Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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Mercedes-Benz’s 2012: New markets and new models

Throughout Daimler’s introduction to the new Antos, the word “focus” kept cropping up, referring to the intention to concentrate the abilities of the new middle-weight range into a closely defined sector, that of heavy duty local and regional distribution. The Antos place in the Mercedes-Benz truck range sits between the 7.5- to 18-tonne Atego, and the new Actros family, intended for long-distance operations.

The existing Axor continues in production for as long as there is a demand for Euro-5.With the ITotY judging deadline looming, Daimler had pulled out the stops to make a selection of pre-production vehicles available to drive, two days before full production began, which explains the last vestiges of testing camouflage. The example driven is an Antos 1835 LS 4×2 tractor, which was hitched to a tri-axle curtainsider, probably larger than many High Street operations will use.Like every Antos, it comes with Euro-6 emissions and automated transmission. As well as being our first Antos drive, it was also the first sampling of the OM936 engine.

The new 7.7-litre six-cylinder, along with the other Antos engines, has already been described in detail (CM 22 March) but its technical highlights include an exhaust camshaft with variable valve timing and very high, 2,400 bar, common-rail injection pressure. Our example had the highest rated OM936, 349hp, in a five-version line-up that begins at 235hp. The other engine choices are OM470 (10.7 litres, 355-422hp) and OM471 (12.7 litres, 416-503hp). In this context, the significant alternative is the lowest rated OM470, which offers 6hp more, but more importantly, 300Nm more torque than the lighter 7.7 litre unit.

Settling down into the slimline day cab, we noted the same high standard of fixtures and fittings that have impressed in the Actros, although the trim is designed to be capable of withstanding more frequent cab entry/exit cycles. By definition, there’s limited storage space behind the seats but, helped by a large bin between the seats, there’s more than enough for the usual complement of dinner bags, day-glo jacket and newspapers. The extended cab, with its folding 600mm width bunk will provide room for the occasional rest, but we’re not sure how UK distribution fleet buyers, who traditionally specify full sleeper cabs for residual value reasons, will view these two choices.

Our drive started with an easy section of dual-carriageway but soon turned into a network of hilly country roads and tight town centres, which provided a good overview of the sort of real world environment the Antos is designed for. The new Actros style of much tighter suspension linkages showed itself in very precise handling in tight situations, but without the nervousness that can be felt at higher speeds until familiarity takes over.

On the very hilly sections, the PowerShift 12-speeder had to work to keep 40 tonnes rolling with just 1,400Nm, but it never felt noticably under-powered. On the downhills, the optional high-performance engine brake never needed more than the odd dab of the pedal to maintain order, giving a good compromise against an expensive retarder. The only negative part of our drive was on a couple of occasions when starting from rest took longer than it felt it should, as though the hill start assist was holding on for too long. Overall, though, the Antos looks set to bring the same advances to its sector as the Actros has to long-distance haulage.

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