Canute Group, one of the UK's fastest growing logistics companies, has put a dozen DAF XF105s into its 600 vehicle fleet to evaluate the whole life cost of running the model.
The trucks are the 6x2 mid-lift axle FTG model powered by the 12.9 litre MX engine rated at 460 bhp (340 kW) and delivering 2300 Nm of torque between 1000 and 1410 rpm.
The comprehensive specification includes the DAF Super Space cab with 'skylights' faired into the roofline, Combi lights integrated into the bumper and a full air management kit fitted. A 525 litre aluminium fuel tank has been specified along with a sliding fifth wheel, an extra long catwalk and axle load monitoring.
The new trucks are the first DAF tractor units to be operated by Canute since 1985. Regional Operations Director Iain Brown says that the decision to introduce the 105 into their 'heavy' fleet was based on the positive experience they are having with five 7.5 tonne DAF LF45s that have entered service over the past four years and the good working relationship that they enjoy with the supplying dealer Lancashire DAF.
"We need to take a long term view of the cost of operating our vehicles," he explains. "This evaluation is about determining the whole life costs of the 105 against other competitor tractor units. Fuel and AdBlue usage are going to be key factors and at 460 bhp we have an ample power to weight ratio of almost 10.5 bhp/tonne, which should contribute to good fuel efficiency. We are also expecting that the high specification that we have gone for will lead to decent residual prices when we move them on in five years time."
Newcastle, Carlisle and Kendal are the Canute bases from which the 105s are operating. They're being used on a variety of work with different trailer types, terrain and weight movements all being relevant factors. Some will be double-shifted and these are expected to cover up to 300,000 kms a year. After a couple of years at those high mileages Brown says these trucks will then be re-deployed onto single driver operations.
"We also think that it's important to look after our drivers," he adds. "And as they'll be spending up to five nights a week living in the cab we've chosen the Super Space cab for the generous amount of room it offers and added a fridge and a high quality radio/CD player. The choice of the automated AS-tronic transmission will also help reduce driver fatigue and add to safety as it means the driver can be totally focussed on the road and traffic conditions without thinking about gear changes."
The 105s were factory painted in the distinctive Canute yellow, which both ensured a high quality and a consistency of finish. Servicing is being carried out by DAF dealers local to the trucks' operating bases under an R&M contract and at times, including overnight, that will ensure their optimum availability.