The twin benefits of reduced size and extra manoeuvrability persuaded a Kent firm of waste management specialists to invest in a pair of 16-tonne Mercedes Atego skip-loaders in preference to its usual 18-tonners.
Snodland-based Any Waste Solution says the more compact dimensions of its short-wheelbase Atego 1624Ks make them far easier to operate – without any penalty in terms of reduced payload.
Operations Director Richard Monks explains: “These trucks spend most of their time running in and out of Maidstone town centre. It's a busy area and an 18-tonner will take up both lanes in some parts.
“But the Atego's cab is narrower, while the fact that we have specified the shortest wheelbase means these stubby vehicles are also highly manoeuvrable, so we're less likely to inconvenience the public.
“Yet because the Atego chassis is also that much lighter, we can still carry a good eight tonnes of payload on the 16-tonne Atego, which is no less than we get on our 18-tonne Axor.”
Supplied by Sittingbourne dealer Sparshatts of Kent, the new Atego are fitted with Telehoist skip-loading bodies and have taken their places in a fleet of 24 trucks, in which Mercedes-Benz is the predominant marque.
The line-up includes six other Mercedes skip vehicles – five 18-tonne Axor and a 15-tonne Atego supplied last year, for operation in London – and a 32-tonne Axor 3236K with Hyva body, which also arrived recently from Sparshatts.
Continues Mr Monks: “I'm only buying Mercedes-Benz skip wagons and roll-on roll-offs now, because they are best-suited to this job.
“Some makes of truck carry the weight well but aren't particularly manoeuvrable; with others, it's the opposite way round. But the Mercedes carries the load really well and offers an excellent turning circle, particularly with the short-wheelbase – it's a genuine all-rounder.”
The latest Axor is Any Waste Solution's first Mercedes eight-wheeler, and is used to carry commercial bins. “I never thought I'd switch from my previous 8×4 supplier,” says Mr Monks, “but Sparshatts loaned us an Axor demo unit and we were really impressed; the driver loved it.”
All of the operator's Mercedes trucks are serviced by Sparshatts under four-year Mercedes-Benz repair and maintenance contracts. “The dealer's back-up is another reason we've moved to Mercedes,” adds Mr Monks. “Sparshatts do all of the work through the night and we never incur any downtime.”
Any Waste Solution was founded five years ago by Mr Monks and his business partner Jamie Houston, and provides a comprehensive range of waste management services to commercial clients across the South-East.
The company was recently acquired by One51plc, of Ireland, but the current directors are pledged to remain at the helm for at least three years.