Baptism of fire
Benz’s heavy duty hauler is set for an outback torture test
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.