Wincanton takes on 14 new Mercedes-Benz Actros drawbar units

Wincanton’s construction operations have put 14 new-generation Actros 26-tonne rigids into service that work with drawbar trailers at 44-tonne gross train weights and are fitted with rear-mounted cranes.

The rigids, which deliver building materials across the country, were supplied by East Anglia dealer Orwell Truck & Van, a long-standing supplier to Wincanton.

The new trucks have 2.3m StreamSpace sleeper cabs – the narrower of the two widths available – and merit two stars from Transport for London’s Direct Vision scheme. As 2546 L models, they are powered by 460hp 10.7-litre in-line six-cylinder engines.

Given the crane’s position at the back of the truck, the Wincanton team ensured compliance by opting for uprated rear-steer axles plated at 8,500 kg to give a 19-tonne bogie weight.

The vehicle bodies and the trailers were built in Sheffield by Massey Truck Engineering and incorporate multiple lashing points for use with ratchet straps – 900mm curtains provide additional load protection.

In another ‘first’, rather than specifying traditional keruing hardwood flooring for its new trucks and trailers, Wincanton has chosen a honeycomb composite plastic that is safer and lighter.

Meanwhile, Hiab’s 145DLL-1 HiPro long boom crane has a 14.4-tonne lifting capacity. ‘Power on demand’ technology contributes to fuel efficiency by ensuring that the vehicle engine responds directly, via the PTO (power take-off), to the crane’s requirements – so when the crane is not lifting a load, the engine runs on idle.

The Hiab HiPro comes with an advanced ‘joystick’ radio-remote control, which improves productivity, said Wincanton’s construction fleet engineer Martin Reeve. “While safety is always our number one priority, offloading efficiency is crucial too, as these new vehicles are set up to make the most of the innovations available on these new products.”

Wincanton also specified Hiab’s HiConnect telematics system. Technicians from Hiab, Massey Truck Engineering, Mercedes-Benz and Orwell Truck & Van worked together to programme this to deliver key information via the 12in primary colour display in the interactive version of Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ Multimedia Cockpit. This includes pictorial warnings that, for example, the crane boom or remote-control unit have not been correctly stowed.

Further enhancing safety and fuel-efficiency, the Hiab cranes have also been programmed with remote engine start/stop and PTO selection from the loader’s handset control.

“Our latest Mercedes-Benz trucks are well tailored to the job,” continued Reeve. “We’re confident we’ve got their complex specification ‘spot on’ when it comes to safety and efficiency, and that will help to reinforce Wincanton’s position in the sector.”  The Actros’ are also fitted with microwave ovens and fridges, as their drivers typically spend four nights a week in their cabs, which Reeve hopes will help keep drivers at the company. “The current shortage of driver and loader operators in the industry means that driver retention and attracting new talent is a key goal.”

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Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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