NETHERLANDS: A loyal fan of Volvo articulated haulers is repaid with steadfast service
By Nigel Griffiths
Earlier this year the Dutch earth-moving contractor Gebroeders Den Hartog took delivery of a Volvo A30G – the company’s 75th Volvo articulated hauler. Based in Andelst in the eastern Netherlands, the company has been in business for more than 50 years and a customer of Volvo dealership Kuiken for some 42 of those. With a reputation for flexibility and hard work, Den Hartog is a family concern owned by four brothers and a nephew that started out in farming with their fathers before diversifying into construction equipment in the 1970s, offering its customers a 24/7 service.
The majority of the Volvo machines bought by Den Hartog over the years have been articulated haulers. “We have chosen Volvo machines based on quality, trust and service,” says company CEO Gerard den Hartog. “Price is also important, as is the outstanding maneuverability of the machines for the operators. “The A30G we received in January is the best size for the Dutch market, given the tire size, floor clearance and fuel consumption.”
The company’s current fleet includes five A30G articulated haulers, six A30Fs, an A25G, an A25D and L110H and L90F wheel loaders.
The machines are on the road across the Netherlands every day to support road and rail projects, the construction of water defences, landfill and even golf courses.
Getting quickly from site to site is no problem for the Volvo A30 range. Whether empty or full, the haulers travel rapidly and safely and ensure optimize production time.
The Volvo dealership is justly proud of its long and productive relationship with Den Hartog, says Bernhard Zoutewelle of Kuiken. “We have a historic relationship with Gerard den Hartog based on trust. The company needed an integrated solution provider offering a 24/7 service, a role that Kuiken could fulfill. And after buying 75 machines from us, the company has evidently been satisfied with our performance,” says Zoutewelle.
It is a two-way relationship with the Kuiken dealership, which draws on Gerard den Hartog’s experience to test out new developments and concepts – as an experienced owner he is valued highly for his feedback.
“Gerard knows everything about his market and the different types of machines. He thinks Volvo are the best articulated haulers and that’s why he has chosen Volvo time and time again,” says Zoutewelle.
Launched in 1966, the articulated-hauler concept was pioneered by Volvo, which revolutionized the hauler by developing an independently driven trailer, designing it without an axle and introducing hydraulic articulated steering. The original was known as Gravel Charlie,
and Volvo CE remains the industry leader.
Today in its 50th year, Volvo CE’s articulated hauler collection now features seven models ranging in capacity up to 60 tons (see the Spirit cover story p.10 about the new A60H). The new G-series haulers incorporate state-of-the-art technology and innovative features to enable them to safely maneuver, travel, pick up and dump the load efficiently and safely. The machine features automatic self-leveling, is stable at high speed, and offers fast dump cycles.
Constructed of HB400 steel, the hauler’s body has the strength to withstand years of impact loading. It is easy to load using any loading equipment. The hauler’s dumping system includes a long-tailed chute and high tipping joint, making it possible to place the load in exactly the right position, even on downhill grades, into a hopper, or over an edge.
“The Volvo A25G and A30G articulated trucks are highly flexible machines able to work in a wide range of applications,” says den Hartog.
Particularly appreciated by the company’s operators in the new G-series are the outstanding machine control, precision and stability. Visibility from the cab scores highly with operators who are able to work at speed and with a high degree of safety.
The G-Series features two reverse gears, which set it apart from competitors, allowing operators to reverse fully loaded up inclines with power, speed and precision. Given the notoriously heavy Dutch clay these machines frequently have to shift, power is an important factor.
HOME SWEET HOME
Den Hartog says that his operators treat their haulers like a home-from-home: they respect and love the machines they work with every day and often give them the personal touch. Many are personalized by the operators with carpet and other interior decoration.
He gives them full responsibility for their machines, monitoring performance and maintenance. And the reward for good work, he says, can often be a new machine.
Day-to-day maintenance of the fleet of machines is undertaken on site. Using solely Volvo machines simplifies the stockage of maintenance parts.
“Working as we do 24/7, if we have a technical problem, it is vital we have Kuiken at the end of the phone to jump into their vans and bring us the solution,” says den Hartog. As a hands-on manager, he constantly discusses machine performance and productivity with his 15-strong team.
“I know what the operators want,” he says. “Comfort and visibility are important to the operator. While my personal focus is on the total cost of ownership, I know that a happy operator means better productivity.”