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Cables specialist dials-up 8×4 Mercedes-Benz Axor

When civil engineering firm Taylor-Webb Communications decided to purchase its first crane truck, one name was at the top of its shopping list – Mercedes-Benz.

The Norwich company works on a prestigious contract to lay underground cables and other apparatus for British Telecom throughout Norfolk.

Supplied by Orwell Truck & Van, the Mercedes-Benz dealer for East Anglia, its new truck is an 8×4 Axor 3243. The truck has a Charlton SuperLite muckaway tipping body by Charlton Bodies, of Dover, which also fitted its 10-tonne/metre Epsilon 125L crane.

Taylor-Webb had previously relied on hired vehicles to undertake major highway excavations and reinstatements. "But Orwell suggested we could make savings by acquiring our own vehicle," said Director Michael Webb, "and so it has proved."

He continued: "Mercedes-Benz trucks have a reputation for being the toughest and most durable on the market, while the relatively light weight of the 32-tonne Axor chassis translates into an excellent payload potential – despite its steel body and crane our new truck offers a competitive carrying capacity of 16,500kg."

Taylor-Webb has also just taken delivery from Orwell Truck & Van of its first two 7.5-tonne Fuso Canters from the new range launched this spring – Mercedes-Benz dealers in the UK are also responsible for sales and support of the popular Japanese light truck range.

Both range-topping Canter 7C18 models, they came fitted as standard with DUONIC transmissions. The world’s first dual-clutch automatic transmission for light trucks, DUONIC ensures a safer, smoother drive.

Their arrivals bring to eight the number of Canters operated by Taylor-Webb. With specially designed tool boxes behind the cabs and alloy dropside tipping bodies by Priden Engineering, of Wisbech, these vehicles also offer impressive payloads comfortably in excess of 3.5 tonnes.

"We use them to transport men and materials to and from sites," said Mr Webb. "They’re fantastic workhorses, very strong but quite compact, so they can access tight areas and don’t take up as much room on the highway as a conventional 7.5-tonner."

As it has done with its Canters, the operator is funding its latest acquisition with support from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.

The eight-wheeler will be serviced under a five-year Mercedes-Benz repair and maintenance contract by the workshop team at Orwell Truck & Van’s dealership on the Airport Industrial Estate in Norwich, a stone’s throw from Taylor-Webb’s own headquarters.

"The guys at Orwell provide a first-class service and have done everything we’ve asked," confirmed Mr Webb. "We drop our vehicles off with them last thing at night and pick them up again the next morning, so they’re always available for work when we need them.

"Truck sales executive Tony Simmons has been fantastic. From day one he kept us involved in the design and manufacturing process for the eight-wheeler, even taking me to the Charlton factory at Dover to see the vehicle at bodybuilding stage. His efforts allowed me to concentrate on my business, while he did all the leg work.

"And Canter sales executive Ray Braybrook recommended that we write to the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency, to request an extension to the maintenance intervals for our Canters from six to 10 weeks. We did so and VOSA agreed, so we’re making savings as a result. But Orwell didn’t have to raise this issue – the fact that they did so demonstrates their commitment to supporting customers such as ourselves."

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