Diab Divinycell Nilsson Ambulance XC90

The Nilsson XC90 ambulance - powerful & ergonomic

12 October, 2017

What happens when you take Volvo’s new success SUV XC90 and give it to Nilsson Special Vehicles? It is transformed into a powerful ambulance, more ergonomic than previous models.

Special vehicles
Nilsson Special Vehicles, based in Laholm, Sweden, is one of Europe’s leading builders of special purpose vehicles. Established in 1945, it produces limousines, ambulances and hearses. 

Replacing old models with Volvo XC90
The ambulances manufactured at Nilsson Special Vehicles today are based on the Mercedes Sprinter and Volvo XC70, with four-wheel drive and increased ground clearance. They are currently being replaced by the successful Volvo XC90, offering the same features but with the added benefit of bigger box volume, hence improving the working conditions for the staff. The XC90 is highly appreciated by most markets and has won several prestigious awards from all over the world. The main markets for the new ambulance are Sweden and Norway, but there might be possibilities for expansion into other European countries.

Safety and work environment
The body for both the old and the new ambulances is manufactured by Faiber Komposit, a Swedish-based company specialized in composite materials, in close cooperation with Nilsson Special Vehicles. The Nilsson XC90 ambulance project was launched in June 2016 and since then a number of tests for the new prototypes have been carried out. Focus areas have been safety and the work environment. The wheelbase has been extended by one meter, which is the standard size for the current Nilsson XC70 ambulance, as well. However, the box is 11 cm wider, 26 cm taller and 15 cm longer. Utilizing all possible space, the interior has been made as compact as possible. The idea is that the ambulance staff should be able to easily reach all necessary equipment while belted in. Ergonomic improvements, such as a low entry height and an electrical stretcher, minimize the need for heavy lifting.

Light and spacious
Advanced technology and lightweight performance are trademarks for Nilsson’s vehicles. When making all the necessary adjustments, the focus is on producing a light and spacious vehicle without compromising the structural strength that is necessary for the heavy “on-board” equipment. With a combination of advanced sandwich composite materials and the usage of RTM (resin transfer molding), Nilsson can offer a light-weight ambulance with maintained strength and greater stiffness.

CNC-produced kits for faster manufacturing
As with the Nilsson XC70 model, the complete module is produced from carbon fiber skins over grooved and perforated Divinycell cores to facilitate resin transfer. To speed up the manufacturing process and optimize laminate quality, the Diab core is supplied in ready-to-use CNC-produced kits. With the RTM process, which comprises a female mold and counter mold, the component is self-finished on both sides, thereby minimizing any subsequent finishing operations.

Flexibility and speed in the process

By producing the module using a completely separate production process rather than building the module directly onto the vehicle chassis, Nilsson has increased the flexibility of its production process and reduced the time that a vehicle chassis needs to be at its facility. The investment seems to have paid off, since Nilsson recently was awarded a contract for veterinarian vehicles for Jordbruksverket (Swedish Board of Agriculture) and a preliminary agreement to deliver ambulances to the Health Care District Västra Götalandsregionen.