Fletcher Access raises fleet capability with a Mercedes-Benz Unimog04 April 2019

Fletcher Access has taken delivery of a Mercedes-Benz Unimog, with the all-terrain vehicle replacing three vehicles used by the operator to perform the same duties.

Supplied by dealer Rygor Commercials, the Worcester-based operator’s new addition is a 15.5-tonne gvw U530 model, driven by a 7.7-litre six-cylinder engine producing 295bhp with a fully synchronised, electro-pneumatic transmission that has eight forward and six reverse gears. The optional working gear range provides another eight forward and eight reverse gears.

Off-road features include permanent all-wheel drive, good ground clearance, and uprated portal axles with differential locks; it will also operate effectively at 56mph on the road.

Fletcher Access undertakes a range of overhead assignments at heights of up to 42 metres, including tree work, roof maintenance, and cleaning, while also offering powered access equipment for hire.

Options specified on the vehicle include Central Tyre Inflation (CTI) technology, which enables the driver to reduce tyre pressure without leaving the cab, and Vario Pilot, which allows the steering wheel to be moved to the other side of the vehicle in around 30 seconds.

Fletcher Access also specified air conditioning, air-suspended driver and passenger seats, and front and rear cameras with monitor.

The Unimog came with a factory-fitted Scattolini tipping body for which Bodycraft, of Worcester, fabricated a high-sided box with lockable rear doors. Using a front-mounted wood chipper driven by the truck’s PTO, Fletcher Access can load chippings through four openings in the roof.

The operator also uses the truck to carry up to four baffled, 1,000-litre (one tonne) demountable tanks of rain water, which it harvests and purifies at its base, together with the power washers, ground protection boards, and other equipment for high-reach cleaning services.

A VBG drawbar coupling, meanwhile, allows the Unimog to tow a tandem-axle trailer at a gross combination weight of up to 26 tonnes. The trailer transports the company’s tracked access platforms, the biggest of which has a 42m reach and tips the scales at seven tonnes.

The U530 has replaced a 7.5-tonne Atego truck with hydraulic boom lift, which Fletcher Access used to tow its trailer, as well as a pair of Sprinter vans, each of which carried a single, 1,000-litre tank of water.

Simon Fletcher, co-founder of Fletcher Access, says: “The Atego was due for replacement so, having long favoured Mercedes-Benz vehicles for their reliability and longevity, we considered various options with Rygor.” These included a flatbed truck with beavertail, he adds, but the dealer suggested a Unimog.

A visit to a Mercedes-Benz Unimog Live event confirmed the vehicle’s potential. “We were able to specify the Unimog perfectly to meet the needs of our various operations,” he says.

“It represents a very substantial investment, but we plan to run the truck for 15 years and are convinced it will prove to be money well spent. It has improved efficiency from the outset by replacing three other vehicles, and offers the multi-role flexibility which ensures that whatever the job, we can use it every day.”

The Unimog is maintained by Rygor’s Kidderminster workshop under a Mercedes-Benz Complete Service contract.

Laura Cork

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