Supplied by dealer Sparshatts Truck & Van, the new additions are supplied on contract hire from MC Rental, of Maidstone, and are operating from the Ferns Group’s Wembley depot.
Both are Econic 3235L ENA models with single front steer axles, double-drive bogies and rear-steer axles – a configuration for optimum manoeuvrability.
Power is provided by 7.7-litre, six-cylinder engines which produce 350bhp and are paired with six-speed Allison automatic gearboxes.
Steel tipping bodies are by Thompson, and their Epsilon M125L cranes have clamshell buckets and offer a maximum outreach of 8.2m.
MC Group sales director Dave Hutchins says: “We compared various low-entry options and liaised closely on the design with bodybuilder Thompson. The need to accommodate ancillaries such as the hydraulics tank, crane legs and the carriers for Ferns’ upright ‘wacker plate’ rammers, which weigh 60kg apiece, meant that space on the chassis was at a premium.
“Our conclusion, ultimately, was that in addition to its obvious safety attributes, the Econic offered more usable room between the chassis rails, and therefore represented the best overall package for our customer.”
The low-entry Econic has the maximum five-star Direct Vision rating from Transport for London, with its deep panoramic windscreen and fully glazed passenger door. Ferns Surfacing’s Econics also have audible left-turn alarms and all-round CCTV systems.
James Gupwell, Ferns Group’s transport director, says: “A strong culture of safety runs through every part of the Ferns Group business, and these very impressive Mercedes-Benz trucks underscore our determination to adopt a proactive approach when it comes to the protection of vulnerable road users.”
He adds: “We’ll be monitoring the Econics’ performance closely over the coming weeks and months to check they also offer the resilience and reliability we need, and fit into our short haul, quick turnaround workstreams as well as we hope.
“Assuming all goes well, though, as I’m confident it will, we’d anticipate adding up to 10 more over the next year, for our London operations.”