CC Global: Volvo FM 6×4 Tractor And Nooteboom Semi Low Loader – Heavy Haulage Heavyweights

Speaking of heavy haulage heavyweights, the Van der Vlist company is one of Europe’s market leaders in this line of business. Their orange Volvos are roaming the whole continent. Here’s one of them, a 2016 Volvo FM 6×4 tractor, towing a 2016 Nooteboom semi low loader.

The rather compact combination, with 8 axles, is rated at a maximum GVM of 92 metric tons (202,825 lbs). That’s about twice the weight (!) of a common, equally sized big rig.

The FM-series is Volvo’s mid-size model, with a lower cab than the top dog FH-series. Nonetheless, this one is equipped with a 510 DIN-hp, 12.8 liter inline-6 engine. Logically, this power unit and other Volvo diesels are also used by the truck maker’s subsidiaries Renault and Mack.

In heavy haulage, there’s a good reason to use a tractor with a low cab and low roof, even for long distance trips. As you can see, a heavy duty rack is mounted on the front side of the semi-trailer, so that a boom of a crane (or something else with great length) can rest on it. That’s not an option though if you have a tractor with a towering cab…

This must be the largest, single unit, side mounted fuel tank I ever saw.

The Nooteboom MPL-85-05v is an extendable semi low loader. In this context, semi means that it’s not as low as a “genuine” low loader, since the axles are placed underneath the cargo bed, instead of behind (also often in front of) the bed. What we have here is a half low loader, so to speak.

Today’s load -a piece of cake for the rig- is a Volvo ECR235EL crawler excavator. Brand new, judging by the plastic covers in its cab.

Swing axles with dual wheels on the Nooteboom.

Each axle has a maximum axle load of 12 metric tons. Without the steering system, maneuverability and tire wear would be completely unacceptable.

I already mentioned the rig’s 92 metric tons GVM. That’s simply the sum of the axle loads: 32 metric tons (9.0 – 11.5 – 11.5) for the Volvo tractor, 60 metric tons (5 x 12.0) for the Nooteboom semi low loader. According to its registration, the Nooteboom’s maximum payload capacity is 65,120 kg (143,565 lbs).

Volvo has become the preferred choice among Dutch heavy haulers. The truck maker builds very powerful heavy tractors, up to 750 DIN-hp, with 3, 4 or even 5 axles. The Swedes also offer their own, excellent automatic transmission with crawler gears, ideal for these jobs.

Coming up soon, another brute of a Volvo tractor, hauling a machine in a different shade of yellow.