Arocs aims high by going low
Eight-wheeler is one of the UK's first reduced-height models.
One of the UK’s first reduced-height Mercedes-Benz Arocs eight-wheelers is off to a flying start in the colours of bulk haulage specialist R Adams & Sons.
So impressed is the family-owned operator that within 24 hours of taking delivery of the new tipper it was back on the phone to Dealer Midlands Truck & Van to order a second, identical vehicle.
R Adams & Sons is based in Henley in Arden, south of Birmingham, and runs 45 trucks of various marques, as well as a dedicated owner-driver fleet. The company moves some 24,000 tonnes of material every week, much of it aggregates and cereals, although its new Arocs 3240 has been specified primarily for muckaway work.
Power comes from the 290 kW (394 hp) version of the advanced, 10.7-litre OM 470 LA straight-six. This engine, which is also available with outputs of 315 kW (428 hp), 265 kW (360 hp) and 240 kW (326 hp), can now be specified with a 320 mm high engine tunnel.
Customers for the 8x4 Arocs construction chassis have previously chosen between cabs with flat floors or 170 mm tunnels. The new variant with 320 mm tunnel sits six inches lower than its established stablemate with 170 mm tunnel, which makes life easier for the driver to maintain three points of contact when climbing up into or down from the cab.
Reduced fatigue – the three steps are more closely spaced – and a 14% improvement in direct vision contribute to enhanced safety, while for some operators, such as those needing to access batching plants, the lower roof height also offers operational advantages.
Most of R Adams & Sons’ trucks are tractor units which pull bulk tipping trailers. The line-up includes six Mercedes-Benz Actros, one a flagship 2563 model with range-topping GigaSpace cab and 460 kW (625 hp) engine purchased in 2015 to mark its 60th anniversary.
The Arocs, however, is the company’s first rigid truck to wear a three-pointed star. It has a ClassicSpace M-cab and is fitted with a steel Boweld tipping body, yet still offers a highly competitive 19,400 kg payload capacity.
A real head-turner with its roof-mounted light bar, air horns, alloy wheels and sun visor, the truck is additionally equipped with headlamp grilles and a protective plate beneath the fuel tank, as well as a suite of cameras and audible sensors to detect the presence of vulnerable road users. The extensive specification also includes an optional Comfort sprung cab and Comfort air-sprung seats, while it sports the personalised registration plate, RA10 RAS.
Purpose-designed for construction-related applications, the Mercedes-Benz Arocs has won widespread acclaim for its impressive ground clearance. But as Director Mark Adams explained, R Adams prefers to forego a little of that clearance in return for a lower cab height.
“The 8x4 Arocs we’d looked at previously were just too high for our tastes,” said Mr Adams, who, in partnership with his brother Andy, runs the business founded by their father. “This new model is ideal though; in fact, it’s one of the best trucks I’ve ever driven.”
Mr Adams took the Arocs out on the day it arrived. “I returned 8.2 mpg, which is very good given that it was all local work. The engine pulls well, with plenty of power and torque, the steering is light and the gearbox and brakes are very good, while it’s also an exceptionally smart-looking vehicle,” he enthused.
“There’s still plenty of ground clearance too. The front end sank on one job and if it was a normal lorry I’d have lost the front bumper. But the Arocs came out, no problem. I really can’t find fault with what is just a great all-round truck, which explains why I was straight onto the Dealer to order a second.”