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Plant Speed adds muscle with £1m Mercedes-Benz Actros Titan rig

Heavy haulage specialist Plant Speed is running the most expensive truck ever sold by Mercedes-Benz in the UK – a mighty Actros Titan which, together with its new Scheuerle modular equipment, represents an investment by the Bristol-based company of more than £1 million!

Supplied by South West dealer City West Commercials, the 8×4 Actros 4165S has a flat-floored MegaSpace cab and is powered by a 650 hp 16-litre V8 engine. This is mated to a Mercedes PowerShift automated transmission which works in conjunction with Voith’s new Turbo Clutch.

The truck was specified with a full complement of options and cost some £220,000, while the bill for the supremely capable and flexible German-built trailer – which can be coupled with up to 10 axle lines – came in at £800,000.

Plant Speed specialises in the movement of heavy plant, machinery and ‘out-of-gauge’ equipment throughout the UK and Europe, and employs a highly trained and experienced team of drivers and support staff capable of handling the most awkward and delicate loads.

The company operates another 16 tractors with gross combination weights of between 44 and 150 tonnes gcw from its base on the River Fields Estate – as well as being its first Mercedes-Benz vehicle, the Actros Titan is also its first 250-tonner.

Managing Director Paul Lomas says the truck is already opening the door to new business opportunities. "We can now transport equipment on behalf of wind turbine manufacturers and steel industry customers, for example, that weighs in excess of 200 tonnes," he explains.

"Our Actros Titan flagship looks fantastic and is clearly built to the very high standards for which Mercedes-Benz is renowned. The new transmission means the truck is also very easy to drive. It’s highly sensitive, so low speed manoeuvrability is excellent, while the automated ‘box is also a lot smoother than a manual."

The 16-speed Mercedes PowerShift and Turbo Clutch combination has replaced the manual ‘box and torque converter clutch previously deployed on Titan heavy haulage models. This arrangement required a separate retarder for additional braking, but this is no longer needed because the Turbo Clutch has its own, powerful integrated retarder.

As well as freeing up space on the chassis and saving weight, the Turbo Clutch is wear-free, more fuel-efficient, and offers finer control characteristics when pulling away and during low-speed manoeuvring under heavy loads. It is capable of handling and delivering some 3,000Nm of torque, significantly more than a traditional torque converter.

Prior to taking delivery of his new truck, Mr Lomas visited the Mercedes-Benz Titan factory in Germany. "It was hugely impressive," he recalls. "The engineers to whom I spoke were highly knowledgeable about our industry, which was very reassuring."

And he adds: "These are still early days, of course, but the service I’ve received to date from Truck Sales Executive Simon Johnson-Taylor and his colleagues at City West Commercials has been first class; it’s obvious to me that this is a very professional dealership."

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