H.Askey Transport has taken delivery of a DAF XF 480 6x2 tractor with single-mounted trailing axle, plus a PM 38.5SP crane to increase the spread of capabilities from the diverse Sheffield fleet.
The operator, which describes itself as ‘just a haulier really’, already has vehicles and ancillary equipment that see it routinely handle wide-load movements, heavy haulage jobs, crane-assisted work and hazard materials handling. The new XF 480 ‘FTR’ six-wheeler was acquired through PACCAR Financial, with whom Rob Askey declares himself, ‘very happy’. He is similarly pleased with the service and back-up the company gets from DAF dealer, F&G Commercials in Barnsley.
Managing Director, Rob Askey, himself the sixth generation to work in the family-owned firm, says, “We have a very strong and loyal customer base, and we have always tried to have everything the customer requires. That’s an ambition that we might never fully achieve of course, because things change all the time, but for a business that is essentially a mainstream haulage operation, we probably do have a wider variety of kit than most.”
The new addition 6x2 FTR axle configuration features a single-mounted trailing axle, ideal for the crane-mount and the associated work required. Explains Rob Askey, “The PM crane on the new DAF 480 gives us a fair bit of extra reach over other trucks on the fleet, and we have one particular customer where the collection and delivery of bulk bags of materials calls for just that. The vehicle is a replacement in terms of overall fleet numbers, but is a major upgrade in terms of both specification and flexibility."
The XF six-wheeler has been specced by the operator with a DAF Super Space Cab. He says, “To my mind you can’t beat DAF cabs, I reckon they offer the best living space on the market. We have a great bunch of guys on our driver team and we like to try and give them the best.” H.Askey Transport works across the UK and into mainland Europe, with at least three or four trucks on the Continent on a regular basis. Rob Askey sees the quality and comfort of the DAFs as a great way to keep the team together while getting reliable and efficient performances from the truck fleet itself. “Everyone talks about fuel consumption these days” he says, “and I understand that. I remember when we had the sulphur taken out of diesel.
“I’m not saying it wasn’t needed in environmental terms,” he said, “but I do say that it has taken us from then, about 20 years ago, to today, to get trucks capable of matching the fuel consumption with the old diesel.
“At the end of the day though, it’s the driver’s right foot that really governs fuel consumption, whatever sort of diesel we have. We have a great group of drivers, so we try and buy them the best equipment we can, knowing they will respect that and try to do their jobs in the safest and most economical way possible.”
The company operates a dedicated driver programme for each of its trucks. “It works well for us,” says Rob Askey, “especially on the crane assisted vehicles. Everything is so complex these days, you can’t just swap things around like in the past. We want drivers to get to know their truck and its equipment, and then feel comfortable and get the best out of it day-in and day-out. So one dedicated driver per truck seems the most sensible way forward for us.”
H.Askey Transport, which is FORS Gold accredited, has had its own telematics programme in operation for some time, but is currently trialling the DAF system. “You can’t have too much information,” says Rob. “My father bought our first DAF back in about 1979, a DAF 2100, but we don’t reckon we know it all by any stretch.”