Dairy distribution specialist Pattemores Transport (Crewkerne) is achieving productivity gains and enhancing its environmental credentials after commissioning the first 8×2 Mercedes-Benz Arocs to be supplied by south coast Dealer Pentagon Commercials.
The 32-tonne tanker carries up to 3,000 litres more milk than its 26-tonners, which can equate to an extra collection. Yet thanks to its steering rear axle it is no less manoeuvrable on farms at which access can sometimes be restricted.
The fact that the factory-fitted, air-suspended rear axle can be lifted when the vehicle is running light also allows the operator to save on tyre wear; even when deployed its turning function reduces scrub.
An Arocs 3236 model, the muscular 32-tonner is powered by an advanced, 10.7-litre straight-six engine that produces 265 kW (360 hp) and drives through a standard-fit Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmission. Its Maisonneuve milk tank body, meanwhile, has a capacity of 18,500 litres.
A long-standing customer for Mercedes-Benz trucks, Pattemores Transport collects milk from farms throughout the south-west. It is then processed at the company’s dairy in Crewkerne, close to the Somerset-Dorset border, prior to delivery in anything from 12.5 kg pergals to bulk loads, to customers across most of England. The family-owned business also produces ingredients used in the manufacture of yoghurts, desserts and ready meals.
Like its major supermarket customers, Pattemores Transport is committed to minimising the impact of its activities on the environment. The eight-wheeled Arocs can potentially visit up to four farms on a single round, one more than its six-wheelers typically achieve.
Transport Director Alex Pattemore observed: “The new truck offers the benefits of increased carrying capacity and productivity, and thanks to its rear-steer axle can get in and out of farms that a standard 32-tonner would not be able to reach.
“This means we can now make an additional collection that we would not have had room for on a smaller tanker. As well as making a valuable contribution towards our emissions reduction targets, the resulting reduction in the number of vehicle movements is saving us money on our fuel bill.”
Underlining the truck’s clean, ‘green’ credentials, its French-built body features a fully electric pumping system powered by a lithium-ion battery, instead of a more conventional hydraulic arrangement run from the engine PTO. In addition to the savings in fuel use, the electric system is quieter and, says manufacturer Maisonneuve, easier to maintain.
“There is a higher capital cost for the new, electric pumping technology,” conceded Mr Pattemore. “But it’s saving around three hours of engine running per day, and we estimate that it will pay for itself within two years.”
Pattemores Transport owns an all-Mercedes-Benz fleet of 23 trucks. Most are tractor units that make deliveries to customers throughout most of England. In addition to its first 32-tonner, the line-up includes a number of other rigids at 18- and 26-tonnes gvw, which are also on farm collection duties.
These vehicles are worked intensively, seven days-a-week, for up to eight years. The new Arocs, for example, starts work at 2.30am and is on the road – with a driver swap at around 12.30 – until around 9pm each day.
The operator is an enthusiastic proponent of Mercedes-Benz FleetBoard telematics technology. It uses the system’s driving style analysis, which monitors a range of criteria then provides individual gradings, to incentivise its drivers by rewarding them for fuel-efficient performance with monthly bonuses.
Pattemores maintains the fleet in its own workshop but relies on Pentagon’s Poole branch for regular parts deliveries. “The Dealer’s Parts team look after us very well, while its Truck Sales Executive Chris Flynn also provides an excellent service,” acknowledged Mr Pattemore, whose grandfather William established Pattemores Transport in 1938.
The company bought its first five Mercedes-Benz trucks, all tractor units, in 1987, and has remained loyal to the brand ever since. “Our trucks are well-liked by their drivers and invariably command strong residual values when we finally stand them down, usually for export,” added Mr Pattemore.