Mercedes-Benz has secured an order for 90 new trucks from world-leading industrial gases supplier Air Products, following a tender process that involved several other manufacturers.
The Actros range met all of the operator’s most important criteria, which corresponded with the three pillars of Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ all-encompassing RoadEfficiency strategy: Low Total Costs, Maximised Use and Greater Safety.
Supplied by Dealer Roanza Truck & Van, which has dealerships across Greater Manchester, most of the new vehicles are 6×2 Actros 2545 StreamSpace tractor units with state-of-the-art 330 kW (450 hp) 12.8-litre engines. However, 15 are 26-tonne Actros 2533s with ClassicSpace cabs and 10.7-litre powerplants which generate 240 kW (326 hp).
The trucks are working from Air Products’ gas production facility and distribution hubs across the UK and Ireland. The tractors haul gas tank trailers while the rigids, which have tank bodies, deliver to locations with restricted access. They are now being inspected and maintained under Mercedes-Benz Complete Service Contracts.
Air Products’ Category Specialist Andy Stanfield said: “Our initial analysis of the bids we received focused on the total cost of ownership, including projected expenditure on acquisition, servicing and repairs, and fuel, as well as residual values. By our calculations, the Actros was clearly the best buy.
“We also demanded the highest standards of safety, and evidence that we could rely on our new trucks to spend the maximum time out on the road rather than in the workshop. Thanks to their ground-breaking technology the Mercedes-Benz trucks ticked both of these boxes too.”
Air Products’ new trucks are fitted with Fleetboard telematics and optional Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) systems.
Among its other capabilities, FleetBoard records and processes technical data from the vehicle, then rates the driver’s performance at the wheel. It monitors speed, braking, stops and idle times with the engine running, and use of the vehicle’s Eco-Roll function. Armed with this data, operators can initiate targeted training where shortcomings in technique are identified.
PPC, meanwhile, is an innovative cruise control that employs digital 3D mapping and GPS data to scan the road ahead. This topographical information allows the system to manage gear changes and vehicle speed, and make full use of the truck’s Eco-Roll function, to restrict diesel consumption and CO2 emissions. By applying engine braking at every opportunity, it also reduces component wear and tear.
“PPC also encourages a more relaxed driving style and is just one example of our commitment to staff welfare,” continued Mr Stanfield. “We’ve gone to great lengths to provide the drivers with the best tools to do their jobs and have equipped their Actros cabs with optional Comfort seats, Premium Comfort mattresses and folding workstation tables. It’s no surprise, therefore, that they are delighted with their new trucks.”
On Maximised Use, the Actros range’s inherent reliability is underpinned for Air Products by Uptime. This ground-breaking technology employs an array of sensors that monitor the vehicle’s condition constantly. As a result, servicing Dealer Roanza knows precisely what is required before the truck reaches the workshop, and can order parts in advance while setting aside sufficient time to complete all tasks during a single visit.
Air Products has also specified its Actros with Mercedes-Benz Safety Packs. These include the remarkable Active Brake Assist 4 emergency braking system, which incorporates a world ‘first’ in the shape of pedestrian recognition, as well as Proximity Control Assist and a driver’s airbag.
Most of the Actros have replaced Air Products’ previous Mercedes-Benz trucks, which provided reliable, cost-efficient service for five years, and in some cases longer. However, the operator has responded to growing customer demand for its range of atmospheric and industrial gases, by adding an extra five vehicles to the fleet.
“This investment underlines Air Products’ determination to deliver a best-in-class customer experience through the safe, reliable and efficient execution of our daily operational activities, and underpins Air Products’ goal to be the safest and most profitable Industrial Gas Company in the world,” added Mr Stanfield.
“For their part, Mercedes-Benz and Roanza have also demonstrated impressive levels of care and attention. Both have worked hard to ensure we get the best from our new fleet, putting in the time to understand our requirements, arranging a ‘one-stop’ pre-delivery inspection service which also covered ancillary items, and providing familiarisation sessions for our own driver-trainers. The whole package has been superb.”