Falkom from the Netherlands builds three types of recovery vehicles: sliding deck trucks, wreckers and rotators. All of them were present at their open house days, live demonstrations were part of the event. Some of the recovery vehicles must have been finished very recently, as they didn’t have license plates or a livery yet.
Today’s sunny outdoor tour starts with the sliding deck trucks. Falkom offers them with a capacity ranging from 3,000 to 12,000 kg (6,600 to 26,500 lbs).
A Mercedes-Benz Atego 1223 (as in 12 tonnes GVWR, 230 DIN-hp). If a Sprinter is too light for the job, you can go for an Atego. And get a much bigger cab to boot.
All sliding deck trucks also come with a tail lift.
It’s always pleasant and interesting to see how things work. Falkom’s service van, a 2017 Ford Transit Connect 1.5 TDCi, is winched aboard the Atego’s deck.
Barnes from Belgium showed their Mercedes-Benz Axor 1933. An Amco Veba crane is mounted between the cab and the deck. If the winch can’t do the trick, the crane comes to the rescue.
2018 Scania P280 double-decker (Falkom FAS 6000 1+1), owned by the local Scania and Ford dealership.
Kreuzburg from Germany arrived at the show in a Mercedes-Benz Atego 1530 with a Palfinger crane.
Heben, bergen, abschleppen, transportieren. That’s what these guys do for a living.
This MAN TGM 18.320 with a Copma crane hails from Belgium, the kingdom with three official languages: Dutch (the Flemish version), French and German.
A widely used term in Flanders -the truck’s home base- is depannage, clearly derived from the French dépannage. In this context, the recovery of stranded vehicles.
A brand new Mercedes-Benz Actros 1832 with an MKG crane, stretching out. No illegal parking in the background, so no worries.
The Amco Veba crane on this MAN TGM 15.250 was holding up the Barendregt banner. Breezy!
The last of the sliding deck trucks, a 2022 Volvo FM 6×2*4 with an HMF crane. The Volvo has a heavy-duty front axle, rated at 10 tonnes axle load. Wise, with such a beefy crane.
Now we get to the big iron, the mighty wreckers (tow trucks). Available from 3,000 to 30,000 kg lifting capacity.
A Volvo FH with an 8×4 drivetrain, such an axle configuration is the norm these days in the top segment of Euro-wreckers.
I bet you’ve never seen anything like this before. Me neither, actually. A Volvo VT5 8×4 conventional, fully based on the FH-series of cabovers. The conversion is a Vlastuin job, the company is also known for their Scania COE-to-conventional transformations.
It says FH16 on its nose, which means this beast is powered by Volvo’s 16.1 liter inline-six.
A Volvo FMX 8×4, registered curb weight 25,063 kg (55,254 lbs). Weight reduction isn’t high on the priority list in this class of the business.
A Norwegian company ordered this Scania R660 V8 8×4 FAW 25000 wrecker. The recovery of heavy vehicles over there is challenging, to say the least, especially during the long winter seasons.
Plenty of tail lights for sure.
When the going and towing gets really rough, tough and heavy, you opt for drive axles with hub reduction. And how appropriate, Conti Scandinavia tires.
The big Scania still had one, simple task to perform in the Netherlands before it went to Norway. A demonstration of a truck recovery, featuring a DAF XF 370 FA chassis-cab.
First, solid steel pins are screwed into the two exposed holes, left and right.
Then a transverse beam is placed between the pins.
Once everything is attached, the DAF truck has become a full trailer, perfectly following the tow truck’s track.
Of course, lifting the DAF’s front end was a piece of cake, given the wrecker’s capacities. Good luck in Norway! (the DAF stayed home)
Meanwhile, this DAF XF 530 FTG 6×2/4 wrecker had arrived at the scene.
The DAF towed a Hyzon Hymax 250 from Germany. I bet you’ve never seen anything like this before. Me neither, actually. The Hyzon is a hydrogen-powered, fuel cell electric 4×2 tractor (and is clearly based on a DAF CF with a day cab).
Steering lock deactivated, functioning brakes and lighting. A true full trailer, indeed.
And this here is a so called rotator, named after the rotating crane, mounted halfway the truck chassis.
The starting point for this creation was a Volvo FH 8×4 truck chassis.
This MAN TGS 26.430 6×2*4 chassis-cab is about to enjoy a sort of Giant Stride ride (extinct on today’s playgrounds).
No harm was done, there was not even the slightest scratch on the MAN.
I couldn’t take a picture of the entire set-up, but this is how it looks at the top. Quite lonely.
We go out with a piece of nostalgia, a 1969 Scania 110 wrecker. My guess is that the truck got a complete cab of the later 111/141-series. No problem, since the cabs of the 110/140 and 111/141 barely differ from each other.
I admit I’m not too familiar with towing/recovery trucks here in the US, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a sliding deck truck (I usually refer to them as rollback tow trucks) with a crane. In fact, I think it’s pretty uncommon for cranes to be used for vehicle recoveries at all around here. Even in cases where cars over overturned and/or down an embankment or such, I usually see them dragged out with a winch, and then flipped over with more creative winch work. Maybe someone more familiar with recovery services will correct me here, but it seems that cranes are mighty rare.
And those 8×4 heavy-duty wreckers are mighty odd looking. With that extra axle, they look like a distorted Google StreetView image where various images were spliced together, creating a vehicle with an extra axle or something.
…”down an embankment or such”…
Yes, happens quite often here, in one way or another. (photo courtesy of Bergers Centrale Noord B.V.)
8×4 is the standard heavy truck chassis here 6×4 went out of popularity years ago, max GVM of 60Tonnes needs more axles.
Yes, cranes on rollbacks are almost unknown but rotators like the ones above are common and do a lot of the heavy lifting in odd spots. 8×4 is also extremely rare in the US due to axle weight rules. The one example that comes to mind is the planned modification of YouTuber Casey LaDelle’s International with an NRC rollback and wheel lift. He plans to mount a self steering lift axle behind the cab to allow more weight in front when he is moving telehandlers and other machines with rear counterweights.
An 8×4 chassis (like the Herpertz Volvo FH) is rated at 37 tonnes and sometimes even 39 tonnes. The steering axles count as two separate axles thanks to the axle spacing of at least 180 cm between them.
A heavy crane behind the cab also requires frame reinforcement, like an innerliner. Placing an extra axle isn’t enough in that case.
Very nice looking equipment. Could have used the big crane units a few times back in the day.
The job I have has put me among tow trucks twice first the rear diff on the Sterling I drove expired dramatically the noise from it in the cab was really loud I stopped at a service centre rang our mechanic he arrived looked listened and and a tow truck which tured up to tow my truck but first the axles had to be removed then a rigid tanker filled with water arrived to tow my loaded trailer the tow truck could actually tow both but the load had to be delivered enroute and that would be mpossible with three units its tight with just a truck and trailer, everything went smoothly and I was issued the old Freightliner the next day which several moths later lost a set of dual wheels fron the second drive axle that was scary, I managed to get off the road mostly and look about tailshaft turning in gear ok but no drive a look around the other side and the last pair of wheels mere mostly outside the mudguard a two truck rescue again a tow truck to tow the Freightshaker backwards with the rear axles in a cradle and the now revived Sterling to tow the empty trailer, those heavyhaul tow trucks are interesting pieces of kit, Ive had two closeups recently.First encouter was a FM Volvo the second a K200 KW.
I worked in towing/ecovery over 20 years, and know about 75% of the truck owners in your pictures in person, I realized. Towing really is a small world here in the Netherlands.
I don’t know any of them (afkloppen).
CC effect – I saw a Falkom 8×4 Scania (IIRC) tow truck towing a (lifted at the front) 6×4 Volvo tractor and refrigerated semi trailer last week. Amazingly, it was not bright yellow
Impressive pieces of equipment.