Johnston Sweepers is meeting rising demand for sleeper cabs

Most road sweepers in the UK are mounted on day cabs but demand for sleeper cabs has progressively increased over the past nine years.  Since 2010, the number of sleeper cabs onto which Johnston Sweepers has built has risen significantly, going from relatively small numbers up into the hundreds since 2017.

The increased requirement for sleeper cabs demonstrates the big changes in the operated hire business during this decade – and it has also given Johnston a high level of knowledge and experience in the field of mounting onto sleeper cabs for the UK market.

So, what you should look out for when choosing your sleeper cab sweeper…?

There are three main players in the Johnston factory – Volvo, Scania and MAN. Scania is the most popular sleeper cab chosen by Johnston customers, the latest generation Scania truck prompting a significant increase in orders. The P cab chassis is the only cab chassis that onto which Johnston can mount a sweeper with a direct vision 3* rating. This is important when the direct vision standard is introduced from 26 October 2024, banning all HGV chassis over 12tons with a 0-2 direct vision standard that can’t demonstrate a progressive safe system.

The payload of the Scania chassis has an advantage over its Volvo counterpart. Of the Scania chassis weighed, the P cab had an approximate payload of 5,950kg, the G cab 6050kg, and the R Cab 6100kg, showing that the heavier cabs offer a slightly better payload as they lift weight off the rear axle. The G and R cabs have a zero direct vision rating but do look very good with a VT802 sweeper mounted on the back. 

The Scania truck has numerous options, as wide ranging as the Volvo FM with fridges, high cabs, extra storage, microwaves, alloy wheels and lots of lighting options. Paint options and XT packs also add a little extra robustness to the look of the Scania trucks. With an automated gearbox as standard and the Johnston 190litre fuel tank, it’s a great chassis for long working hours and for working away.  All the Scania chassis can be fitted with air suspension, front and rear if required, and weight load indicators can be added for a more accurate rear axle weights, reducing the risk of operating overloaded.

Volvo offers two full sleeper cabs and Johnston has wide experience of both. The FE is a competitively priced chassis and can be supplied as a day cab or sleeper, the wheelbase staying the same. With an automated gearbox, or option of the Alison 3500 series gearbox, large rear fuel tanks of 190litres and good side window option for improved direct vision, the FE is a good sleeper cab. It does not have a fridge option, though, and there is less storage than the FM, but it does look a handsome cab. 

The FM, the other sleeper cab offered by Volvo, is the chassis cab many operators aspire to drive and is the most popular Volvo sleeper cab Johnston builds on. With several options, such as FMX and Globetrotter, the FM offers a high level of luxury with lots of driver comfort options such as fridge, microwave, TV and coffee machines, making it a good chassis for drivers spending all week away on sweeping jobs.

The FM looks good too, and is supplied with a 12-speed automated gearbox which allows slow speed sweeping and good economy at 56mph. 

Although MAN is not as widely used as the other brands in the UK, the sleeper cab options are popular with several customers in the UK owing to the competitive price and the roominess inside. With all the options available on the sleeper cabs, including highline, fridge, and extra storage, along with 12 speed automated gearboxes, MAN’s popularity in the UK can only grow. 

Mercedes also offers a sleeper cab truck and Johnston has successfully supplied several VT802 sweepers in the European market, and is awaiting orders for the UK. 

DAF has not sweeper-packed a sleeper cab chassis yet, but a VT802 mounted on a LF comfort cab can accommodate a fold down bed and offers a very compact wheel base of 3750mm whilst still getting a great payload of 6260kg on the LF 18ton truck.

So, there are plenty of options for the growing sleeper cab sweeper market. Johnston is ready with advice if required, drawing on its experience of producing sweepers on sleeper cabs over many years. Which will you choose…? 

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