The latest 33.420FT truck range offers a more modern design. Picture: FAW SA
The latest 33.420FT truck range offers a more modern design. Picture: FAW SA

FAW Trucks, which has an assembly plant in Coega in the Eastern Cape, will soon make available its 33.420FT truck tractors range, which will duly replace the 28.380FT line-up.

A number of pilot units of the 33.420FT trucks have been on extensive real-time testing with key clients across the country operating in various transport sectors, such as long-haul, construction and agriculture, to name a few.

As the successor model to the older and popular 28.380FT truck the new unit has some significant improvements, which all contribute to making this one of the most cost-effective in its class, says FAW, with a particularly low cost per kilometre. One of the most important new features is the increased horsepower which is now rated at 420hp, hence the name. This power is produced through a six-cylinder in-line water-cooled, turbocharged and intercooled FAW engine.

The Euro 2 vehicle has torque of 1,750Nm at between 1,200 and 1,600r/min, and a power output of 309kW coming in at 2,200r/min. The engine also features an air filter with a pre-filter for cleaner operation and 24V electrical systems with easy access to electric relays.

The company says that the manual 12-speed transmission makes for easy driving and delivers direct contact with the road, giving the driver total control of the vehicle. The robust chassis is of the straight ladder type and is riveted with no bolts or chassis flanges.

A fleet of Afrimax’s FAW 33.330FC and 35.340FC mixers. Picture: FAW SA
A fleet of Afrimax’s FAW 33.330FC and 35.340FC mixers. Picture: FAW SA

A number of other new features include the change of the size of the fuel tank to a larger 600l aluminium tank. The braking system features full air-braking ABS, drum brakes with S-cams and automatic slack adjusters, and an exhaust brake, all contributing to the ease of driving and safety on and off the road.

The semi-sleeper forward-tilting cab has been designed with driver and passenger safety and comfort in mind, as well as easy access for maintenance. Features include air-conditioning and a radio with MP3 and USB connection.

A large windscreen and angled side windows, together with large proximity mirrors and kerb-side mirrors, offer exceptional visibility. Making the driver’s "office" even more comfortable and safer are a heavy-duty air-suspension seat with height adjustable control, movable and telescopic steering column, and inertia-type driver and passenger seat belts. For added convenience the tubeless radial tyres (315/80 R22.5 16PR) can be inflated via a tyre inflation pipe straight from the air tank.

One of the companies that has put the new model to the test is Afrimat Ready-Mix Division, part of the larger JSE-listed Afrimat group.

Ricus van Heerden, who is responsible for its Western and Northern Cape region, emphasises how crucial logistics, planning, collaboration and trust are in a business such as theirs.

"While we concentrate on our core product, its quality manufacture, we also rely on our outsourced transport teams to uphold our customer promise and thus our reputation," says Van Heerden.

The cab’s interior layout is designed with driver comfort and efficiency in mind. Picture: FAW SA
The cab’s interior layout is designed with driver comfort and efficiency in mind. Picture: FAW SA

He also paints a scene to put some perspective on how you cannot afford to have a weak link in your chain of partners as this could be a costly exercise should there be a broken link.

"The example of 500,000m3, could be a substantial mall or huge multistorey building in the heart of a metropolis. On such sites an on-site concrete batch plant is not feasible, so it has to be driven in from one of Afrimat’s fixed batch plants in the region.

"This is when you may see a row of seven or more FAW 33.330FC mixers with 6m3, or 35.340FC mixers with 8m3, waiting in line to drop their loads, each load with only about three hours’ margin between them to place the concrete in a specific sequence.

"Let me assure you, it is in situations like this that you do not want one of those trucks to suddenly have mechanical problems," says Van Heerden.

"We make use of a large variety of transport subcontractors, from big transport company mixer truck fleets to smaller two to six truck operations, to LODs (lorry owner drivers). In this way we put together the most cost-effective team for each individual project we get. In the case of the smaller subcontractors and the LODs we partner closely, from providing surety to finance their vehicles, to providing business skills support.

"The construction industry is extremely price sensitive. This is why the entire logistics chain has to be 100% networked. We have to collaborate on best solutions for our client and then with the greatest precision implementing the plans. This is one of the many reasons we advocate that our transporters run FAW mixer trucks."

Judging from the popularity of the predecessor model 28.380FT, the new FAW 33.420FT looks likely to get good support from the market.

FAW says that customers are already ordering for various applications such as on-road long-haul, short and medium haul on and off-road, side tippers, agricultural operations, construction and mining.

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