By Ann-Marie Knegt
Three new-generation Mercedes-Benz Arocs 2630Ks gritters equipped with Econ bodies and new MirroCam technology have been supplied to Worcestershire County Council by Rygor Commercials.
The new MirrorCam presents a significant safety advance. The compact cameras relay images to screens mounted on the A-pillars. Not only do they provide much improved rearward vision, but they also eliminate the forward-facing blind spots caused by conventional mirrors.
The Mercedes-Benz Arocs range has purposed designed for heavy-duty applications such as construction and associated applications. With 6×4 drivelines and full steel suspension offering excellent ground clearance, Worcestershire County Council’s new trucks are fit-for-purpose for winter maintenance operations.
The gritters have been kitted with ClassicSpace M-cabs, and 7.7-litre, in-line six-cylinder engines, which produce 220 kW (299 hp) and drive through 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions.
On-board weighing systems eliminate the risk of overloading, and roof-mounted Kelsa bars with four spotlights further assist drivers. The Econ E-Ploughs have ceramic edges which allow the vehicle to plough right up to the road surface, clearing it of snow and ensuring that salt treatment has the maximum effect.
Winter equipment manufacturer Econ Engineering, of Ripon, North Yorkshire, has been a supplier to Worcestershire County Council for the last 13 years. Each of the new trucks has a 9m3 body which is operated via its latest Spargo Touch in-cab controls and spreads pre-wet solution carried in tanks mounted either side of the hopper.
Worcestershire County Council owns approximately 40 spreaders. Every one of them – including a pair of 3.5-tonne trucks used to treat car parks and other areas with restricted access – wears a Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star, and is fitted with an Econ body. These vehicles stand ready for deployment, at four depots strategically located across the county.
The authority’s Fleet Manager Tim McNicholas said: “Our relationship with Mercedes-Benz goes back many years, so we know its products well, as do our crews. The trucks are very well built and exceptionally reliable, which is particularly crucial given the job they do.
“When ice or snow are threatened, we need every piece of equipment to be available to keep the roads open and safe. We keep our gritters for 10 years, and experience has proved that over this life cycle Mercedes-Benz trucks do not let us down.”
The spreading fleet is maintained at Worcestershire County Council’s main depot in Warndon, Worcester – the workshop is managed on the authority’s behalf by Ringway. The highways services company’s technicians are Mercedes-Benz-trained and have access to all of the specialist diagnostic and other equipment needed to ensure the vehicles perform at their best. A member of Rygor Commercials’ Kidderminster team is also based at Warndon, to manage the parts stock.
Worcestershire County Council disposes of its Mercedes-Benz spreaders at auction. ‘Local authority vehicles have a reputation for being well maintained, so prospective buyers are happy to purchase them,’ confirmed Tim McNicholas. ‘The trucks invariably do well in terms of resale values.’
“We must always abide by procurement rules, of course, but endeavour to support the local business community wherever possible. Our excellent relationship with Rygor Commercials goes back many years, and the Dealer’s aftersales support is first class.
“Once again, Fleet Sales Manager Jeremy Price was extremely helpful in providing product information, and we look forward to seeing how crews receive MirrorCam in particular.”
Jeremy Price added: “I sold my first Mercedes-Benz spreaders to Worcestershire County Council in 2004, and was delighted to have the opportunity to supply Tim McNicholas and his colleagues with the latest additions to their winter maintenance fleet.
“Spreaders provide a vital service to the community, and it’s gratifying that Worcestershire County Council continues to trust Mercedes-Benz vehicles backed by Rygor to perform this role.”