The first Arocs, a left-hand drive version, is now in service with suction excavation specialist Vac-Ex, of Doncaster. It is also due to receive another two, identical trucks before the end of the year. The remaining four Arocs have all been specified in right-hand drive form, for use by a prominent multinational infrastructure group.
The Econic has been built for another specialist operator of suction excavation equipment, which is based in Chesterfield. This company chose the low-entry chassis for its Direct Vision safety credentials, and is looking forward to the arrival of its new truck later this month.
Purpose-designed for construction applications, the muscular Arocs is ideally suited to site work. The trucks supplied to MTS Suction Systems employ second-generation 12.8-litre engines which produce 375 kW (510 hp) and drive through Mercedes PowerShift automated transmissions.
The bodybuilder’s UK Managing Director Russell Fairhurst said: “We are client-led when it comes to vehicle marque, and this is the first time we’ve sourced Mercedes-Benz chassis here in the UK, rather than from Germany.
Vehicles built by MTS Suction Systems typically cost between £350,000 and £400,000 apiece, so represent high-value investments. Despite this, the explosion over recent years in the use of fibre optics and other underground services mean the company’s vacuum excavators are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional machinery such as mini-diggers, and even shovels.
Not only do they offer protection from injury for operatives who might otherwise hit live electricity cables or other utilities beneath the ground, but they also help contractors to minimise the risk of incurring potentially crippling fines for damaging infrastructure.
Vac-Ex proprietor John Mee commented: “We run a mixed-marque fleet currently, but moving forward will only be buying Mercedes-Benz trucks. The three-pointed star conveys an image of quality and professionalism, while experience has proved the Arocs to be exceptionally reliable and cost-effective to operate. The manufacturer’s contract maintenance provision also represents very good value, and the back-up we receive from our local Dealer is first class.” Mr Mee’s company was trading under another name when it purchased its first suction excavator, which was also one of the UK’s first MTS-built vehicles, 12 years ago. “We knew the risks associated with working in the vicinity of underground services and felt this was the right way forward,” he recalled. “It’s proved to have been a wise decision.”