Even if a truck only works within a 10 mile radius of its base, it has to be reliable and safe.  To buy their first truck for local operation, Wessington Cryogenics chose a Mercedes Actros. The 18-tonne Actros was supplied by local Dealer Bell Truck and Van and boasts the manufacturer’s new MirrorCam system.

The vehicle has a Classic Space S day cab and, as an 1824 variant, employs a 7.7-litre in-line six-cylinder engine that produces 175 kW (238 hp); this is paired with an eight-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated manual transmission.

Its platform body, meanwhile, is by Dependable Bodies, of Gateshead, and fitted with twist-locks for securing the frames in which vessels are carried.

Mercedes Actros Cryogenic tank
The Actros’ platform body is by Dependable Bodies and fitted with twist-locks for securing the frames in which vessels are carried.

The Truck Buyer

Cryogenics is the branch of physics that deals with the production and effects of very low temperatures. Established in 1984, Wessington Cryogenics is based in Houghton le Spring, near Sunderland, and offers a comprehensive range of dewars (specialised vacuum flasks), vessels for storing liquid nitrogen, argon, oxygen and helium, and ISO tank containers, as well as bespoke ‘specials’ for specific applications. These products are used in a host of offshore and industrial applications.

It also provides repair and refurbishment services and can restore to ‘as new’ condition most other makes of cryogenic vessels as well as its own. 

Local Transport Only

The new truck is used solely for very short-range internal transport – it is used primarily to move ISO tanks between Wessington Cryogenics’ three main paintshops and five other subcontract facilities, all of which are located within a 10-mile radius of the company’s headquarters. This task was previously assigned to a third-party haulier.

Acquired with competitive funding support from Mercedes-Benz Finance, the Actros will be inspected and maintained under a five-year Complete Service Contract at Bell Truck and Van’s Longbenton workshop. 

“We’re very busy and have been growing strongly,” explained Sales Engineer Dave Easton. “The company is embarking on a major investment drive so has brought the transport function in-house to provide extra flexibility, as well as cost savings.

Dave Easton Wessington Cryogenics
Dave Easton, Sales Engineer, Wessington Cryogenics

“As for our choice of truck, we do have some experience of the transport sector as we also manufacture road tankers. Given what we already knew of the brand, not least through recommendations from customers, it was always going to be a Mercedes-Benz. Our first call, therefore, was to Bell Truck and Van.”

He continued: “The response from its Sales Executive Alex Wordsworth was first class, exactly what we needed. We were starting from scratch and not only did Alex advise on specification of the vehicle and handle all of the liaison with the bodybuilder, but he also arranged driver training for two of our guys and the maintenance contract. He even advised us on how to go about securing our Operator’s Licence. It was a great service from start to finish.”

Mr Easton added: “We’re delighted with our new Actros, as are its drivers. The younger of the two was blown away from the outset by all of the digital technology and while his colleague is a bit more ‘old school’ so missed the mirrors initially, he very quickly came to appreciate the safety and other benefits that MirrorCam offers.”