King of the hill
Truck & Driver|August 2021
Moving heavy equipment off road calls for a truck with plenty of power and traction, which is why M&J Plant chose a mighty 6x4 FH16 750
Dougie Rankine

This big Volvo is the result of the continual evolution of M&J Plant’s business. The South Wales-based operator moves both its own equipment and that of a wide range of customers. Established in 1990 M&J’s truck fleet includes eight-wheeler tippers, road sweepers, rigid plant haulers and artic low-loaders.

Boss Kevan set the company up in 1990, initially concentrating purely on plant equipment, and he had a number of JCB 3CXs. His first truck was purchased in 1996 to help move the plant around, a Volvo FL6 which Kevan drove himself. Bigger trucks were acquired in due course, with a pair of FL10s bought in and then a FH midlift, then a tag. “I’ve always liked Volvos, they’re good to drive and reliable too” says Kevan. The company bought new premises in New Tredegar in 2000, then an additional site in Merthyr Tydfil in February 2021.

Today, the firm employs almost 60 people, with a number who have been there for over 25 years. “We have a fantastic group of loyal employees” he tells us, “and we’re really grateful to them, we’ve got to where we are today thanks to good people.”

Working alongside Kevin is his wife Diane plus a team of loyal and committed office staff. M&J’s customers includes house builders, civil engineering contractors and other plant hire companies. They’ve attained the FORS Bronze accreditation too.

The tractor unit fleet consists of three FHs. “I prefer to spec the flat-roof FH, as it’s ideal for our work – we don’t want too tall a cab for going down lanes with overhanging tree branches and so on” he explains. “We did have a FM bought used; at the time there wasn’t a suitable FH available. Mechanically the FM fitted the bill so we went for it.”

Their first tractor unit arrived on Kevan’s 54th birthday in April 2015; a FH 540 tag rated to 80 tonnes. It’s a truck which is much loved, to the extent that Kevan says he’ll never sell it, when it gets retired from service, he’s going to put it into preservation, alongside his burgeoning collection of classic plant. Having the truck rated to STGO Cat II meant that new avenues of work opened up to the company, and the FH 540 proved to be a great success.

At a glance

Make & Model Volvo FH16 6x4 150 tonne

Engine DC16 16-litre six-cylinder Euro 6

Power 750hp @ 1500-1900rpm

Torque 3500Nm @ 1000-rpm

Gearbox I-Shift 12-speed automated manual with crawler gears

Operator M&J Plant, South Wales

Going large

“When we bought the FH 540, I thought there was no way we’d ever go for a bigger truck, but as the business has continued to develop, it’s turned out that we did” he smiles. With the opportunity to move increasingly large equipment, Kevin looked into the next step up – the mighty FH16. “It’s a 150-tonner. To begin with I enquired about a truck rated to 125 tonnes, but when it came to speccing it up, the 150 came in at pretty much the same money.”

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