An absolute commitment to the protection of its own drivers and other road users led bulk materials logistics specialist Hargreaves Services plc to order a fleet of 21 Mercedes-Benz tractor units from North-East Dealer Bell Truck and Van.
The Durham-based operator has equipped its new trucks with optional Safety Packs comprising the remarkable Active Brake Assist 3 autonomous braking and Proximity Control Assist systems, as well as driver’s airbags and large, easily-read instrument clusters.
Fully compliant with FORS (Freight Operator Recognition Scheme) Silver, CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Community Safety) and Crossrail specifications, they are also fitted with a comprehensive array of camera systems and sensors designed to protect vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians.
Meanwhile, optional Mercedes-Benz Predictive Powertrain Control systems further enhance safety by promoting a relaxed driving style, while promising mpg improvements of up to 5% on long journeys. To further boost economy and ensure that Hargreaves’ drivers take full advantage of the vehicle’s fuel-saving technology, Bell Truck and Van has embarked on a programme of training.
Founded in 1994, Hargreaves Services plc delivers key projects and services to the energy, infrastructure, bulk logistics, and property sectors. It also enjoys an enviable reputation for providing technical and project support services within the waste and construction industries.
The company’s new trucks are all 6x2 Arocs 2545 LS models with StreamSpace cabs and 330 kW (449 hp) straight-six engines. These second-generation, 12.8-litre OM471 powerplants feature a series of enhancements designed to maximise fuel efficiency, including updated turbochargers and revised injection systems.
The Arocs are additionally fitted with HARSH hydraulic kits and pull either bulk tipping or walking floor semi-trailers. Based across Hargreaves’ nationwide network of depots, they are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services operating lease and are being inspected and serviced by the most conveniently located Dealers under Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contracts.
The operator runs 170 trucks, all but 40 of which are tractors. Its latest vehicles have replaced 21 units by the Swedish manufacturer which currently lays claim to the lion’s share of the fleet. The line-up also includes 28 other Mercedes-Benz vehicles, among them 6x4 Actros and Arocs tractors, the latest seven of which arrived via Bell Truck and Van in 2015.
Paul Boulds, Hargreaves’ Workshops & Fleet Manager, commented: “We are always conscious of our Duty of Care, both to our own staff and to others, and we have an excellent track record when it comes to safety.
“The decision to specify the optional ABA3 and Proximity Control Assist systems, to complement standard-fit Mercedes-Benz technology such as Lane Keeping Assist, can only enhance our reputation as a highly responsible operator.
“While you cannot put a price on safety, the additional cost of these features was not prohibitive Hopefully we won’t need them, but it’s nice to know they’re there just in case.”
Mercedes-Benz Active Brake Assist 3 employs a combination of radar and cameras to monitor moving and stationary objects in front of the vehicle, and sounds an audible warning when it senses potential for a collision. If the driver takes no action, the system will apply staged braking – and eventually full braking power – to prevent a crash, or dramatically reduce the effects of an impact. ABA3 already out-performs the requirements of General Safety Regulations which do not come into force for another two years.
Proximity Control Assist works in conjunction with the cruise control, intervening automatically to restrict the truck’s speed and maintain a pre-set distance from the vehicle in front.
Customers for the Mercedes-Benz Safety Pack can make a substantial saving on the price they would pay if purchasing its four items separately.
The Exeros CCTV system as fitted to Hargreaves’ new Arocs comprises forward-facing, side (giving vision down both sides of the vehicle and trailer), load area and reversing cameras (fitted to the trailers), all of which are connected to a 1TB hard drive. There is also an in-cab camera which, to protect driver privacy, only operates when the engine is running.
Ultrasonic sensors detect the presence of vulnerable road users and warn the driver of their exact proximity via a digital display in the cab; the system also sounds an assertive ‘This vehicle is turning left message’ and emits white noise to alert cyclists and pedestrians to the danger.
Predictive Powertrain Control, meanwhile, employs digital 3D mapping and GPS data to scan the road ahead. Armed with this information it manages gear changes and vehicle speed, making full use of the truck’s EcoRoll function to restrict diesel consumption and emissions.
“Fuel is of course a very substantial cost for our business, so we’re keen to try anything that might squeeze a bit more economy from the vehicle,” continued Mr Boulds. “We have a very good relationship with Bell Truck and Van and I’m optimistic that its driver training support, coupled with the Arocs’ advanced engine technology and PPC systems, will result in some very worthwhile savings.”