The UK’s largest independent coffin and casket manufacturer is running its biggest vehicle yet, a 12-tonne Mercedes-Benz Atego with low-emission Euro VI engine.
Washington-based JC Atkinson has won recognition for the environmental approach it applies to all aspects of its operation, including a National Green Award from the British Chambers of Commerce and a Sunday Times Best Green Company trophy. It has also received a North-East Business Award for Corporate Social Responsibility and this year collected the coveted Best Creative Company prize from the same body.
Supplied by North-East Dealer Bell Truck and Van, the new Atego 1223 wears JC Atkinson’s green tree logo – as long ago as 1995 the operator introduced its Tree Tribute initiative, a pledge to plant a sweet chestnut for every solid coffin sold.
JC Atkinson has been trading since 1936 and moved 10 years ago from its previous home in Sunderland, to the purpose-built, 38,000 sq ft production facility on the Wear Industrial Estate at which it now manufactures 60,000 coffins a year.
Its new flagship has an L ClassicSpace sleeper cab, a 26ft box body by Robinson Truck Bodies, of Blaydon-On-Tyne, and a 1,000 kg Anteo tuckaway tail-lift. Capable of carrying just under 100 coffins, the truck makes multi-drop deliveries to funeral homes nationwide. It is also fitted with four side lockers, which are used to return clinical waste for processing in the company’s transfer station.
JC Atkinson runs a fleet of 14 commercial vehicles, all but one of which are by Mercedes-Benz: the line-up also includes three Atego 10-tonners, seven Sprinters – five Lutons and a couple of panel vans – and two Vito vans.
Operations Director Ian Handley explained: “We like Mercedes-Benz products because they offer outstanding reliability and come with a very good warranty, as well as excellent Dealer back-up. Our larger vehicles are serviced under R&M contracts by Bell Truck and Van, and typically cover 100,000 miles a year – experience has shown that they don’t let us down.”
The Euro VI Mercedes-Benz Atego range comprises no fewer than 42 model variants in the 6.5-16-tonne gvw light distribution segment. Customers can choose from four cab designs, all with new seats and ergonomically designed dashboards, while power comes from state-of-the-art four-cylinder OM 934 and six-cylinder OM936 engines.
Drivers of new Atego models benefit from the impressively high torque characteristics of these units, even at low revs, as well as outstanding comfort and manoeuvrability – the chassis, rear suspension, cab mounting and steering system have all been comprehensively reworked.
JC Atkinson’s new truck has the ‘four pot’ engine and transmits its 170 kW (231 hp) output to the road via the smooth and swift-changing Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated gearshift which is fitted as standard across the range.
Euro VI Atego models also offer a 90% reduction in particulate and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, while consuming significantly less fuel and up to 40% less AdBlue than their Euro 5 equivalents.
Mr Handley added: “We are striving constantly at JC Atkinson to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment. With its low-emission credentials, improved efficiency, and competitive whole life running costs, our latest Mercedes-Benz Atego complements this strategy perfectly.”