New Mercedes-Benz gritters were pressed into action as temperatures dropped and winter began to bite, keeping traffic on the M40 motorway flowing smoothly and safely.
Its previous experience of excellent reliability prompted highways contractor Carillion to invest in another 10 double-drive Axor 2629s, which were supplied by Wolverhampton dealer Midlands Truck & Van with support from Mercedes-Benz UK.
Martin Saxton, Carillion’s National Transport Manager, said: "We used Mercedes-Benz trucks when we were first awarded this contract 14 years ago and they proved absolutely dependable throughout a tough, 10-year working life.
"For comparison purposes we’ve also tried vehicles by another manufacturer. But they did not perform to the same high standard so we quickly returned to Mercedes-Benz."
The latest 26-tonne chassis are fitted with grit hoppers and spreading equipment by Econ Engineering, of Ripon, North Yorkshire. Econ has worked closely with Mercedes-Benz on the specification of the vehicles, and its systems are designed to work with the Axor’s own electronics.
The automated spreaders are linked to control centre computers, which allow routes to be pre-programmed and ‘loaded’ into the truck’s memory before it sets out. The equipment then automatically deposits the correct amount of rock salt on each section of highway, leaving the driver free to concentrate fully on the road ahead, an obvious safety benefit.
The Axors are also capable of operating at higher speeds than traditional spreader-ploughs, which allows them to cover more ground in the same time. As well as increasing efficiency, this also minimises delays to other traffic.
Andy Hicks, Carillion’s M40 Contract Manager, added: "If you’re responsible for keeping open one of the country’s major national transport arteries it’s obviously vitally important that your trucks can be relied upon not to break down. Mercedes-Benz gives us that security."