The Magazine for LCV Fleet Operators
SMUK managing director Steve MacDonald talks through racking design. Vans that are ready to work

SMUK managing director Steve MacDonald talks through racking design.

The past 18 months have seen the fleet manager’s job get much harder. Not only are they responsible for keeping vehicles road-legal and mobile engineers fit to drive, but they must also ensure the payload they carry is lawful and secure. This means checking the vehicle’s roadworthiness, it’s gross vehicle weight (GVW) and the weight per axle. 

With the DVSA looking to deploy more Mobile Inspection Units (MIU), it will soon have the ability to rapidly set up and inspect at various locations across the UK.

Marian Kitson, DVSA director of enforcement, said: “The mobile inspection unit provides us with an opportunity to be even more agile and focused on our targeting of dangerous drivers and vehicles.”

That’s only half the story.

“The load and the weight of the racking system all add to the weight of the vehicle, as does the equipment and consumables you carry,” said Steve MacDonald, MD of SMUK. “And that is especially the case at 3.5 tonnes. Payload is a real issue.”

But saving weight doesn’t necessarily mean making storage fittings from aluminium rather than steel. System Edstrom makes extensive use of ultra-high-strength steel. It’s more expensive than mild steel, but four times stronger, so less is used and it lasts longer. “Strength and longevity are two big reasons why we use and endorse System Edstrom,” said MacDonald.

With all conversions, a discovery meeting is essential. “It starts with a simple discussion and an understanding of what it’s like to walk in the footsteps of your engineers,” said MacDonald.

“To see what they see, to live their day is part of what makes the solution so much more real.”

One in three of SMUK’s discovery meetings indicate that one recuring issue is hoarding. “Our design engineers have found that on average, mobile engineers carry around 30% of stuff in their vans that they really don’t need,” he added.

This begs the question of how often a fleet manager inspects the engineer’s van. SMUK creates detailed 3D drawings showing the ergonomic design of the racking and where best to create useful storage solutions. The process can be complicated, as it needs to ensure the safe carrying of hazardous materials and equipment.

Another big reason for using System Edstrom is that all of its racking is crash-tested, with a priority to make sure that if your engineer has a crash, the items will stay where they need to.

“In a 31mph crash, a screwdriver weighing 200g can hit your mobile engineer, sat in the front seat, at a collision weight of 8kg,” said MacDonald.

Safety has been a hallmark of SMUK and the reason it installs System Edstrom’s comprehensive range of storage solutions. What’s more, the latest crash tests at RISE Research Institute in Sweden, complied with the INRS NS 286 standard applied to all of its van racking solutions.

SM UK has extensive experience building van-racking solutions: including lighting, shelves, drawers, and other practical van accessories. In addition to its standard racking options, SMUK offers extras such as onboard power and driver safety cameras. The company can provide van conversions for all of the major van brands, including Ford, VW, Citroen and Mercedes-Benz.

“We not only endorse System Edstrom, but also work closely with them to provide a well-planned, ergonomic van shelving system that can make a work day more efficient, save your team valuable time on a job, reduce payload, as well as reducing fuel costs,” said MacDonald.

Customers appreciate every detail in the van. With the recent acquisition of a new 40,000sq ft workshop in Leeds, plus workshops in Dartford and Tamworth, SMUK can now offer incredible lead times and superior van conversion.

MacDonald concluded: “Our Turn-Key solution has now become a popular choice, as we take the whole project from van purchase to full conversion including wrapping where necessary. At SMUK our vans are ready to work.”