Heavy haulage specialist Ruttle Plant is reaping valuable fuel savings from its first 8×4 tractor unit, a 155-tonne Mercedes-Benz Arocs equipped with the new Turbo Retarder Clutch that has already won widespread acclaim from the industry.
The family-owned operator, which is based in Chorley, Lancashire, took delivery of its latest fleet flagship from Dealer Ciceley Commercials. Ruttle Plant placed Britain’s first order for a four-axled 155-tonne Arocs after trialling a 6×4 demonstration unit.
Director Gareth Ruttle recalled: “We’d heard a lot of good things about the Arocs range and were particularly keen to try the Turbo Retarder Clutch. It certainly lived up to its billing our lead driver Paul Mather loved it, and so did I.”
Stunningly finished in Ruttle Plant’s new, eye-catching livery, with roof-mounted light bar, airhorns and chrome trim, the company’s first Mercedes-Benz heavy hauler is so highly specified that it is nearly identical to the 250-tonne Arocs SLT model, save for a handful of differences the most significant of which is the absence of an auxiliary cooling pack.
The all-steel sprung unit has a flat-floored BigSpace cab and is powered by the top-rated 460 kW (625 hp) version of the OM 473 in-line six-cylinder engine. This 15.6-litre unit develops maximum output at just 1,600 rpm, while – significantly for heavy haulage operators – up to 3,000 Nm of torque is available from little more than idle speed.
Completing the drive system are the 16-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmission and the Turbo Retarder Clutch. Wear-free, fuel-efficient, and offering exceptionally fine control characteristics when pulling away and during low-speed manoeuvring under heavy loads, the Turbo Retarder Clutch significantly out-performs a traditional torque converter. It also has its own, powerful integrated primary retarder, which negates the requirement for a separate retarder to assist the engine brake.
The Ruttle Group of companies began trading in 1958 and Ruttle Plant specialises in all aspects of construction equipment hire and sales, from five branches nationwide. However, the Arocs will spend most of its time hauling for third-party customers.
“We’ll be making full use of the new truck’s 155-tonne gcw, and will run it regularly with a Noteboom Euro 83 low-loader trailer and removable Jeep dolly,” continued Gareth Ruttle. “As our first 8×4 vehicle it’s going to give us a lot more flexibility for moving heavy loads up and down the country.”
Driver Paul Mather enthused: “The Arocs is a lovely truck to drive. I was a bit apprehensive about having an auto at first but the combination of the PowerShift transmission and the Turbo Retarder Clutch is fantastic – I have all the control I could need for slow manoeuvring with pinpoint accuracy, and there’s bags of torque available from very low revs. It really ‘does what it says on the tin’.”
And he added: “I’ve also noticed a big improvement in economy, compared to my previous, 6×4 truck. I’ve just completed a couple of runs pulling a piling rig and a crushing machine at 105 tonnes gcw, and returned 5.5 mpg. My old truck would have been closer to the 4.5 mpg mark on the same work, and the Arocs isn’t even run in yet!”
Ruttle Plant will maintain the Arocs in its own workshop, with parts and technical support from Ciceley Commercials.