Thompsons or Charlton? “We want both” says Michael O’Donnell, owner of MC International Haulage

Monday, 22nd November 2021

 

Decisions, decisions. ‘This body, or that body?’ Which is best?

When finalising the bodywork details of his latest batch of top – spec tippers, Michael O’Donnell quickly came to realise it wasn’t a case of choosing a Charlton over a Thompsons, or vice – versa, but actually having both. A decision made that much easier because both these model ranges are products of the larger Thompsons Group.

Michael O’Donnell said:

“Each of the two bodytypes is absolutely ideal for a particular type of work. Charlton’s SuperLite is exactly that – built in steel yet providing the maximum payload in its class. The ideal general purpose tipper body. And then Thompsons’ Loadmaster Lite – easily the most proven heavy duty tipper there has ever been. On really tough jobs, there’s nothing to beat it.

So when you look at these two bodies together, you see that they complement each other perfectly. Having both simply adds to our performance and productivity. Whichever body we choose at a particular point in time, it’s going to come from the Thompsons Group.”

Based at Ashford, Heathrow, MC International Haulage started off ten years ago doing conventional tractor / trailer work into Europe, but soon changed course into developing a wide range of domestic UK tipper services. These now include bulk excavation, land restoration, recycling, road planing, grab work and muckaway.

Immediately notable is that this 22 – strong tipper fleet is built around unusually high vehicle specifications, and with equivalent standards visual presentation to match.

Michael added:

“For chassis, we’re 100% Scania, whilst for bodies it’s now Charlton and Thompsons together. The fact that Charlton is owned by Thompsons is an obvious bonus, as well as a guarantee of their product quality. We’ve run bodies built by Thompsons in Croydon from the very outset, so can vouch for their superb performance, reliability and durability.

Now the Charlton SuperLite adds further appeal – being some 200kgs lighter makes it obviously attractive not just as a straight front end tipper but also when helping to offset the extra weight of a crane on a grab truck.”

Individual features of the Charlton bodies also find widespread favour not just with MC but with tipper operators generally. The completely smooth, flat, one piece sides are ideal for carrying modern liveries whilst also making cleaning quick and easy. SuperLite’s curved floor makes the ejection of wet and sticky loads that much easier too, whilst the very similar GrabLite comes with a flat floor to help scooping up material with a clamshell bucket.

Charlton also offers full range of tipping gears, tailgate designs and supplementary equipment such as onboard weighing, sheeting systems, cameras, pedestrian warning devices and toolboxes – all of which are supplied and fitted in-house.

MC’s duality in bodytypes also carries through into variations in their chassis. Whilst all are Scania, the company also finds ample reason to choose both the standard 8×4 model as well as the more off-road focused XT, all with various engine outputs covering 410, 450 and 500hp.

Finished off with a striking red livery and detailing, taking pride in a fleet like this comes easy – though obviously a lot of hard work goes in to keeping the trucks looking and performing at their best.

Michael says:

“It’s worth all the effort, because we want people to see that we have high standards and fight hard to be at the top of our game. When we come to sell the trucks, if their spec is right and their condition is right then we easily get a top value for them.

Having Thompsons Group bodies on our chassis can make a big difference – they are what used truck buyers are really looking for. And in the meantime, we keep our drivers happy by giving them the best tippers we can.”

Based in Dover, Charlton Bodies Ltd will be delivering a further batch of tippers to MC International in 2022.

Charlton demonstrates its core strengths with Independent Builders Merchant Group

Monday, 8th November 2021

 

Long established as one of the UK’s leading suppliers of specialist truck bodies to the building supply industry, Charlton is now the preferred bodywork supplier to the rapidly growing Independent Builders Merchant Group (IBMG).

To date in 2021, Charlton has supplied IBMG with the bodywork for twelve new 26t chassis, plus five at 18t and one 16t vehicle.

Richard Beal, IBMG’s Senior Transport Manager says:

“We choose Charlton for our truck bodies for two main reasons. First is their exceptional build quality, with everything being supplied, fitted and finished by Charlton themselves. This means that when we get our trucks they are immediately ready to work.

The second is that Charlton makes enormous efforts to ensure that their products are always exactly what we want, and are therefore ready and willing to sit down with us to develop specifications that are precise to the finest detail. Our new trucks are very much the result of a real team effort to get them exactly right.”

Supplied to IBMG through Woking – based Translease Services, all the 18 vehicles delivered in 2021 are based on DAF CF and LF chassis.

The bodies of the 26t vehicles, as running with Parker Building Supplies, have 6300mm hardwood floors, triple planked aluminium dropsides and a steel framed tailboard. A full length subframe then supports rear mounted extendable stability legs, a short safety staircase and a rear – mounted Fassi F155 crane. As well as providing the best and easiest solution of driver access to the body, these cranes can be operated either by full remote control or via conventional levers.

By being mounted at the back of the truck the long – reach cranes also offer significantly increased versatility in being able to deliver loads at almost any point off the sides or rear of the vehicle.

Underneath the bodywork the rear – steer DAF 370hp CF 6×2 chassis provides an optimum blend of manoeuvrability and performance. Weighing in at just over 13t unladen, these new six wheelers offer a highly competitive payload allowance that is more than adequate for the generally mixed loads the trucks carry.

At 18 and 16 tonnes, the 4×2 DAF LF is IBMG’s truck of choice with the latest examples going to Group member Fairalls of Godstone. The bodywork of these trucks follows the core design and layout of the six wheelers, but on a reduced scale. These smaller trucks are therefore ideal for deliveries to more congested sites such as individual building plots and driveways.

In the last few years the Independent Builders Merchant Group has risen to become the largest independent supplier to the building trade across Southern England. As well as Parker and Fairalls, its members include Chandlers, Grant & Stone, Stamco, CRS, Perrys and RGB Building Supplies with the combined Group now operating from over 140 locations ranging from Kent to Cornwall.

Commenting further on his most recent new trucks, Richard Beal notes:

“the vehicles we need have to combine the highest possible levels of practicality, versatility and safety. They also have to be reliable and cost effective, right from the start. Getting the best possible specification is the key to achieving all those virtues, along with the very real expertise and support we get from Charlton and Translease.

This is a real team effort, and it works particularly well.”

Based in Dover, Charlton is a key part of the Croydon – based Thompsons Group.

Charlton and Translease will be supplying another 13 new vehicles to IBMG in 2022, with an as yet unspecified further quantity in 2023.

 

 

 

A SuperLite supertruck! Charlton rocks on the back of Steve Wills’ superb Volvo 8×4 FH 540

Thursday, 26th November 2020

 

The SuperLite

 

Still a stronghold of family-owned transport businesses, England’s far south west boasts some of the most individual and highly specified trucks to be found anywhere in the UK. And no company demonstrates this pride of ownership better than Cornwall’s Steve Wills Haulage and its brand new Charlton – bodied 540hp sleeper cab 8×4 Volvo FH.

Owner Steve Wills says:

“This truck is another step forward. We’ve long been big fans of Swedish trucks including Volvo’s FMX, but this is our first FH. For this truck – as with all our recent tippers – we’ve gone for an all-steel Charlton SuperLite body with a cab-operated tailgate that’s the perfect complement to the top-level spec of the chassis. Together, they are an ideal pairing.”

As well as having a bigger cab, at 1250mm high the all – steel SuperLite’s bodysides are that bit taller too, making the new FH equally adept at carrying almost every type of payload from sand and aggregates to rocks and recyclables. And working in a county with plenty of steep inclines but no motorways, it made clear sense to specify the truck with Volvo’s mighty 540hp 13 litre diesel engine, which also pushes out a massive 2600Nm of torque. Fuel economy for the FH is great too, as that big engine not only reduces gearchanging but has also enabled the truck to be fitted with a higher differential ratio than is usual on Volvo tippers.

And the lucky driver of this new super – tipper? None other than Steve Wills’ 19-year old son Anthony, who has been driving for the company since the day he passed his test.

Anthony says:

“I still can’t quite believe it. When you see it in the yard before dawn it kind of takes your breath away. We’ve always gone for top level tippers, and this one is the best yet. It’s an absolute joy to spend the day in, and attracts highly positive comments from everyone who sees it. In turn, it’s a great advert for our company which, in addition to its huge capacity for work, is a key reason for having it.”

Surprisingly perhaps, the new FH is still very competitive on the weighbridge. This is partly because spec for spec, Charlton’s curved floor, ultra – durable SuperLite is the lightest steel tipper body on the UK market, so therefore an ideal choice for this particular chassis.

Anthony Wills also notes that “whilst the larger cab has obvious advantages – better forward visibility, extra room and reduced noise levels – it’s really just a bigger box of fresh air. The twelve alloy wheels also save around 240kgs or so over a standard tipper. As a result, the FH tips the scales at a very reasonable 12,900kgs to give a clear 19 tonnes plus payload which, given the performance and versatility on offer, we are more than happy with.”

Set up by Steve Wills almost 40 years ago, his haulage business remains a true family affair, with his younger sons Matthew and Daniel also keen to play their part. The company philosophy has always been to operate on a highly personal level, to keep things manageable and aim to be the very best at everything it does. The new FH bears clear testimony to that – as indeed do another two Volvos already on order for delivery in 2021.

Speaking for Charlton, Sales Director Andrew Gunn comments:

“Having supplied Steve Wills with tipper bodies for some years, we are delighted to have been chosen once again for their latest FH fleet flagship. Thanks to customers like Steve, Charlton has now established itself as the leading tipper bodybuilder for operators in the South West, our products having secured a premium reputation for quality, reliability and performance.”

Steve Wills’ new truck was supplied by Kevin Wills (no relation) of Stuarts Truck & Bus, Volvo main dealer for south west England. Providing local service and support in Cornwall, Stuarts has a branch just off the A30 at Roche, outside St. Austell.

Top-spec FH tipper

Anthony Wills

 

 

The Wills family

 

L Lynch marks its 40th birthday with a new fleet of Thompsons tippers

Tuesday, 7th July 2020

 

Established 40 years ago and now a national leader in its field, L Lynch Plant Hire & Haulage is marking its four decades in business with the purchase of 14 new Thompsons tippers, ten being conventional front end models with the remaining four as tipper grabs.

Built on 430hp Volvo FM 8×4 chassis, the new trucks are a significant business win for Thompsons’ Croydon factory as Lynch replaces earlier vehicles in its fleet fitted with other makes of tipper bodies.

Stephen Bremner, Lynch’s Head of Transport Services & Compliance, says that:

“For obvious reasons, the business environment today is now more difficult and challenging than ever, in turn we need the most robust, reliable and cost-effective tippers we can get. What matters most is to have really versatile tippers that can work without fuss or compromise on each and every job that comes along. Thompsons bodies have the pre-eminent reputation in the tipping industry whether for build quality, performance or returning the lowest whole life costs. As such, they promise to give us an excellent return on our investment.”

The ten front end tippers all feature Thompsons all – steel single skinned Loadmaster Lite tipper body, whereas the four crane – fitted grab models have been specified with the heavier duty, double skinned full – spec Loadmaster. Between the two types, Lynch’s new tippers are more than capable of handling any task that comes along.

Started by Liam Lynch in 1980 with a single excavator, the company has evolved year on year into a genuine industry leader thanks to a clear vision to be recognised as the ‘Best Operated Plant Hire and Haulage Provider Nationwide’. Complementing the company’s hundreds of items of plant equipment, its 60 – plus tipper fleet is engaged in a wide variety of work, most notably key infrastructure projects such as the recent A14 upgrade in Cambridgeshire and HS2.

Commenting for Thompsons, Joint Managing Director Scott Burton notes:

“We’re delighted to have secured this major piece of business from Lynch, and thank them for placing their trust in us and our products. Our aim is always to deliver increased productivity with greater cost-effectiveness and lower whole life costs, so that operators can actually prove to themselves that buying the best tipper body available pays real long term dividends.

For precisely this reason, Loadmaster further secures its position as the UK’s all – time top selling tipper body.”

Thompsons Group scores 2-0 with Luton’s top tipper team

Tuesday, 11th February 2020

 

Given the wide range of tasks they have to handle, choosing exactly the right tipper body spec is rarely easy. For Thomas Bros. Excavations (Luton) Ltd, the choice had to be from either Thompsons or its sister company Charlton. With so many benefits accruing to each, the ultimate decision was easy – they wanted both.

Thomas Bros. Managing Director Andrew Burton, says:

“We’ve bought Thompsons bodies for years, so we know we can put them on any job whatsoever. That said, the Charlton product is similarly versatile, and with the added bonus of being around 200kgs lighter. So for the heavier duty tasks such as muckaway and site work, the Loadmaster has that extra bit of reserve strength and capability, whereas for carrying stone and our crushed recycled materials Charlton’s SuperLite has a worthwhile extra payload. For a multi-purpose tipper operation such as ours, they are a terrific combination!”

Fitted to MAN, Volvo and Scania chassis, both Thompsons’ Loadmaster Lite and Charlton’s SuperLite bodies are single skin designs built entirely in steel. This gives both types an optimal blend of strength, durability and carrying capacity. The Charlton body also has a curved floor, which makes the clean ejection of wet and sticky loads that much easier. Befitting its intended application, the SuperLite also has a lower side panel height than the Loadmaster, thereby helping to reduce overall weight.

Andrew Burton adds:

“We’ve already got a great track record with both these bodies, and in reality there’s no other product out there to touch either of them. Our chassis choice may vary from time to time, but for tipper bodies we always go for Thompsons. Today, our trucks are working harder and longer hours than ever, so we really need that extra margin of performance and reliability. It’s as simple as that.”

With many in the company being big fans of Luton Town Football Club, Andrew has had two of the latest Loadmasters painted up in the club’s distinctive and highly visible orange colour.

He says:

“They make great adverts, both for the club and ourselves. After all, football is almost as hard a game today as being a tipper operator!”

Speaking for Thompsons, Joint Managing Director Scott Burton says:

“We’re delighted to have secured another 10 bodies for Thomas Bros.’ latest tippers, and in particular that Andrew clearly recognises the key benefits of each of our brands. Whereas the Loadmaster continues as the UK’s top selling tipper body, our Charlton product nonetheless finds increasing favour as a truly versatile, maximum payload alternative for customers who mainly carry stone, aggregates and recycled materials.”

Based at Beadlow in Bedfordshire, Thomas Bros. provides a wide range of services to the construction industry with over 40 heavy trucks that also include artic and grab tippers, hookloaders, skiploaders and road sweepers.

Unique spec of Collier’s first Thompsons Scotland tipper body
designed to carry almost anything!

Wednesday, 9th May 2018

 

Long favouring general purpose bulk tipper bodies, Collier Haulage of Cowdenbeath has just acquired its first body built by Thompsons Tippers Scotland. On first glance looking similar to the fleet’s existing examples, this new body takes tipper specifications another stage higher.

Built by Thompsons Tippers Scotland at their factory outside Edinburgh, the new aluminium Bulkmaster body combines a standard bulker design with a heavy duty floor as well as a comprehensive ‘tar specification’ that includes a split tailgate and full side panel insulation. The result is a body that can handle a wider range of payloads than ever, greatly adding to the truck’s operating capability and versatility..

Company director Duncan Collier says:

“We went to Thompsons because we knew that they could take our traditional body design to the next level. With their proven design and production expertise we also recognize that Thompsons bodies deliver real quality and long term productivity. The result is exactly what we wanted.”

Mounted on Collier’s fleet – standard FMX 8×4 chassis, the 24.4cu.m Bulkmaster body features 1.7m high insulated sides, an 8mm hardened aluminium floor, an air operated split tailgate and a sliding front to back HARSH sheeting system.

Of particular note, the complete vehicle weighs in at just 12,300kgs, affording an easy 19,500kgs plus payload potential.

With this latest Thompsons body spec these loads can cover everything from ‘Type 1’ crushed materials and aggregates through to farm waste, solid fuels, bulk recycling products and hot tarmac.

David Craig from Thompsons Scotland says:

“This new body has been a great exercise for us in being able to fine – tune what has essentially been a traditional bodytype for many Scots hauliers into something that is even more versatile and productive. Aside from really heavy duty work, the insulated Bulkmaster can handle almost every type of payload – and lots of it, too.

We really appreciate the opportunity to work with Duncan on this project, and are naturally delighted at achieving the desired result.”

Collier’s new Bulkmaster tipper is just one manifestation as to how this family – owned company is taking every opportunity to increase its commercial appeal in today’s ever – changing world. Founded as a straight tipper haulage business, things have really moved on since the acquisition of their new highly impressive 117 acre operating centre at Goathill Quarry just off the A92 at East Bucklyvie, Cowdenbeath. As well as quarrying, the Collier Group has recently built a new concrete plant and is already a major supplier of concrete building blocks.

Having already proven the worth of their latest truck, the next vehicle in the Collier fleet will be another Thompsons tipper.

“We’ve known the people at Dalmeny for some time, but now with Thompsons behind them there’s a real sense of activity in the place. Their product is first class, their service works and they are really keen to make their mark – exactly like us!”

says Duncan Collier.

Thompsons revolutionary 8×4 side tipping grab truck set to deliver massive gains in operating performance

Tuesday, 20th February 2018

 

Already the clear leader in the UK’s highly buoyant market for 8×4 tipper grabs, Thompsons has now introduced a novel side – tipping design that will deliver massive gains in operating performance.

Aimed squarely at the utilities sector, this latest highly innovative Thompsons body design offers the unique combination of not just a full length side tipping body but also a rear mounted crane and grab. By bringing these features together into a singularly unique package operators can expect dramatically improved versatility and productivity.

As a key feature, the new side tipper’s rear mounted crane offers a hugely increased sweep area, effectively covering the entire area around the truck behind its cab. By being fully able to work all around the rear of the vehicle, this new Thompsons tipper effectively gains a third ‘side’ to its capability whereas conventional tipper grabs are limited to just two.

And because the side tipper’s crane covers a much greater pick-up area, any time – consuming need for the truck to shift its position when taking on loads is significantly reduced.

Further benefits are also apparent when unloading. Conventional tipper grab trucks can only unload from their sides – into pavement areas and trenches for example – with their buckets. At its maximum, each bucket will only be carrying around a tonne of material, so offloading a typical 15 tonnes payload takes time.

In contrast, a side tipper has the ability to eject the whole load in a single tip. And with the load sliding out over the body’s lowered dropsides, that load can also be placed very accurately. Equally, part – load discharge is also an option thanks to easy controllability of the tipping operation (ideal for working with road crews when the truck is moving forward at walking speed).

An all – new design, the Thompsons side tipper body is built up from a 5mm steel floor with single piece steel dropsides that are hydraulically opened and closed. Completing the package, both the compact HARSH ‘pot ram’ tipping gear and Epsilon / Kinshofer crane equipment are already highly familiar standard products in this marketplace.

Having identified a clear need to create a new product in the tipper grab market, the new truck is the result of a team effort between Thompsons, LC Vehicle Hire in Leeds and T&K Gallagher of Manchester. Based at Thompsons HQ in Croydon, Neil Griffin led the overall design effort with Phil Sutcliffe and Yogi Patel taking charge of the body’s production in Blackburn.

Thompsons Director Simon Shields comments;

“it’s not that often that we’re able to introduce an entirely new body into the Thompsons range. Already clear leaders in the tipper grab sector, this latest product again demonstrates our passion and commitment for evolving new products that deliver real operating benefits to our customers. And people like what they see – before this new truck has even gone on the road, we’ve got multiple further orders from customers in both north and south England.

We consider this truck offers a genuine step change in specialist tipper operations.”

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