Good reliability prompts new orders from A V Dawson


A V Dawson Ltd, the Middlesbrough-based multimodal logistics provider, has chosen two new Volvo L220H loading shovels for one of its latest contracts handling imported gypsum and loading trains from its newly built rail head.

The new L220H loading shovels have been purchased as part of a significant development programme that A V Dawson has been engaged upon with up to £20m invested in the last nine years and a further £12m planned for the next 12 months. This has seen some considerable diversification for the family-run Teesside company, now celebrating its 80th anniversary, with the third generation of the Dawson family. The range of products the company now handles, either arriving or leaving the quayside at the company’s extensive premises and port facilities, has grown extensively. This includes steel, timber, scrap metal, bulked and bagged commodities, to name a few.

Recently, A V Dawson announced landing a significant contract by British Gypsum, Saint Gobain, to import and distribute gypsum in bulk via rail from its Teesside hub. This has involved building a bespoke covered area where trains with up to 66 containers will be loaded by the newly acquired machines.

Opting for the Volvo brand was down to one basic fact – in the past, Volvo loading shovels had proved their worth when the company was heavily reliant on the fertilizer and potash industries in and around the north-east of England, according to Managing Director, Gary Dawson. “Going back some years we specialised in handling bulk cargos of fertilizer as well as potash and similar materials.  This meant we were handling very corrosive material that was detrimental to the equipment but we found that our Volvo shovels were the most adept at handling it being simply due to the build quality of the machines, especially in the area of the electrical circuits and looms, reversible fans and wide core radiators. That in-built quality still exists today which was the basic driver for us choosing the L220’s,” Gary says.

The 32-tonne loading shovels have been specified according to the work they will undertake – loading rail containers with bulk gypsum. This includes Michelin L4 tyres to minimize wear whilst working on concreted surfaces; Turbo II pre cleaners; reversible fans and wide core radiators. Whilst the machines will be used for loading gypsum predominantly, other materials will ultimately be handled as A V Dawson diversifies further in the future. To this end, the machines have been supplied with hydraulic attachment brackets to facilitate the interchangeability between large capacity 8m³ hi tip buckets and smaller capacity general purpose buckets for handling materials with higher densities.

“We did our homework and established that the L220H with its 8m³ bucket could load 17-tonnes in just two passes which is crucial with just a four-hour window to load and dispatch a train,” says Gary Dawson. “Having two machines with the same specification means loading can be easily accomplished in the allotted time span whereas we could have been struggling, opting for slightly smaller machines. The extra reach we can achieve with the machines also means we can load containers parked on the adjacent track.”

Developing 373hp in a relatively low rpm range, the 13-litre Stage-IV Volvo engine coupled with Volvo designed and manufactured powertrain components are the significant features found on the L220H. This, along with other fuel saving devices such as Optishift with torque converter lock-up, the reverse-by-braking feature and the Volvo Eco-pedal encouraging the operator to run the machine at its optimum rpm in the engine’s torque curve, make this a highly efficient and productive loading shovel in its size class.

The new arrivals join some older Volvo L150F loading shovels which have proved very reliable throughout their working life at A V Dawson, with one unit clocking up 16,000+ hours on its original powertrain components. Emphasising some of the safety aspects of the Volvo product, Gary Dawson is keen to draw a comparison between Volvo’s and SMT’s core values with those of A V Dawson which are Safety, Integrity, Family and Resourcefulness, maximising the potential of its employees and business for the prosperity of its customers and the wider community. “Aligning ourselves with equipment from manufacturers and suppliers who share the same ethos in what we do is very important to our long-term strategy,” says Gary.

AV Dawson is a multimodal logistics provider offering services including road transport; rail freight; quayside loading and unloading as well as warehousing and storage, all from its Teesside hub. With a dynamic road fleet, a choice of rail terminals and shipping berths the company provides effective and cost efficient solutions for the transportation of a variety of conventional and project cargos.


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