Munksund, Sanna Brännholm drives onto the enormous scales used to weigh the vehicle and cargo. This time the total weight is 89.05 tonnes.

“The maximum permitted weight is 90 tonnes, so we’re right on target. A perfect cargo,” she says, gazing up at the neatly stacked pine logs.

February 1, 2011

Technical specifications of the One More Pile rig
Volvo FH16 tractor (6x4) with 660 hp engine
Gearbox: I-Shift
Payload: 66 tonnes
Gross vehicle weight: 90 tonnes
Length: 30 metres
Width: 2.6 metres
Height: 4.5 metres
Number of axles: 11
Number of wheels: 26

An EBS (Electronic Brake System) is connected to the tractor and all the trailers. This technology enables all the wheels to be braked simultaneously, which ensures efficient braking power and prevents the One More Pile rig from having a longer stopping distance than a conventional 60 tonne rig.

The rig is equipped with scales to enable the driver to achieve the optimum total weight and distribute the cargo so as not to exceed the permitted total weight and axle load.
Volvo Trucks’ web-based transport information system, Dynafleet, is used in the project to monitor the vehicle in real time and register fuel consumption, driving speed, environmental impact, load per axle and different drivers’ driving behaviour.

Watch the One More Pile film

Link to pictures

For further information, please contact:
Marie Vassiliadis, Media Relations Europe, phone +46 31 322 41 27, e-mail