Riteweld’s 3.5-tonne Canter 3C13 is fitted with an optional DUONIC transmission, the world’s first dual-clutch automatic transmission for light trucks, which ensures a safer, smoother drive – DUONIC is a standard feature on 7.5-tonne Canter models.
Founded in 1983 by Managing Director Doug Young, Riteweld Engineering specialises in the design, fabrication and installation of structural and architectural steel, particularly staircases and fire escapes. It also undertakes projects in wrought iron and aluminium.
Riteweld chose another Canter after enjoying 10 years’ unstinting service from a previous model. "The nature of our business meant it had to withstand a fair amount of punishment," said Mr Young, "but that truck proved to be an exceptionally strong and reliable workhorse. So, of course, when it finally reached the end of the road, another Canter was at the top of our list."
Supplied by Milton Keynes Mercedes-Benz dealer Intercounty Truck & Van – the German manufacturer’s UK network is also responsible for sales and support of the Fuso light truck range in the UK – Riteweld’s new vehicle is fitted with a long, 5.0-metre dropside body by Newlands Coachworks, of Northampton.
The 2012 Canter range represents another significant step forward compared to the line-up it has replaced, and a huge advance on the 10-year-old truck which Riteweld has just stood down!
Offering new levels of strength, efficiency and productivity, the latest models are powered by state-of-the-art, 3.0-litre, four-cylinder engines – Riteweld’s vehicle has a 130hp output – which not only meet Euro 5 emissions limits, but also the more stringent, and voluntary, EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) standard.
Another innovative option also specified by Riteweld is the optional Idle Start/Stop (ISS) function. By automatically cutting the engine when the vehicle is stationary in traffic or at lights, then starting it again when the driver is ready to move off, this helps sharply to reduce fuel consumption.
The redesigned cab is also more spacious than its predecessor, while further improvements have been made to the suspension, and the thoroughly remodelled frame now supports even bigger payloads.
Riteweld uses its Canter to transport members of its team, together with their tools and fabricated metalwork, to job sites for installation – larger transport movements are assigned to a third-party contractor.
"Our new Canter is a world apart from the last one," confirmed Mr Young. "The cab is much more comfortable and better appointed, and the auto ‘box impressively smooth.
"Although most of our customers are based in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, we also work in London from time to time. We couldn’t take our old vehicle into the city because it didn’t meet the emissions regulations, but with this new one we’ll be covered for years to come."
Mr Young is also delighted with the three-year Mercedes-Benz Agility finance contract arranged by dealer Intercounty. This offers customers all the benefits of conventional hire purchase with a ‘balloon’ payment – including, most notably, low monthly outgoings. But at the end of the term it also allows them to choose between paying off the final lump sum and keeping the vehicle, extending the agreement by spreading the balloon payment over a further term, or simply returning the vehicle.
"There’s no way of knowing what the economic climate will be in three years’ time, or how the business will be doing," explained Mr Young. "So I like the idea of keeping my options open."