At Berges the OM 473 is indispensable
Vehicle & Technology
Björn Berges’ new Actros 1863 has a 460 kW power pack under its bonnet in the form of a six-cylinder inline OM 473 engine. For the truck-driving businessman this is a necessary power reserve for heavy-duty transport operations on steep routes in the Sauerland region.
To the right, the view drops deep into the valley of the Biggesee, a lake in Sauerland’s Olpe. Beyond the windscreen the road climbs mercilessly. 26 tonnes of draff steam in the dumper semitrailer on this misty, enchanted morning. Björn Berges carefully depresses the accelerator in his new Actros 1863. Without losing speed, the 40 tonne combination reaches the summit. “Was that a hill?” Berges calls out, laughing.
The reason for this almost playful effortlessness is the powerful 6-cylinder inline OM 473 engine. Its almost never-ending power reserves are essential for Berges. As a driving businessman, the 46-year old does not know what challenges await him tomorrow. Berges’ main business: draff. Annually two million tonnes of it are produced in Germany as a bi-product of beer production. The boiled malt grist that remains after beer has been brewed has a high nutritional value. The farmers in the Sauerland region save on expensive concentrated feed by giving their cattle draff to eat.
On passably asphalted roads, hardly wider than the Actros, Berges travels the last few kilometres to the farmers’ silos where he unloads the barley mash with his dumper semitrailer produced by the body manufacturer Lück. Or he reverses with a load of limestone to a helicopter landing site next to a mountain summit from where the forestry workers in the region take off for lime dusting operations. “There’s no getting around it, I have to go there and the 460 kW are an enormous help. I don't even have to think about whether I will make it or not.”
The secret of Berges’ almost unshakeable confidence comes on the one hand from his own 27 years of driving experience and on the other from the technology of the OM 473. The 6-cylinder inline engine which is based on the same platform as the Mercedes‑Benz OM 471 impresses with its operating figures alone: a displacement of 15.6 litres, up to 460 kW output and a maximum torque of 3000 Newton-metres. It is the same engine that drives the Actros heavy-duty truck. A year ago, Björn Berges was the first ever customer to get this engine in a new two-axle Actros. In addition to its huge pulling power, the system is also outstandingly robust. The grey cast iron crankcase with an alloy developed and patented at the plant in Mannheim boasts both horizontal and vertical ribbing and as a result is extremely rigid. Small distances between the cylinders allow for a compact design. The one-piece pistons are made of steel.
Despite its enormous output the Euro VI-compliant engine remains frugal. The turbo compound technology (see box) further increases the efficiency of the engine. “Here in the hills, I would use considerably more fuel if I had a weaker engine,” explains Berges. He also has a lot of praise for the standard Mercedes PowerShift 3 automatic transmission: “That leads to an unbelievable driving comfort and also provides for economical fuel consumption.”
Most of all the family man likes to take on oversize transport jobs such as house elements: “Switching on the indicator on a hill on the motorway and then pulling past my colleagues crawling up the incline – that is a great moment.”
6-cylinder inline OM 473 engine.
The top Mercedes-Benz OM 473 engine is uncompromisingly powerful: high transportation speeds even in difficult terrain, heavy loads in European road haulage up to heavy-duty transport operations, top performance in the off-road field and a long life cycle – drivers are equipped for every challenge. The turbo compound technology is a decisive innovation. A second turbine downstream from the exhaust gas turbo charger uses the temperature of the exhaust gas after it has flowed through the exhaust gas turbo charger to further increase efficiency. The OM 473 is manufactured in the Mercedes-Benz engine plant in Mannheim.
Photos: Ralf Kreuels