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Low-height Actros is liquid gold

Half as much again – that's the extra carrying capacity WIT Transport Solutions has achieved with its new Mercedes Actros drawbar rig, thanks to the truck's low-height chassis and the innovative design of its German-built bodywork.

The Worksop company is a general haulier but specialises in the nationwide distribution of intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) manufactured by Schutz UK, which has a production facility in the town. An alternative to the traditional 45-gallon drum, these 1,000-litre IBCs are used to carry liquids such as paints, chemicals and fuels.

WIT Transport Solutions has been a Mercedes operator since the mid-1980s. It runs a fleet of 26 trucks, ranging from 7.5-tonners to 38-tonne tractor units, all but two of which wear the three-pointed star of Mercedes.

The latest arrival via Mansfield dealer Mertrux was a Mercedes Actros 1841LL Midi-Line drawbar rigid – WIT also has a second, identical unit on order. Both truck body and trailer are the work of German firm Kotschenreuther.

The fully air-suspended, 408bhp Actros 1841LL offers a maximum gtw of 40 tonnes but WIT's has been downplated for operation at 32,640kgs gtw. The rig can carry a total of 84 IBCs, exactly 50 per cent more than WIT had achieved previously.

Key to the success of Kotschenreuther's design are the low ride height of the Actros' Midi-Line chassis and an innovative system that allows the roof to be raised when loading or unloading. As a result of both, WIT has been able to add an extra layer of IBCs while remaining below the 4.5-metre overall height that is crucial for operation at chemical plants, for example, where overhead pipes would otherwise present a hazard.

“We're very pleased indeed with this new vehicle; it's achieving everything we'd hoped,” enthuses WIT Managing Director Philip Brown. “This is the first time we have used a German bodybuilder, and we've done so because of their particular expertise in this area.

“They have a four-metre height limit in Germany – anything above that is an abnormal load – so they are particularly focused on getting much usable space as possible between the bed of the vehicle and the top of the roof.”

Like its other big Mercedes, WIT's new Actros is being serviced under an r&m contract at the new depot in Mansfield which Mertrux opened a little over a year ago.

“The dealer's new facility is a lot more convenient for us,” continues Mr Brown, “while our Mercedes trucks continue to be reliable and fuel-efficient, as well as popular with the drivers. We've tried the rest but Mercs come out best.”

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