In September, 2012, Volvo Trucks re-launched the Volvo FH with significant technology upgrades
In late 1993 Volvo had unveiled its replacement for the legendary F cabover series in production for almost 15 years. The development of FH in what it appeared to be a clean sheet of paper design took seven long years. The development of the all-new design 12 litre engine with its overhead camshaft and electronic unit injectors technology placed Volvo among the world’s leading engine designers.
There were two models, FH12 and FH16 which shared common cabs and chassis and the FH12 immediately won “Truck of the year” award in 1994. The 16 litre engine, gearboxes and the driveline were carried over from previous generation albeit with many improvements and the host of additional features including all new Volvo engine management and its diagnostics for the D12A engine.
The cab produced at Umeå from hot dip galvanized, high tensile steel allowed for greater strength at thinner panels and box sections while reducing overall weight. The new FH cab was a logical progression from, for its days spacious but boxy F series cab to more aerodynamically efficient, with much improved ergonomics and much better seating unit while reducing overall weight of the cab by almost 30%. The cabin was extensively tested in a wind tunnel to confirm shape aerodynamics properties to reduce air-drag thus improving fuel efficiency. The cab featured more sharply raked windscreen while wedge shaped sides rounded into front panel at much wider radius corners and the rear vision mirrors were also streamlined. The cabin was subject to the toughest cab impact test where procedure involved placing a 15 tonne static weight on the roof and one tonne pendulum striking at the cab rear wall and at the windscreen pillars, at the end of which the cab doors must be able to be opened. In 1995 Volvo FH series became first heavy duty truck to be fitted with a SRS airbag to further improve passive safety
From the design angle the new D12A engine was one of the largest engine projects from Volvo Trucks since the 1950s at the time. The basic design was still based on direct injection in-line six diesel engine around 12 litres displacement but with entirely different fuel and valve systems when compared with previous Volvo engines. Built at the purpose-built facility at Skövde on a fully automated line where the bulk of the engine assembly is done by robots and the final engine dressing is carried out manually. The D12A was designed as a “world engine” to be able to meet the latest demands in high power output, low fuel consumption and lower emissions with its single OHC (overhead camshaft) design, four valves per cylinder and one centrally located electronic unit injector, integrated engine compression brake and two-piece, steel and aluminium pistons. The engine design left the door open for future upgrades in both power output and emission technologies. +++++
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