Mercedes Arocs 3246 Crane Truck
Mercedes Arocs 3246 Crane Truck with Beavertail Body

Mercedes-Benz trucks are taking over at Bristol-based heavy plant and machinery mover, Plant Speed.  Thanks to a concerted effort at Mercedes Truck dealer, City West Commercials, more than half the 16-strong fleet are from the German manufacturer.

The latest Mercedes to join the fleet is a new 32-tonne Mercedes Arocs 3246.  With a flat-floored BigSpace cab and 460 hp version of the Mercedes 10.7-litre OM 470 ‘straight six’, it has a beavertail plant body by Andover Trailers and a 56 tonne/metre Fassi crane, as well as a coupling for pulling drawbar trailers.

The operator went for the 8×2 version, on the grounds that they are more manoeuvrable and cost less to run, as it has a rear lift axle cutting down on tyre wear when not needed.  This more than compensates for any loss in traction in collection and delivery sites.

One Million Pound Mercedes Truck!

Back in 2013, City West Commercials delivered Plant Speed’s first Mercedes-Benz. At the time the 250-tonne Actros Titan was the most expensive truck ever sold by the manufacturer in the UK – the 8×4 tractor unit and its Scheuerle modular equipment represented a combined investment of more than £1 million!

So pleased was the operator with that truck, that they returned in 2015 for a second 250-tonner, this time an Arocs from the Euro 6 SLT range.

Last year City West Commercials supplied Plant Speed with another four tractor units – two double-drive 460 kW (625 hp) Arocs BigSpace models plated for operation at 180 and 120 tonnes GCW respectively, and a pair of 68-tonne 390 kW (530 hp) Actros with range-topping GigaSpace cabs and tag axles. The Dealer then delivered two more, identical 68-tonners earlier this year.

These trucks have all replaced vehicles by other truckbuilders. “We’re favouring Mercedes-Benz strongly at the moment,” confirmed Managing Director Paul Lomas. “Its products are fairly priced and exceptionally reliable, and our drivers like their big, comfortable cabs.

One Stop Shop for Top Trucks

“Mercedes-Benz trucks are also technologically advanced – the Turbo Retarder Clutch, for example, is a fantastic piece of kit, brilliant for low-speed manoeuvres or when pulling away on a steep gradient, and a lot kinder to the drivetrain than a traditional torque converter.

“The fact that we can specify a broad range of options direct from the factory in Germany relieves us of the additional hassle of dealing with third-party suppliers. This ‘one-stop shop’ aspect of the Mercedes-Benz offer is a big plus for me.”

Mr Lomas continued: “The 68-tonners are our ‘bread and butter’ trucks, and carry out a lot of plant and railway equipment movements. They’re the lightest tractor units we run, but they’ve replaced Swedish-built 65-tonners, and the extra three tonnes is surprisingly useful in terms of increased flexibility.

“The new 32-tonne rigid, meanwhile, has replaced an eight-wheeler from 2005. The Arocs has a much more spacious cab, and a bigger crane. It’s a Swiss Army Knife-type of truck, capable of undertaking all sorts of tasks, and has barely stopped working since it landed.

“We didn’t need double-drive. Instead, we wanted a vehicle that’s economical to operate and agile – the sites this truck has to access can be quite tight, so the rear-steer axle is a big help.”

Plant Speed relies on City West Commercials for technical assistance and parts. “The Dealer provides a very good service,” confirmed Mr Lomas.