Construction waste management and recycling specialist GBN Services has become one of Britain’s first customers for vehicles from the all-new, low-emission Mercedes-Benz Arocs truck family.
The environmentally-conscious company, which operates primarily in London and Essex, is running three Arocs: a double-drive tractor unit and a pair of 18-tonners, one of which pulls a drawbar trailer. All were supplied by Sittingbourne Dealer Sparshatts of Kent.
The muscular Arocs is the third piece in the Mercedes-Benz truck ‘product offensive’ jigsaw – it follows the New Actros long distance haulage champion and the Antos short-radius distribution model.
Available in a huge number of variants, the purpose-designed range comprises tractors and four-, six- and eight-wheeled rigids, with gross weights from 18 to 250 tonnes. All combine previously unseen levels of performance and efficiency, with state-of-the-art Euro VI engines that offer mpg savings of up to 5% compared to equivalent, outgoing models. AdBlue consumption, meanwhile, is reduced by as much as 40%.
GBN Services has headquarters at Leyton, and other depots in Uxbridge, New Southgate, Basildon, Harlow (where it has two sites) and Southend. Its fleet of more than 100 trucks is dominated by Mercedes-Benz – the only vehicles not wearing three-pointed stars are those it has picked up through a growth strategy based on the acquisition of other companies working in the same field.
GBN’s 6×4 Arocs tractor unit is a 2648S model with 350 kW (480 hp) 12.8-litre straight-six engine and flat-floored StreamSpace cab. It works with an ejector trailer and carries wood waste for processing between depots, as well as transporting to landfill the small proportion of construction waste that GBN cannot recycle – the company aims within the next year to achieve a 100% recycling rate, with nothing going to landfill.
The two 18-tonners, meanwhile, are based at GBN’s newest depot, in Uxbridge, which is licensed to process up to half a million tonnes of waste per year. Fitted with Hyva skip-loading gear theses trucks typically carry the 12-yard bins favoured by the construction industry.
Both are powered by 7.7-litre straight-sixes. One is an 1824K model with 175 kW (240 hp) engine, the other an 1832K with 235 kW (320 hp) powerplant – GBN specified the higher output for this vehicle because it regularly travels further afield in ‘wagon and drag’ configuration at up to 32 tonnes gtw, its ability to carry a second bin on the new Reload Systems drawbar trailer making longer trips economically worthwhile.
In line with GBN policy all three Arocs are equipped to Crossrail specification, with four-way cameras, blind spot proximity sensors, side under-run guards and audible warning alerts to protect cyclists.
The new vehicles will also support the operator’s bid to achieve the new gold standard – it currently holds bronze – of Transport for London’s voluntary Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), which seeks to make London’s roads safer, cleaner and less congested.
GBN Services Managing Director Garry Hobson says: "We were keen to try the Arocs at the first opportunity, not least because environmental compatibility is at the top of the agenda for customers who always like to hear what we’re doing to reduce our own carbon footprint.
"First impressions of the new model are very positive. It looks fantastic and is clearly well thought out and built to withstand the punishment that’s inevitable in an operation such as our own."
He continues: "The varied nature of our work makes it difficult to measure and compare fuel consumption accurately but our new trucks are certainly using less diesel, while they’re hardly consuming any AdBlue, because the levels in the tanks have barely gone down at all.
"Our drivers like the Arocs too, particularly the new Mercedes PowerShift automated transmission which changes quicker and more smoothly than the system they’ve been used to."
GBN Services has also ordered a pair of 8×4 Arocs with Heil refuse collection bodies, which Sparshatts will deliver in 2014.
"We commissioned our first new Mercedes-Benz skip lorry in 1994 and have been buying them ever since," says Mr Hobson. "They’ve proved over the years to be exceptionally strong, reliable and cost-effective to operate."
Acquired with funding support from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, its first three Arocs are being inspected and serviced within the manufacturer’s Dealer network under seven-year Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contracts.
Adds Mr Hobson: "The back-up is also first class, while Sparshatts’ truck sales executive Kevin Haynes goes to great lengths to ensure that our vehicles are perfectly specified for the job, and they invariably arrive on time and exactly as ordered."