MAN TGS Helps Lafarge Go Green

With operations in over 60 countries, Lafarge, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of building materials, exemplifies the forward-thinking multinational organisation committed to creating products, manufacturing processes and supply chain solutions that are economically and ecologically sustainable. The imperative to reduce carbon emissions to help prevent global warming forms a central component of Lafarge’s environmental protection strategy, one which has over the last five years, seen much investment by the organisation into the ‘greening’ of its supply chain.

In South Africa, Lafarge Gypsum SA, a division of Lafarge, runs a fleet of longhaul trucks carrying construction materials such as plasterboard, bagged cement, steel ceiling grids, metal studs and aluminium profiles between Gauteng and all major centres in the country.

According to Richard Nancarrow, Supply Chain Manager, Lafarge Gypsum SA, “Following Lafarge’s research and development work in the United Kingdom (UK) to reduce the environmental impact of its longhaul truck distribution fleet while improving the safety of drivers and ground personnel, Lafarge Gypsum SA has initiated a pilot programme in partnership with MAN Truck & Bus SA and Imperial Group to replicate what is being achieved in the UK fleet. A combination of smart truck and trailer design and comprehensive driver training form the foundation of our ‘green’ transport initiative, one which promises to greatly improve the safety and productivity of our longhaul fleet while significantly reducing its carbon footprint.”

The existing Lafarge Gypsum SA truck fleet is comprised of some 30 truck-trailer combinations, powered predominantly by 6x4 derivatives from MAN. The new ‘green’ fleet will be managed by Imperial and will commence duty this month with the launch of two MAN TGS WW 26.440 truck-tractors pulling the ground-breaking low tare mass ‘teardrop’ trailers fabricated by SA Truck Bodies under licence to UK-based trailer builders, Don-Bur.

“Apart from the fact that we’ve built a strong relationship with MAN over the years, the OEM is internationally recognised for the high safely levels of its standard equipment as well as the industry-leading fuel consumption figures of its TGS WW models. These factors played a significant part in satisfying the stringent safety and efficiency requirements of our ‘green’ fleet specification sheet,” explains Nancarrow.

For MAN Truck & Bus SA, the partnership with Lafarge Gypsum SA and Imperial Group will act as a viable platform to prove the merits of both the TGS WW 26.440 and MAN’s local service/support infrastructure.

Having been involved in the roll-out of the TGS WW for Lafarge’s ‘green’ fleet in South Africa, Ian Carmichael, Sales Support Manager, MAN Truck & Bus SA, states: ”The impressive feature of this exercise for MAN is the fact that the MAN TGS WW is built for African conditions but is perfectly capable of meeting international performance specifications for Health & Safety standards. As more multinational organisations operating in South Africa comply with international Health & Safety and Carbon Emissions Reporting processes, the TGS WW will be a natural first choice for those companies seeking to limit their road fleet carbon footprint. Our partnership with Lafarge and Imperial is the perfect opportunity to set new benchmarks from productivity, fuel economy, safety and environmental perspectives.”

For Bruce Dickson, Deputy CEO, MAN Truck & Bus SA: “MAN is proud to be associated with Lafarge’s ‘green’ project and is committed to providing the fleet with a truck-tractor that assists in meeting their required targets. The TGS WW 26.440 has the necessary technology to be both safe and fuel efficient while MAN’s nation-wide dealer network and support infrastructure will ensure optimum vehicle uptime and lowest total-cost-of-ownership.”

With ‘vehicle productivity’ being a primary driver of the ‘green’ initiative, Lafarge Gypsum SA has focused on optimum vehicle selection to allow for maximum possible payload with the lowest possible fuel consumption.

“The MAN TGS WW 26.440 is a 6x4 440-horsepower truck-tractor with an excellent power-to-weight ratio and is ideally suited to pull our tri-axle semi and interlink teardrop tautliner trailers. The fuel efficiency of the MAN D26 common-rail engine is enhanced by the leading-edge aerodynamics of the teardrop trailer. With comprehensive driver training from MAN and Imperial, we are targeting a 10-12% improvement in fuel consumption and thus, an equivalent reduction of our carbon footprint,” adds Nancarrow.

Both the MAN TGS WW 26.440 and the teardrop curtainsider semi and interlink trailers have been customised to meet Lafarge’s global safety standards. The MAN TGS WW is equipped with reversing alarms and cameras while the trailers are fitted with the Safe Suzie, a hydraulically-mounted suzie coil coupling apparatus that allows the operator to connect the suzie cables from the ground, rather than climbing onto the catwalk between truck and trailer. Along with other vision-enhancing and load securing features, both technologies directly address two of the most common causes of accidents at loading and offloading points.

“The TGS WW is a luxury long-distance vehicle with an exceptionally comfortable and ergonomic sleeper cab. It has several features that help reduce driver fatigue including the MAN TipMatic automated transmission, an intarder and a climate-controlled cab with an air-sprung driver seat. Road safety is also significantly enhanced by the TGS’s ABS (anti-lock braking system), ASR (anti-spin regulator), ESP (electronic stability programme) and hill-start assist technologies,” says Nancarrow.

Integral to the ‘green’ fleet initiative is the understanding that professional driver behaviour is ‘the key’ success ingredient, Nancarrow explains: “we have deployed the very best truck and trailer technologies that have the potential to meet our productivity and environmental objectives, but they’re only as good as the competency level of the driver. With the help of MAN Driver Training who will benchmark performance standards, our drivers are now fully conversant with the various fuel-saving and safety features of the TGS WW and Imperial’s ongoing driver training will ensure consistent driver efficiency.”

Expected to travel some 18 000km per month, the two Lafarge ‘TGS-Teardrop’ rigs will boast a payload efficiency improvement of around four tons on the interlink trailer and an impressive five tons on the semi-trailer.

“Our strategy now is to use specific combinations for specific applications and the two teardrop trailers behind the MAN TGS WW 26.440 give us the required flexibility. It has taken us close on two years to get to the launch phase of our ‘green’ initiative and we believe we have a best-of-breed mix of technology and skills that will deliver greater productivity by being able to move more product with less fuel,” concludes Nancarrow.