S Walsh has clear safety benefits with Mercedes Econic tipper03 May 2016

Contractor S Walsh & Sons has taken delivery of its first Mercedes-Benz vehicle, a high-visibility Econic – also the first Econic to be specified for muckaway duties.

Supplied by dealer S&B Commercials, the Essex-based operator’s addition is an 8x4 Econic 3235 ENA model. It has a single front steer axle, double-drive bogie and rear-steer axle, giving it a tighter turning circle than a conventional 32-tonne construction eight-wheeler.

The low-entry Econic has a deep, panoramic windscreen, fully-glazed kerbside door and low seating position, boosting driver visibility of cyclists and pedestrians. The vehicle is also equipped with cameras, including one to monitor driver behaviour.

Senior transport manager Nathan Hopgood says: “The Econic offers a 19-tonne payload, which is certainly competitive. More importantly, though, it represents a major step forward in terms of safety.”

A former driver, Hopgood has taken the new Econic out himself: “The driving position is very different to anything I’d experienced before, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to be.

“After just half an hour on the road, though, I realised that I really liked it. You see a lot more of what’s around you... From the perspective of the guy at the wheel, the Econic is very reassuring – as a result, a shift in this vehicle would certainly be less stressful than one in a conventional eight-wheeler.”

S Walsh & Sons’ vehicle has a Fruehauf steel tipping body and is being used on several construction projects in London, including the Battersea Power Station redevelopment and Crossrail scheme. The truck collects spoil, much of it clay, which it then tips at various locations in Essex.

The operator is a CLOCS champion and accredited to Gold standard by FORS.

The vehicle is being inspected and serviced under a Mercedes R&M contract by S&B Commercials, Thurrock.

Laura Cork

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