Baptism of fire

Benz’s heavy duty hauler is set for an out­back tor­ture test

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels - WITH JAMES STAN­FORD

THE next-gen­er­a­tion Mercedes-Benz heavy duty truck is be­ing put to the ul­ti­mate test in the Western Aus­tralian out­back.

Daim­ler Trucks Aus­tralia has started an ex­ten­sive test­ing pro­gram for the all-new Ac­tros and heavy duty Arocs vari­ant, which is ex­pected to go on sale lo­cally at some stage in the sec­ond half of next year.

Perth-based haulage com­pany Matic Trans­port has taken de­liv­ery of the first Arocs eval­u­a­tion truck and plans to push it hard to make sure it is able to cope with fa­mously tough Aus­tralian oper­a­tions.

Com­pany chief Danny (Zdenko) Matic tells Work­ing Wheels the Arocs will be put to work haul­ing a ce­ment pow­der road train from the Cock­burn ce­ment works in Perth to the Wheat­stone gas pro­ject near the Pil­bara town of Onslow, a 2800km round trip.

To start with, it will run with a Gross Com­bi­na­tion Mass (the com­bined weight of the truck, trailer and load) of 110 tonnes. If it passes that test, it will be run as a 150-tonne road train.

Matic runs a fleet made up mainly of Volvos, but also uses cur­rent gen­er­a­tion Ac­tros trucks. He has both six- and eight-cylin­der mod­els, with the V8s used for the big­ger loads.

Mercedes-Benz has moved away from the V8 en­gine for the new gen­er­a­tion Ac­tros and Arocs trucks, in­stead us­ing a new 16-litre in-line six-cylin­der.

The en­gine has sim­i­lar block to the cur­rent Detroit DD en­gines cur­rently avail­able in Freight­liner and Western Star trucks, but Mercedes says its en­gine quite dif­fer­ent and has 200 unique parts.

The new OM 473 six­cylin­der is avail­able with power rat­ings of be­tween 380kW (517hp) and 470kW (630hp), while the max­i­mum torque peaks at 3000Nm. Mercedes says that as much as 2500Nm of torque is avail­able at just 800rpm, just above idle.

The new Mercedes six­cylin­der uses turbo com­pound­ing tech­nol­ogy, which em­ploys an ad­di­tional tur­bine driven by spent ex­haust gas, send­ing ad­di­tional power to the en­gine gear drive us­ing a hy­dro­dy­namic clutch.

Mercedes says the turbo com­pound­ing sys­tem re­sults in a more ea­ger en­gine re­sponse, es­pe­cially at lower speeds and also leads to a 2 per cent fuel sav­ing at high­way speeds.

The en­gine also fea­tures a su­per high-pres­sure com­mon­rail fuel-in­jec­tion sys­tem, with pres­sures of up to 2100 bar.

It has dual over­head camshafts, which are hol­low and made from light­weight com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als.

The new OM 473 meets the Euro VI emis­sion stan­dard, which is sev­eral years away from be­ing im­ple­mented in Aus­tralia, us­ing AdBlue for its Se­lec­tive Cat­alytic Re­duc­tion ex­haust treat­ment sys­tem.

It is teamed with a third­gen­er­a­tion Pow­erShift au­to­mated man­ual, avail­able with 16 gears in the most pow­er­ful Arocs.

Matic says he is look­ing for­ward to putting the new tech­nol­ogy of the Arocs eval­u­a­tion ve­hi­cle to the test.

“We will cer­tainly work it hard and that’s what it’s all about,” Matic says.

“The driver who will be in it loves his Ac­tros and was very keen to test this one. He will be able to give them a lot of de­tailed feed­back.”

Matic, who now spends much of his time run­ning the com­pany, says he will get back be­hind the wheel to check out the new Mercedes.

“I will def­i­nitely take it for a drive,” he says. “I’m re­ally in­ter­ested to see what it is like.”

The Arocs road train was pre­sented at the open­ing of the $30 mil­lion Daim­ler Trucks deal­er­ship in Perth.

Painted in matt black, it has been fit­ted with a cus­tom Vshaped bull bar and large LED spot­lights. The in­te­rior is more car-like than pre­vi­ous of­fer­ings.

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