Tanker operator Johnston Fuels is oiling the wheels of its own business after becoming one of the first customers for the revolutionary new Mercedes-Benz Uptime system.


This remarkable telediagnosis programme monitors the truck to which it is fitted in real time, and flags up any critical conditions at an early stage – it can even predict a breakdown before it happens.


Data is shared by the manufacturer with the operator, ensuring that optimal repair solutions can be planned in good time. So, for example, the system will flag up in advance that a brake pad change is required, and time can be set aside for this to be dealt with when the truck goes in for its scheduled six-weekly check. Previously, the worn condition of the pads might not have been noticed until the inspection – meaning a second visit to the workshop might be required.


Bathgate-based Johnston Fuels specified Mercedes-Benz Uptime on its latest tractor unit, an Actros 2545 with StreamSpace cab, which arrived via the Broxburn branch of Central Scotland Dealer Western Commercial. The truck is built to ADR (transport of dangerous goods) and Safe Loading Pass specification, for work with hazardous fluids. Optional features include LED daytime running lights and red seatbelts.


The company’s Johnston Oil division runs a fleet of 40 vehicles which deliver a variety of fuel oils to commercial and domestic customers throughout Scotland. The Actros is its second Mercedes-Benz truck, and pulls a 36,000-litre tank trailer by Lakeland Tankers, of Lye, in the West Midlands.


It has joined a 6×2 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 2533 rigid delivered by the same Dealer earlier this year. This vehicle has a tank body with 18,000-litre capacity by Lakeland’s sister company RTN.


Mercedes-Benz Uptime has certainly impressed Director Lee Potter. “It’s a fantastic system,” he declared. “The small extra cost of this technology will be easily outweighed by the savings we stand to make, through the reductions in unplanned maintenance that will keep our new Actros where it belongs – on the road and earning.”


Mr Potter and colleagues were introduced to Mercedes-Benz Uptime at a recent RoadEfficiency LIVE presentation, staged by the manufacturer at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.


“It was a great day, and extremely informative,” he recalled. “The Uptime system stood out, of course, as a breakthrough that has major potential to improve the efficiency of our operation.


“We were also impressed that Mercedes-Benz Trucks laid on vehicles by some of its competitors for guests to try. This demonstrated the team’s confidence in the quality of its products.”


Mr Potter added: “We’d heard extremely positive reports, not only about the performance and reliability of Mercedes-Benz trucks, but also about Western Commercial’s customer-focused back-up. Its Sales Executive Mel Berwick has certainly worked very hard to get a foot in the door with our business.


“Although these are early days, first impressions of our new Mercedes-Benz trucks are excellent. Both have replaced vehicles by a Swedish manufacturer and offer a much higher level of comfort as standard, as well as being very well equipped – the Arocs has had four drivers already, and all have said they much prefer it to the previous truck. Both Mercedes-Benz vehicles look superb too, so we’re delighted with them.”