If the truck is the right spec a the right price and no other manufacturer can get you one in time, then there is no purchasing decision to make. That’s what happened to Bridge and gantry specialist Nusteel Structures when looking for a 150 tonne heavy haulage tractor unit. After buying their first Mercedes Truck, a 6×4 Arocs 3363 tractor unit that is plated for Special Types operation at up to 150 tonnes GCW, the owners and drivers are over the moon with its performance.

It has a flat-floored BigSpace cab, which is finished with colour-coded bumpers and a roof-mounted Kelsa light bar, and employs a 625 hp, 15.6-litre in-line six-cylinder engine. SB Components, of Wisbech, fitted a chassis catwalk infill.

Established in 1954, Nusteel Structures is a leading supplier of steel bridges, gantries and complex structures to the UK construction industry. Its design, build and installation service extends to other products, such as balconies, steel moulds, props and walers.

The Arocs works from the company’s head office and fabrication facilities in Lympne, Hythe, and undertakes nationwide deliveries to sites of sections that can be up to 57 metres in length.

The Heavy Haulage Fleet

Nusteel Structures also runs a pair of 80-tonne tractor units by another manufacturer. However, as Transport Manager/driver Iain Bates explained: “The bridges and gantries we manufacture have gradually become bigger and structurally more robust over the years, and therefore significantly heavier. We’d reached the point at which we needed the increased capability of an uprated vehicle.”

Purpose-designed for construction-related applications, the Arocs is well suited to the demands of the role. Nusteel’s truck was specified with the Turbo Retarder Clutch, which works in conjunction with the 16-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated manual transmission and replaces the traditional manual gearbox and torque converter clutch set-up.

Designed to be wear-free and fuel-efficient, the Turbo Clutch is capable of handling and delivering some 3,000 Nm of torque, significantly more than a torque converter. It also incorporates an important safety feature, in the shape of its own, powerful integrated retarder.

Why Buy Mercedes Trucks

Nusteel also spoke to the local representatives of two other manufacturers – one was unable to supply a suitable product while the other could not match the competitively priced acquisition and maintenance package on offer from the Mercedes-Benz Dealer, or commit to deliver its vehicle within the same timeframe.

Iain Bates’ fellow Transport Manager/driver Doug Newsholme has worked for Nusteel Structures for 44 years and is hugely impressed with his new Mercedes-Benz. “We’ve operated Swedish-built units in the past but this is definitely the best truck we’ve ever had,” he enthused.

“The Arocs represents a big step forward in terms of quality. The cab is a really nice place to be, very well appointed and with a comfy seat and driving position. It’s also a good deal quieter than I expected.”

He continued: “I’ve always had manual gearboxes in the past but the way the auto shift works in tandem with the Turbo Clutch is superb. Pulling away with a load on is easy – whatever the ground, there’s never an issue with traction.

“Heavy mode completely changes the feel of the vehicle, which drives like a train. A little while back it pulled 100 tonnes up Wrotham Hill, near Tonbridge, at 20 mph in 8th gear, without breaking sweat, which was some going.

“The integral retarder also holds you back when going down hills, which is very reassuring and exactly what you need. In fact, the system does everything we were promised, and it does it supremely well.”

Nusteel engaged with Sparshatt Truck & Van after receiving a speculative, but very timely, approach from the Dealer’s recently appointed Truck Sales Executive Janet Collins. She won her first truck order – for a 150-tonne tractor unit! – after quitting her previous career in premium brand car sales to pursue a fresh challenge.

“Janet’s service was fantastic throughout,” confirmed Doug Newsholme. “She kept us fully informed on progress and we were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the truck arrived.”

The subject of a five-year Mercedes-Benz Complete Service Contract, the Arocs is now being inspected and maintained at Sparshatt Truck & Van’s Ashford workshop. Iain Bates added: “The contract covers all our repair and maintenance needs at fixed, inflation-proof prices, so provides complete peace of mind.

“The timely, customer-focused back-up we’ve received from Service Manager Matthew Wootten and his colleagues has also been first class, and speaks volumes for the manufacturer’s commitment to minimising downtime for operators like ourselves.”

Mercedes Arocs 3363
Nusteel’s truck was specified with the Turbo Retarder Clutch, which works in conjunction with the 16-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 transmission