Co-op’s new Gray & Adams Dolphin

Fraserburgh, Scotland: The Co-operative Group is among the first to take Gray & Adams‘s new aerodynamic truck body launched this month.

The new body is called the Dolphin, named because its streamlined profile is reminiscent of dolphins often see in the waters of the Moray Firth, close to Gray & Adams’ Fraserburgh headquarters.

The Co-Op is the first customer to take Gray & Adams new aerodynamic truck body launched this month

It is designed to maximise fuel-efficiency and so cut CO2 emissions, and uses all-new leading-edge cappings that follow the 3D curvature of the roof, and a vortex generator to smooth the airflow around the back of the vehicle.

The Co-operative’s two Dolphins were built at Gray & Adams’ Dunfermline factory and fitted to 26-tonne Scania chassis with roof-mounted, adjustable air deflectors by Hatcher Components.

The Carrier Supra 950 refrigeration unit is mounted above the cab roof. Although the body’s roofline tapers towards the rear of the truck, there is still sufficient interior space to accommodate roll cages used by The Co-Op to transport frozen and chilled product. The reduced roof height also cuts energy by reducing loadspace.

Both vehicles are based at the Co-operative Group regional distribution centre in Avonmouth to supply smaller stores in the South-West.

Ken Thompson, logistics service transport fleet manager for the Co-operative Group, says: “We’re always keen to explore any opportunities to cut costs, especially our fuel bill, while at the same time reducing our carbon footprint and improving our environmental profile.

“The new Dolphin represents a very exciting development. These vehicles are certainly turning heads and we will be monitoring their performance in terms of fuel efficiency with great interest over the coming months.”

Thompson runs a fleet of around 2,700 rigid trucks, tractor units and trailers that service The Co-operative Group’s 4,000-plus stores from 12 regional distribution centres.

Gray & Adams is a long-term supplier and all insulated bodywork and trailers it manufactures for the Co-Op are made using GRP panels impregnated with the operator’s corporate shade of green, so that minor accident damage is not obviously visible.

This year’s orders have included batches of bodies for 14-, 18- and 26-tonne rigids, single- and double-deck 13.6m trailers, and 8.3m and 10.5m command steer urban trailers.

In another new development Gray & Adams has also just delivered several 15.65m semi-insulated dry freight trailers, which the Co-Op runs as part of the Department for Transport-backed trial of longer semi-trailers.  These trailers are based in Coventry and deliver to stores in Leicester and Ipswich that cannot be accessed by double-deckers because of local height restrictions.  The 15.65m trailer can accommodate up to 60 roll cages, still well shy of the 81 that can be carried on a double-decker, but a useful 17.6% increase on the 51-cage capacity of a single-deck 13.6m trailer.

“Our equipment has to be able to withstand the rigours of a very intensive, seven-day delivery operation. Experience has shown that Gray & Adams’ products give us a high degree of reliability with very little downtime for seven, eight and sometimes up to 10 years,” Thompson says.

“Gray & Adams will also customise their designs to meet the precise requirements of our operation. And while we get very few issues with their equipment, when these have arisen the response has always been first class. They are very proactive when it comes to diagnosing a problem and providing a solution.”