As those working in the industry will tell you, haulage jobs rarely start and end with the work itself. A career in haulage is frequently underpinned by, and in turn reinforces, a deep love of the road and the ins and outs of HGVs. |
Those who take a special interest in the technical workings of lorries will want to look into The Iron Knight, the spectacular new development by Volvo Trucks. Initially built as a tech demo for Volvo Trucks’ flagship I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission, The Iron Knight, with the legendary Boije Ovebrink at the wheel, has smashed the truck speed records in both the 500-metre and 1,000-metre categories.
Those employed in haulage jobs will know that over the past few decades, newer generation HGVs have developed rapidly. These typically offer improvements in fuel efficiency and safety, but some are nimbler and quicker than their ancestors. The Iron Knight represents the latest in these advancements, and its lighter frame and monstrous engine have propelled it to victory over the previously set records. The Iron Knight currently holds both the 500-metre record (at 13.71 seconds) and the 1,000-metre record (21.29 seconds). This is a significant improvement on the previous 1,000-metre record, also set by Boije Overbrink.
The Iron Knight operates on a very similar powertrain to what you’d find in an ordinary Volvo HGV, but with myriad modifications aimed at squeezing every last bit of power out of that engine. Said engine is a mid-mounted turbocharged D13, capable of producing an eye-watering 2,400 horsepower and 6,000 newton metres of torque.
The gearbox is the same as what you’d have in a road-going Volvo equipped with an I-Shift Dual Clutch Transmission, apart from a reinforced clutch (a standard one would never be able to take the torque), and is notable in that, when changing gear, it never ceases in applying torque to the drive wheel. In this way, the engine’s power is brought to the road even during gear changes. It accomplishes this by having two clutches, and assigning each gear to a different clutch in alternating fashion. In this way, rather than having to disengage and re-engage, with a moment of wasted time and energy in-between, one clutch can disengage while the other one simultaneously engages the next gear.
The rest of the vehicle has been built from scratch, with a sleek, aerodynamic exterior. Careful design and innovative construction, from lightweight materials such as fibreglass, make it a very lightweight vehicle. Those who like to bring a bit of grunt to their haulage jobs will be pleased to hear that The Iron Knight reached 60mph in a spectacular 4.6 seconds during the world record attempt, maxing out at 172mph.
At time of writing, the world records are being reviewed. Whether accepted or not, they represent an enormous feat of engineering, and we hope that they will inspire the construction of even speedier, more powerful vehicles.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage jobs with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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