Driv­ing the Volvo FMX 460 8x4 tip­per

Commercial Vehicle - - WHAT'S INSIDE -

In terms of ap­pear­ance, Volvo FMX 460 does not look any dif­fer­ent from the Volvo FMX 440 8x4 min­ing tip­per. BSIV emis­sion com­pli­ant, the FMX 460 flaunts a Se­lec­tive Cat­a­lyst Re­duc­tion (SCR) ex­haust af­ter-treat­ment sys­tem. Most SCR com­po­nents are away from the naked eye ex­cept the AdBlue reser­voir be­tween the left front and sec­ond wheel. An AdBlue pump is in­te­grated into the plas­tic tank of 32 to 90-litre ca­pac­i­ties. Claimed to re­quire top­ping up ev­ery three days con­sid­er­ing the con­tin­u­ous op­er­a­tion of the tip­per, the FMX 460 fea­tures a day cab with com­fort­able and er­gonomic driver area. Pow­er­ing the truck is a 460 hp, D13K, 12.8-litre, six-cylin­der com­mon­rail turbo-diesel en­gine mounted on a ro­bust and re­in­forced ladder chas­sis. Pro­duc­ing a peak torque of 2300 Nm at 900-1400 rpm, the en­gine has an I-Shift au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion cou­pled to it. Power is routed to the road through two live rear hub re­duc­tion axles.

Be­hind the wheel of the tip­per, a sense of sit­ting higher up is had. Be­hind the large four­spoke steer­ing wheel is a large rec­tan­gu­lar in­stru­ment panel. Slide the shifter into neu­tral, and turn the key. The straight six-cylin­der mo­tor comes to life and set­tles down to an idle. Slide the shifter to ‘A’, re­lease the elec­tronic park­ing brake on what looks like a thor­oughly mod­ern and well put­to­gether dash­board, and step on the ac­cel­er­a­tor. There is no clutch. The truck starts mov­ing. A no­tice­able im­prove­ment in re­fine­ment and noise is ev­i­dent at once. The BSIV com­pli­ant ma­chine is driver friendly and com­fort­able. In a des­o­late min­ing en­vi­ron­ment, the air-con­di­tioned cock­pit is a pleas­ant place to be in.

With good vis­i­bil­ity ahead, through the large sin­gle wind­screen, the FMX 460 does not call for much ef­fort to pi­lot. The over­bur­den at the rear feels a mat­ter of course. The FMX 460 moves away with­out hic­cup. With small in­cre­ments in speed, the 12-speed split­ter and range gear­box with au­to­mated gearchang­ing sys­tem be­gins swap­ping cogs promptly. With the rev nee­dle hov­er­ing on the ‘green’ band of the tacho, the FMX 460 amazes with its abil­ity. A con­sid­er­able im­prove­ment in re­fine­ment over the BSIII FMX 440 is ev­i­dent at once. Hav­ing earned a strong rep­u­ta­tion for its abil­ity to go deep down into a mine, the FMX 460 fur­ther el­e­vates the abil­i­ties the FMX min­ing tip­per range is known for.

The Dud­hichua coal mine where I had an op­por­tu­nity to drive the FMX 460 is full of FMX 520 and the FMX 480 10x4 trucks. They op­er­ate in se­vere con­di­tions. Ex­hibit­ing strong trac­tion, the FMX 460, in se­vere op­er­at­ing con­di­tions, im­presses with its abil­ity to keep noise and dust out. No won­der, one of the 29 driv­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Fuel­watch Chal­lenge ex­pressed that they were long­ing to get be­hind the wheel of their trucks to es­cape the warm, hu­mid and dusty en­vi­ron­ment of the mine! On the move, the en­gine brake of the truck makes for good con­trol. The brakes ex­ert a strong bite when called upon to re­tard the truck. Ac­knowl­edg­ing the ad­van­tages had by main­tain­ing good min­ing tracks, BGR has de­ployed a good num­ber of wa­ter spray­ing tankers and mo­tor graders. If the diff locks help to ne­go­ti­ate nar­row wind­ing tracks with loose soil, the in­ter­axle locks help to carry out the task at hand with­out in­ter­rup­tion. When the go­ing gets tough, the tough get go­ing. Is that what the FMX 460 is try­ing to con­vey? I think, it is.

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