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

 

Thompsons range – leading Loadmaster gets a major update, with Cappagh taking the first 40!

Monday, 23rd November 2020

 

Thompsons has introduced a major upgrade to its range – leading heavy duty Loadmaster tipper body. From now on, this super – tough, double – skinned design is being built without front cornerposts. And the first 40 such examples are going to London – based Cappagh.

Thompsons Joint Managing Director Scott Burton says

“Loadmaster was first introduced 25 years ago, and its reputation for reliability and durability in the most arduous conditions is simply unequalled. The original double – skinned design featured cornerposts front and rear to provide the maximum possible strength and rigidity. Today though, thanks to ever higher material quality and our more advanced production processes, we are introducing a revised design offering exactly the same performance, but without the front cornerposts.

Aside from saving a valuable 100kgs in weight this new, simpler, design is also easier and faster to build, thereby boosting our factory productivity. So this latest Loadmaster benefits everyone.”

Significantly, Wimbledon – based Cappagh is now taking the first 40 examples of this latest Loadmaster, 25 being standard front – end tippers with the remaining 15 specified as tipper grabs. Notable too is that Cappagh was also one of the very first customers of the original Loadmaster when it was launched in the mid 1990’s.

Incorporated in 1973, family – owned Cappagh is one of the tipper industry’s major success stories, the company now working across 14 sites located not just within London but also in a triangle between Oxford in the west, Portsmouth in the south and Maidstone in the East.

Principally engaged in utilities, highways, demolition, aggregates, recycling, muckaway and land restoration, Cappagh needs its tippers to be fully on top of every job that comes along. In meeting this demand, Thompsons tipper bodies have played a key role in the company’s development as Conor Ferncombe, grandson of the founder, explains:

“Since its inception, Thompsons’ Loadmaster has been the ‘go – to’ tipper body, the reference point for everything a tipper body should be. Cappagh has been a Loadmaster user right from when it was launched, and by occasionally trying other makes of body, we inevitably come back to Loadmaster simply because it’s the best tipper there is. There are no jobs it cannot handle, and for a highly varied work portfolio such as ours we absolutely need the everyday versatility that Loadmaster provides.

With tippers, you have to remember that it’s the body that does the really hard work, taking the thumps and knocks when loading and all the abrasion when tipping. So reliability is the key. And when we finally sell the truck on, having a Loadmaster body really does guarantee we achieve the best possible residual value. This latest Loadmaster simply takes the story another stage forward.”

As befits the company’s highly valued FORS Gold accreditation, Cappagh’s new Loadmasters introduce further advances too, particularly in regard to safety. For their drivers, all vehicles are now fitted with cab-operated tailgates as well as in-cab, on-screen viewing of the exterior camera images that cover the full 360 degrees around the truck. In addition to nearside and offside warning panels and ‘Sidescan’ audible proximity alerts, Thompsons has also fitted front and rear strobe lights as well as flashing indicator lights that run down the length of the bodies.

Scott added:

“Thompsons and Cappagh have a shared interest in producing the safest tippers we can, these latest 40 examples being clear evidence of our joint commitment.”

Thompsons super-versatile, custom-spec Loadmaster Lites exactly right for Hazell & Jefferies

Thursday, 20th August 2020

 

Five new Thompsons bodied Renault tippers have now entered service with Berkshire – based Hazell & Jefferies Ltd, the tipper operator saying Thompsons won the business because “Thompsons has an unrivalled ability to understand each and every tipper operation and then respond by producing precisely the bodies that it needs.”

Key to Hazell & Jefferies’ operation is that its tippers have to work over a wide range of duties. One job might see them moving aggregates and crushed recycled products, the next engaged on road planing or hot tar surface dressing. H&J’s Operations Manager Neil Tomlinson says:

“Work can change even in a single day. So what we want is one truck that can be equally successful at everything. With these latest tippers Thompsons gives us exactly this degree of versatility and productivity.”

A notable feature of these latest tippers are that their steel Loadmaster Lite bodies have a longer rear overhang to enable them to easily tip into a hopper or road surfacing machine. To prevent the possibility of rear axle overloads (especially as the trucks have sleeper cabs), their tailgates have then been angled forwards, thereby maintaining the optimal open body dimensions for loading.

Additionally, the air – operated tailgates have also been built with tar chutes, with some of the chassis also featuring automatic couplings for pulling drawbar trailers carrying road planing machines. Completing their tipper specification, the trucks have also been fitted with lightweight Binotto separate ram and tank tipping gears.

Neil Adds:

“The Thompsons / Renault combination is one that really works for us”. These are rugged, hi-spec tippers built for reliability and durability. And a payload of 18,500kgs is fine, given their heavy duty, multi-purpose specification. We’ve dealt with Thompsons for a long time now, and know that their products really do stand up to years of hard work.”

Based in Pangbourne and with a large scale recycling facility at Benson in Oxfordshire, Hazell & Jefferies is a major supplier of road planing and resurfacing work, as well as offering comprehensive services in recycling, skip hire, general highways activities and delivering concrete.

With its new trucks now hard at work, Hazell & Jefferies is already discussing taking a further batch of new Loadmaster Lites before the end of the year.

Scott Burton, Joint Managing Director at Thompsons says

“It’s really important that we give customers tippers that are built and fully finished to their exact requirements. This is the surest way to secure repeat business, and I’d like to thank Hazell & Jefferies for their continuing confidence in both our products and our ability to deliver the tippers that they need.”

Thompsons X-Lite steel bodied tippers set to deliver an extra £10,000 revenue for J&J Franks

Monday, 3rd August 2020

 

Surrey quarry owner and tipper operator J&J Franks has just put into service three new tippers fitted with Thompsons’ lightest ever steel tipper body, the Loadmaster X-Lite. Fully fuelled and ready to run, each of these new trucks tares off at just 12,740kgs, thereby providing a payload capacity of 19,260kgs – a remarkable achievement for a steel bodied eight wheeler.

Specified by Franks’ Commercial Director Paul Lewis, the trucks have been designed to deliver the very best performance and productivity. Paul notes that:

“a typical standard – spec steel bodied eight wheeler will give a payload of 18,500kgs, whereas with these new trucks we are getting 19,260kgs – that’s three quarters of a tonne more, on each and every trip. Over a five year life, this gives us a minimum of £10,000 extra revenue from each truck. With the X-Lite, Thompsons really has taken steel tipper bodies another stage forward.”

Crucial to Franks’ requirements are that its tippers have to be equally adept in moving either the company’s sand and gravel products or working on muckaway jobs for third parties. As such, to meet the inherent needs of reliability and durability the company’s tipper bodies have to be built in steel.

Paul adds:

“To achieve this level of versatility and still get an easy 19 tonnes plus payload really marks these tippers out as something exceptional”

Thompsons manufactures X-Lite bodies from the latest Hardox sheet steel called 500tuf. This material retains all the long-proven strength of standard Hardox 450, but is 20% thinner. This means that on a Loadmaster X-Lite an otherwise standard 5mm thick floor reduces to 4mm, with side panels coming down to 3.2mm thick, and the headboard at just 3mm.

Completing the J&J Franks bodywork specification is a front to back electric sheeting system, air operated tailgate, toolbox and Edbro front end tipping gear. Finished in a particularly novel and attractive hi-vis livery, these are tippers guaranteed to attract everyone’s attention!

Speaking for Thompsons, Joint Managing Director Scott Burton says:

“We have been particularly excited in working with Paul to provide his company with a set of truly exceptional tippers. X-Lite is the third and latest member of our long – established Loadmaster family, and is sure to move the goalposts for steel body productivity out still further. To be able to earn an extra £10,000 per truck over 5 years is no small beer, and we are delighted to have been able to reward Paul’s confidence in us in such a positive way.”

Ashvale’s ten new Thompsons N3 Tippers get top marks for performance, safety and road user friendliness

Thursday, 16th July 2020

 

Part of the M O’Brien Group, Ashvale Haulage of St. Albans has recently put into service ten new Thompsons – bodied ’20 reg’ tippers. Purchased primarily for working in London and on motorways, the new trucks have been built to ‘N3’ on-road specification, thereby combining the highest levels of performance with optimum safety and road-friendliness to the wider urban road user environment.

Whatever Ashvale’s tipper applications, on-road or off, the new trucks continue the company’s long – standing policy of making Thompsons’ all – steel Loadmaster Lite body the central component in its tipper specifications. Now mounted on Scania’s latest XT chassis, the ever – popular Loadmaster Lite is a single – skinned body design that offers the optimal balance between strength, durability and high carrying capacity. As a result, Loadmaster Lite is entirely suitable for the whole range of Ashvale’s tipper tasks whether carrying stone, aggregates, recycled materials, muckaway or rubble and demolition.

Ashvale Haulage’s managing director James O’ Donnell. says:

“For our needs, Loadmaster Lite is simply an unbeatable tipper body. We never need to think that there’s any job above what a Loadmaster can safely handle, so in that sense it’s a supremely versatile, universal solution for each and every requirement that comes along. We also spec our bodies with Thompsons air – operated automatic tailgates, which not only provide real a safety bonus by allowing the drivers to stay inside their cabs but also speeds up the whole tipping process as well.”

The obvious visual features of the N3 specification include a reduced ground clearance over typical off-road (N3G) tippers as well as the rear wheels having four individual mudguards for maximum spray suppression. The new trucks are also fully compliant with the latest Direct Vision requirements shortly coming into force.

Ashvale’s latest tippers also continue the company’s policy of fitting HARSH high stability underfloor tipping gears.

James adds:

“Unlike a front end gear, the HARSH underfloor design has an additional stability frame that keeps the body firmly in line with the chassis when tipping, as a result, the truck is much more stable when the body is raised – a key safety factor when tipping on soft or uneven ground. Axle loads are also optimised with underfloor gears as the body can be brought that bit further forward into the space where a front end tipping gear would be. ”

Providing a complete range of haulage, transport and earthworks services, Ashvale firmly believes that operating top – spec trucks pays real dividends. Now operating some 60 tippers, Ashvale is accredited to the highest FORS Gold standard with all its vehicles also finished to full Crossrail and Chapter 8 signage specifications.

As well as having an extensive ‘Zero Harm’ operating policy, Ashvale also provides regular in – house training for its drivers.

With all 10 of the recently delivered tippers now hard at work, Ashvale has already ordered another 20 similar trucks for delivery towards the end of this year.

Speaking for Thompsons, Joint Managing Director Scott Burton says:

“Our sincere thanks to James and the team at Ashvale for once again choosing Loadmaster for their latest 10 tippers. Achieving significant repeat business like this is the very essence of what Thompsons is all about, and is hence a true reflection of the quality of both our products and our people.

As one of the leading tipper operators in the South East, we look forward to working closely with Ashvale for many years to come.”

Need greater versatility? Thompsons creates bespoke tar bodies for Gem Contracts’ new ’20 reg’ tippers

Tuesday, 17th March 2020

 

The issue: tippers doing tar work need insulated bodies to keep the load hot. Insulation adds weight, so the bodies are constructed not in steel but in lighter aluminium. However, aluminium is less durable than steel, which therefore limits the type of loads that the truck can carry, reducing its operating versatility. So what’s the solution?

Answer – turn to Thompsons.

And that’s exactly what Gary Morgan of GEM Contracts Ltd of Stirling did for his latest two ’20 reg’ Scania G500 tippers.

Gary says,

“If anyone can come up with an ideal tar body, it’s Thompsons. We bought our first body from Thompsons Scotland a couple of years ago, and it’s been absolutely fault – free with zero downtime. It’s been a perfect product for the job, but now we need to take our trucks a stage further to be similarly successful over a wider range of tasks. So we asked David Penman and his team at Thompsons Edinburgh to give us an optimum bodywork solution.”

Which they duly did, producing two carefully reconfigured bodies mounted on a pair of top – spec sleeper cabbed G500 Scania 8×4 chassis. Despite Gary’s new Tarmac – liveried trucks looking very similar to other examples of the genre, their bodies are different in one key area – the inclusion of a 3.2mm thick steel Hardox floor liner that essentially makes them a highly innovative composite design built in both alloy and steel.

Whilst the floor liner adds to the vehicle’s unladen weight, Gary has offset around 240kgs of this by fitting the Scanias with alloy wheels, as well as a lightweight Edbro CX15 front end cylinder. Empty, the trucks tip the scales at a very respectable 12,400 kgs, thereby allowing a carrying capacity of over 19.5 tonnes.

Gary adds,

“Now equally suited to carrying tar, aggregates and heavier stone products, these new Thompsons bodies significantly extend the range of what our trucks can do. What’s ultimately important to us is a tipper’s whole life costs. This latest body spec promises an increased capacity for work over a pure alloy design, but without the risk of extra maintenance costs or unplanned downtime. Residual values are important too, so we are now investing in trucks that should give us the maximum possible return when we come to sell them.

Thompsons Edinburgh really are masters of their craft, and we’ve already ordered a fifth body from them for our next vehicle due for delivery in September. At that point, all our tippers will be 100% Thompsons!”

Speaking for Thompsons Tippers Scotland, factory manager David Penman comments,

“We’re delighted to have come up with an ideal solution for Gary’s needs. These new bodies demonstrate not only how Thompsons continually evolves its products to meet changing patterns of truck operation, but also that we place particular emphasis on working closely with our customers to really understand and deliver on their requirements.”

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.

“We’re back. After all, Thompsons is still the best” says Dave Roberts. Customers now seeing the benefits of Thompsons automation

Monday, 1st July 2019

 

Having recently spent over £4m upgrading its factories, Thompsons is now starting to realise the significant benefits of investing in high technology automated production systems. Particularly notable is that these advances are also being quickly recognised by long – standing customers such as D&E Roberts Ltd of Leatherhead in Surrey.

Director Dave Roberts says:

“We’ve long preferred Thompsons bodies, but in the recent past such was the demand for them that we found their delivery times just getting longer and longer, so regrettably we had to look elsewhere. However, we’ve been impressed by the way Thompsons has really tackled the issue head on by committing to such a large investment programme to boost production capacity in their factories.

As a result, we’ve just taken four new Loadmasters into our fleet, three being standard front end tippers, the fourth a tipper grab. And we can see that the new factory systems are bringing other benefits too, because our new vehicles show that Thompsons product quality is now actually better than ever.”

Key areas of Thompsons’ factory improvements are a new Trumpf 3030 laser cutter installed in the Croydon factory that combines not only higher production levels of many individual body parts, but also delivering these to an even higher standard of quality and accuracy. Of perhaps even greater significance, Thompsons’ northern operation in Blackburn has grown still further with the acquisition of a fourth factory, this site now home to a new, automated robot welding system that can reduce the welding time required for bodysides and tailgates by over 80%.

Also just installed at Site 4 is a brand new Trumpf 8600 brake press to ramp up production of full length bodysides. Additionally, state of the art multi-bay paintshops have also been installed in both Croydon and Blackburn.

Reflecting on the biggest investment programme in Thompsons history, Joint Managing Director Scott Burton says:

“last year, every penny of our profits was put back into the business, plus a lot more money as well. Let no-one be in any doubt that we are fully committed to the long term, and to lead the industry in everything that we do. D&E Roberts has been buying our tipper bodies since the early ’90’s, so we are delighted that customers are now recognising the on-going efforts that we are making to boost production capacity and extend even further our product quality. I thank Dave for his renewed confidence in us.”

The latest four Thompsons tippers in the 20 – strong D&E Roberts fleet are now all hard at work providing additional capacity to meet the ever – rising demand for the company’s tipper services.

All the four trucks are based on high power 450hp DAF CF chassis, the three standard tippers each being fitted with a single – skinned steel Loadmaster Lite body and a front end cylinder to give a highly competitive unladen weight of 12,400kgs. In contrast, the grab truck has the full – spec, heavy duty double – skinned Loadmaster body working in conjunction with a Palfinger Epsilon crane. Each vehicle also features a Thompsons air – operated tailgate.

Dave Roberts sums things up by saying:

“Loadmasters have always been the best tipper bodies out there, and now they’re better than ever. In particular, it’s the final fit and finish that really impresses, not least the outstanding quality of the paint. I’m delighted that Thompsons is once again at the forefront of our fleet.”

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