The Volvo FMX celebrates 10 years of driving in harsh conditions
In 2010 Volvo Trucks introduced the Volvo FMX – a truck specifically developed for the demanding construction industry. Its ability to cope with tough conditions has evolved over the years as a result of the introduction of many innovative features. After a decade in the mud, it has a solid reputation as one of the toughest construction trucks on the market.
Before the launch of the Volvo FMX, different variants of the Volvo FM and Volvo FH were used in the construction industry. In 2010 many years of feedback from customers led to the successful launch of a Volvo truck developed specifically for construction work.
The Volvo FMX made its inroad into the Malaysian market in 2014. Since then it has been the top selling model not just in the construction segment, but also widely used in logging, mining and agriculture (CPO tanker) sector, to handle the tough operating conditions and demanding transport assignments. The Volvo FMX 6X4 is the most sought-after model after the Volvo FM series.
“The Volvo FMX was a game changer and it soon became very popular among both haulage operators and drivers for its powerful performance and versatility in handling rough road conditions,” says Mitch Peden, Managing Director of Volvo Trucks Malaysia.
Designed for rough road conditions
The robust modern exterior of the first Volvo FMX, which clearly showed the truck’s relationship with Volvo Construction Equipment machines, was an attractive feature. The functionality of the Volvo FMX included a strong towing eye, headlamp protection, new anti-slip steps and a handy ladder. With a three-piece steel bumper, corners made from 3-mm-thick steel, a solid crankcase protection plate and a protective bullbar, this was a sturdy construction truck.
The tough got tougher after only three years
Only three years after the introduction of the Volvo FMX, Volvo Trucks released a new version. The cab was modified and all the components in the front structure were redesigned. New air suspension gave an increased ground clearance of 300 mm. The towing eye could now tow up to 32 tons.
With the immediate success of the Volvo FMX, so Volvo Trucks launched a new version as early as 2013. It was an even more robust solution for challenging construction environments. This is also the version that was introduced to the Malaysian market.
I-Shift gearbox for heavy loads
Volvo I-Shift gearbox maximises performance and efficiency by monitoring and responding to vehicle mass, road inclination, speed and acceleration. The I-Shift gearbox allows the Volvo FMX to handle tough and hilly terrain with high levels of productivity and driver comfort. Coupled to a Volvo diesel engine, it reduces fuel consumption by up to 5% compared to a manual gearbox.
The Volvo FMX with Hub reduction can support the maximum axle load of 33 tons and the combination weight of 120 tons. The truck is fitted with reduction gears in each hub. The hub reduction gears reduce loads on the driveline so that tractive effort can be transferred to the ground without wheel slip, giving excellent grip and very low tyre wear.
“The hub reduction is perfect for construction work. It provides good grip when the surface is slippery, which result in higher truck productivity” says Peden, Managing Director of Volvo Trucks Malaysia.
Tandem Axle Lift
In 2018, Kotamas Oil Sdn Bhd, a specialist in petroleum haulage from Sabah added 15 units of custom-made Volvo FMX 6X4 with tandem axle lift feature into their fleet. Tandem Axle Lift is designed for operations where the driver drives heavily loaded in one direction and empty in the other. With the push of a button on the dashboard, the driver can disengage and raise the drive axle to improve fuel efficiency by up to 4% on average. As soon as the truck is loaded, the drive axle automatically lowers and engages to ensure maximum traction and driveability. Kotamas was the first in Malaysia who acquired this technology into the Volvo FMX to address the demanding hilly and rough road condition in Sabah. Through this, the fuel consumption has also improve remarkably by 15 to 20 percent.
"The Tandem Axle Lift is a perfect fit for customers who travel regularly on rough terrain. This is especially true for customers based in East Malaysia where roads are riddled with pot holes and sometimes not tarred, uneven and hilly. It provides better traction, and helps to reduce tyre wear and tear and more importantly, saves cost," says Peden.
The innovative features of the Volvo FMX have been presented in many YouTube videos:
Look Who's Driving
Four-year-old Sophie remotely controls the Volvo FMX, thanks to Volvo Dynamic Steering.
Volvo Trucks' former CEO Claes Nilsson illustrates the power of the towing eye of the Volvo FMX.
This video demonstrates the ground clearance of the Volvo FMX.
A hamster controls a Volvo FMX, thanks to Volvo Dynamic Steering.
The Epic Split
Volvo Dynamic Steering became well-known throughout the world following the stunt by Jean-Claude Van Damme, who performs an epic split between two reversing Volvo FM trucks. The video, which has almost one hundred million views on YouTube, is regarded by many as one of the best commercials ever made.