What Van? Awards 2016 Van Converter: VFS

Date: Tuesday, December 15, 2015   |   Author: Steve Banner

It is not hard to see why What Van?'s knowledgeable readers voted in favour of VFS receiving our top Conversions award for 2016.

Although perhaps best-known for its tippers, it also supplies dropside, Luton, curtain and box bodies to a wide variety of customers including Ford. Its one- and three-way tippers for example are included in the Big Blue Oval's One Stop approved conversions programme.

VFS tends to favour a five-stage under-floor tipping ram which it says is far more powerful and reliable than conventional scissor-lift tipping gear. It installs sequential hydraulic tipper body lock down which ensures stability if a tail lift is to be fitted and used.

Quality standards at VFS are uniformly high. An ISO/TS 16949 accredited company, it also complies with the automotive industry's QS9000 standard for Tier 1 suppliers.

Unlike the vast majority of other UK light commercial body builders, VFS enjoys the backing of an industry giant. It is an offshoot of big-volume body builder Scattolini, which has its main plant not far from Verona in Italy and specialises in building on chassis grossing at up to 5.0 tonnes.

Scattolini has subsidiary assembly facilities in Germany, France and Spain too as well as in Britain. Having the backing of a major parent means that VFS can tap into extensive research, development and testing facilities.

As well as building for Ford, VFS's client list includes Nissan and Vauxhall. It supplies tippers and dropsides to both manufacturers; ten VFS tippers with high-strength floors and steel sides using Nissan's NT400 Cabstar 4.5-tonner as a platform were delivered to a local authority in Northern Ireland earlier this year (2015).

Gross payload capacity for this model ranges from 2.2 to 2.3 tonnes depending on the exact specifications.

An approved Vauxhall conversion, the Movano-based tipper from VFS employs powder-coated high-strength steel resulting in an optimised payload and the aforementioned five-stage ram linked to a 2kW electrohydraulic power pack. It can be operated by means of a cab-mounted spiral wander lead and the body can be specified on either front- or rear-wheel-drive models.

On an L2 H1 front-wheel-drive 3500 3.5-tonner it delivers a payload of around 1.1 tonnes. It is also worth noting that the tipper body can be fitted to double-cab Movanos which can be made the subject of a utility cab conversion.

This involves taking out the rear seats, fitting a bulkhead and blanking out the rear windows with aluminium sheet. Doing so creates a reasonably-secure area in which power tools and other easily-stolen items can be stowed.

The VFS Movano tipper can be ordered as a cage tipper, with a 500kg capacity dump-over tail-lift and with a selection of beacons, light-bars and tool boxes.

More recently VFS has got involved in bodying Master chassis cabs as tippers - they boast a payload capability of up to 1.3 tonnes - dropsides and Lutons for the Ready for Business approved conversions programme now being rolled out by Renault Trucks.

The dropside offers a 1.3 tonne or thereabouts payload capability at 3.5 tonnes gross, comes with six internal tie-down points and sides and a tailboard made from anodised aluminium. Maximum body length is 4.4m and the corner pillars are removable.

With a 20cu/m cargo area and a payload capacity of approximately a tonne on a 3.5-tonne gross weight chassis, the Luton comes with an aluminium rear roller shutter door. The lock has an internal release so that anybody inside the load area will not end up being trapped.


Did you know...?

VFS's parent company Scattolini builds over 200 bodies daily at its main factory in Italy.


Highly Commended


Bott receives our Highly Commended conversions award, again as the consequence of a vote by readers; a tribute to its competence in a highly-competitive market.

With UK sites in Bude, Cornwall, Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire and Cumbernauld in Scotland, it is well-known for the high-quality van load area storage systems it supplies to customers all over the UK. Its products have been extensively and independently crash-tested and can be durable enough to last for two vehicle life-cycles says the manufacturer.

Bott's racking and associated units are made from a well-judged mixture of steel, including galvanised steel, and aluminium with an eye to both strength and lightness. Offered at an affordable price, some of its storage systems can be installed at home by a competent tradesmen in as little as 60 minutes; with no drilling required.



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