Infrastructure services leader Eurovia has turned once again to Mercedes-Benz Dealer S & B Commercials for the first of a new breed of safety-focused road finishing vehicles. The company’s latest order was for two 18-tonne Econics and a 26-tonne Antos, as well as a 44-tonne Actros tractor unit.
The Econics feature the low-entry, high-visibility cab which gives this model significant advantages over conventional trucks when it comes to the protection of vulnerable road users.
Greater Safety is one of the three pillars of Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ RoadEfficiency strategy. With its deep, panoramic windscreen, fully-glazed passenger-side door and low seating position, which allows drivers to make direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrian at junctions and in traffic, the Econic is proving increasingly attractive to operators from an increasing variety of sectors, who work in busy towns and cities.
Eurovia’s new 4×2 Econics and its 6×4 Antos 26-tonner are fitted with specialised bodywork by Mackworth Vehicle Conversion Specialists, a supplier to Eurovia since 2013. Both the Dealer and the bodybuilder are owned by the Imperial UK Group.
All three rigids have walkways which allow operatives to get on and off the vehicle bed without risking injury, safety rails all round, side underrun guards to prevent cyclists and pedestrians being dragged beneath the wheels, and the four-way recordable camera systems by Brigade which Eurovia fits as standard to all of its trucks.
The Econic 1830s are specified for white line painting on newly laid or repaired roads. It is the first time that Eurovia has assigned this model to the role, although since late last year it has been running a pair of gulley emptiers based on 4×2 Econic chassis supplied by S & B.
Each of the latest vehicles carries three 250 kg boilers by road marking specialist WJ UK. The plasticised paint they contain must be kept permanently at the correct temperature to prevent it separating and hardening. Eurovia has previously relied on a ‘donkey’ engine to power the boilers but this job is now done by a constant drive power take-off from the Econic’s 220 kW (299 hp) six-cylinder engine.
This solution is more efficient and makes for quieter operation, as does the Econic’s standard-fit air suspension system. This is particularly beneficial when the vehicle is working in built-up areas at night.
Eurovia currently holds Bronze accreditation from the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), and aims to strike Silver by the end of this year. “Given their impressive safety features these innovative new vehicles can only help us to achieve this goal,” observed the company’s Transport & Plant Operations Manager Chris Dixon.
“Our Econics are now being operated by two- and three-man crews who also appreciate their comfortable and roomy, air-conditioned cabs, and the fact that they can move around with such ease.”
Eurovia’s Antos 2635 has a ClassicSpace M-cab and 260 kW (354 hp) straight six, which drives through a smooth Mercedes PowerShift automated transmission. This vehicle transports the mastic used to seal joints between concrete sections on roads and bridges. A double-drive configuration was chosen to provide better traction, as it also tows a trailer-mounted road planer.
The Antos has twin boilers with their own diesel burners, each of which has a 1.5-tonne capacity. A recent development imported from Germany, they are more efficient and cost-effective than the traditional, gas-powered units used previously. The truck is also fitted with refillable bottles which contain the gas needed for other equipment used by Eurovia’s operatives to apply the mastic.
Completing the latest order is a 6×2 Actros 2548 StreamSpace tractor unit, built to the same specification as the first vehicle supplied to Eurovia by S & B Commercials last year. Like its predecessor – which wore a special livery to mark the operator’s 40th anniversary – the new tractor hauls road construction plant such as asphalt pavers, backhoe loaders and compactors, to and from sites on a low-loader trailer.
The partnership between customer and Dealer has gone from strength to strength since that initial order, and S & B is currently processing orders for more four- and six-wheeled Econic-based gulley emptiers with bodies by Whale Tankers, ‘Special Treatments’ vehicles by traffic management bodybuilder Acklea on 18-tonne Antos chassis, and 18-tonne Arocs models with Econ gritting bodies.
“It’s a brilliant relationship,” confirmed Chris Dixon. “We’ve probably ordered upwards of 30 trucks from S & B since our anniversary Actros went on the road. The support and communication we receive, particularly from Key Account Manager Vick Croker, is second-to-none.”
He continued: “Although we’ve only been working with S & B for less than a year, Mercedes-Benz is a well-established supplier to our business. Experience has proved that not only are its trucks exceptionally reliable and popular with our drivers, but the comprehensive range means there is invariably a chassis suited to each application.”