Thirteen years after it commissioned its first 3.5-tonne FUSO Canter, South Wales arboriculturalist TR33 has finally withdrawn the truck from front-line service – and replaced it with two new examples of the same model.
TR33 is based in Michaelston Y Fedw, Cardiff, and provides a full range of tree services, along with grounds and estate maintenance and landscaping.
The company’s new Canters were supplied by local Mercedes-Benz Dealer Euro Commercials – the German manufacturer’s Dealer Network is also responsible for sales and support of the popular Japanese light truck range in Britain.
Both are Canter 3C13 models with Comfort day cabs and economical, high-tech 3.0-litre engines that produce 96 kW (130 hp) and offer an impressive 300 Nm of torque at low revs. They also feature the Idle Start/Stop function and an engine brake as standard.
TR33’s new Canters are fitted with bodies by Dragon Fabrications, of Newport, and have locking cupboards immediately behind their cabs, for storing power saws and other equipment.
One, which at 2,500 mm has the shortest of the four available wheelbases, has a high-sided tipping body with ladder rack, purpose-designed for tree surgery work. The other has a 2,800mm wheelbase and dropside body.
TR33 was founded in 2001 by New Zealander David O’Brien. “I was a ‘one-man band’ back then, with a single battered truck,” he recalled. “Today, after 15 years of organic growth during which we have built enduring relationships with public bodies, commercial organisations and socially-oriented enterprises, as well as private customers, we are a team of 30 qualified arborists, horticulturists, mowers and cutters who are fully focused on providing the very best in arboriculture and horticulture. Whether the job requires a hand saw or a JCB, we can do it.”
TR33 works primarily in South Wales and the South-West, but has completed assignments as far afield as Sheffield. It runs a fleet of 16 vehicles, most of which are 3.5-tonners by another manufacturer. This is despite the outstanding reliability of its first Canter.
“That vehicle has been amazing,” enthused Mr O’Brien. “She was involved in an accident early on but she came back from that and has never let us down. Even now, we’ve only taken the Canter off active duty – it will still be useful as a spare and as a yard vehicle.”
With its tough ladder-style chassis the Canter is renowned for its strength and rugged durability, while its cab-over-engine design means it is also highly manoeuvrable. Both attributes mean it is well suited to arboricultural operations.
“Unlike the majority of 3.5-tonners, the Canter is not a van but a proper little truck,” said Mr O’Brien. “The fact that it does not have a bonnet meant we were able to specify the bodies we needed yet restrict the overall length of the vehicles. This makes life a lot easier for our crews, particularly when they’re working in built-up areas.”
Also key to the smallest Canter’s appeal for operators like TR33, is its high towing capacity of up to 3.5 tonnes. “We’ll regularly tow trailers with push mowers, strimmers, blowers and sprayers, as well as chippers and stump grinders, so this is another very useful feature,” explained Mr O’Brien.
Like all Canters, TR33’s new trucks have dashboard-mounted gearsticks for easy cross-cab access, and a comprehensive safety specification that includes ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, the ESP anti-skid system and a RISE (Realised Impact Safety Evolution) safety cell.
Adds Mr O’Brien: “The Canter is attractively priced and has proved to be highly cost-effective to operate. Euro Commercials’ Sales Executive Huw Salway was very helpful when we came to order and specify these new vehicles, and we are optimistic that the Dealer’s after sales service will prove similarly professional.”