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            october 23, 2017

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Indiaexportnews.com

Manoeuvrable truck for tight corners

  11.10.2017    

It's tight. Very tight: the clearance lamp at the rear left is about to make contact with the hedge. Slowly, the red Arocs 2543 crawls backwards through the narrow alley towards the building site. At the rear right, the vehicle barely makes it past a warning sign reading "Building site: no entry". "Without the steered rear axle, I wouldn't have made it," admits Udo Preussing. "It's really useful. So is the automated transmission." In earlier times, the driver used to be out on the road in a 25-tonner with manual transmission and clutch pedal. He now drives a Powershift 3 – for the last eight weeks, Udo Preussing has been at the wheel of one of three brand-new red Mercedes-Benz Arocs 2543 6x2/4 trucks.
We are on a small building site – an everyday occurrence for Udo Preussing. The 51-year-old driver loves his job, as becomes clear from the outset. For almost half his life – "it'll soon be 25 years" – Preussing has been delivering construction materials. Always for Baustoff Brandes, headquartered in Peine, a company with a 118-year tradition, around 200 employees at seven locations, and 40 years with Mercedes-trucks in the service of customers both large and small. "It never gets boring," says the short-distance transport professional. "Driving, that's only half the job." As we have seen, manoeuvring with pinpoint accuracy is clearly also part of the day-to-day business.

Powershift assists the short-distance transport professional
"Mercedes have done a fantastic job with the automated transmission," says Udo, coming back to his Arocs with Powershift. On the approach to the small building site, he leaves everything to the engine/transmission computer. "Why should I intervene? No-one can do it better than the automated transmission." His previous machine, an Actros 2541, still needed him to use a touch shift and clutch pedal. "It's not before time that the automated transmission has finally made its way to short-distance transport," says Preussing, confirming the approach systematically adopted by Mercedes-Benz some time ago: automated transmissions as standard for all model variants of trucks.
He’s right. After all, short-haul drivers have other duties to perform, much more so than their long-distance counterparts. Unloading, for example. In the case of Brandes, a firm specialised in construction materials, this often means pallets of different weight and size. They need to be firmly secured prior to transport. Once at the destination, they are delicately hoisted from the cargo area by means of the rear-mounted crane. "With the crane, you rarely have much room to play with," says Udo.

Sometimes out on the road as a 40-tonner

A large building site presumably has more room to work in, guesses the reporter. "Well, yes," admits Preussing with a note of caution. "Yes, there's more room. But the distances…" Udo Preussing frequently leaves the 18-tonne trailer, which he hooks up to his Arocs for big deliveries, away from the actual unloading point. "Fortunately, I now have plenty of ground clearance with the new truck," he enthuses, praising the high front axle on the Arocs. In such cases, he covers the last few metres without the trailer, makes his way past every obstacle, unloads and goes back to get the second part of the delivery from his "temporary store" using the crane.
Yes, short-radius distribution of construction materials, there is more to it than just driving a truck. The many kilometres on country roads, and relatively short distances on motorways, certainly make for a more relaxing time at the wheel. "My new truck really makes things easy," says Udo Preussing. The 10.7-litre OM 470 six-cylinder in-line engine "rumbles quietly as I roll along at around 65 km/h." Powershift helps keep the noise down: high gear whenever possible.

Next Arocs trucks already in prospect

It is clear that such relaxed cruising also results in good fuel economy. The actual diesel consumption of the Brandes fleet, which comprises twelve heavy-duty trucks, is not as vitally important as in the case of long-haul transport. "The mere fact that several hours a day are spent using the crane means that our fuel consumption doesn't match that in exclusively long-haul transport," says Alexander Rucz, Head of Storage/Logistics at Baustoff Brandes. The Brandes fleet is made up without exception of Mercedes-Benz vehicles: from the Sprinter to the Atego, the proven Actros and now the new Arocs.
Alexander Rucz, responsible for all short-radius distribution trucks at Brandes, is already looking forward to taking delivery of the next new trucks. "Next year will see further new additions to our three-axle vehicles," says Rucz. The envisaged new Arocs trucks will offer even lower basic fuel consumption as standard.

Higher engine efficiency thanks to technological evolution
In the latest phase of evolution of the Arocs, the 10.7-litre engine, which is probably what will power the new additions to the Brandes fleet, consumes more than three percent less diesel. That is because the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz OM 470 comes with enhanced performance all-round. The six-cylinder in-line engine benefits both from technical refinements from the further development of the larger OM 471 and also from independent technological advances with regard to the compact model series.
The result is the same in both heavy-duty engines: a further improvement in power delivery with added pulling power at low engine speeds, higher efficiency and the traditional ruggedness and reliability. This is ensured by sturdy steel pistons, two overhead camshafts with a high-efficiency gear train, asymmetric turbocharger, powerful engine brake and X-Pulse common-rail injection with pressure amplification.

Mighty 460 hp with unchanged low weight
The Mercedes-Benz OM 470 therefore fits the bill perfectly when what is needed is a compact construction along with low weight (important for transporting construction materials with a loading crane, which takes up a lot of payload), high performance with good pulling power as well as maximum efficiency with automatically low fuel consumption, regardless of driving style, and long service intervals. The fact that the 10.7-litre Arocs is now also available with 335 kW (456 hp) instead of the previous 315 kW (428 hp) may well enter into Alexander Rucz's considerations. On the other hand, having spent eight weeks behind the wheel of his 2543, Udo Preussing is sure of one thing: "I'm going to keep this one."



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