Updated : 23.01.2018

Wincanton puts safety first

The largest British logistics company is upgrading its fleet with another 100 Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units featuring the latest, cutting-edge safety technology.

Wincanton’s new trucks, the last of which will be in service by the end of January, are hauling shipping containers on skeletal trailers. Supplied by East Anglia Dealer Orwell Truck & Van, most are based at Felixstowe, while others work from Liverpool and Birmingham.

Winner of the prestigious Haulier of the Year trophy at the Motor Transport Awards 2017, Wincanton has specified the Actros 2545s with flat-floored versions of the aerodynamic, StreamSpace cab. Their economical, 330 kW (450 hp) six-cylinder engines are paired with smooth, efficient Mercedes PowerShift automated transmissions.

To further improve fuel returns, Wincanton has added optional Predictive Powertrain Control systems. Meanwhile, the company’s commitments to compliance and responsible operation – it has reduced lost-time accident rates by 70% over the last five years – explain its decision to include a Mercedes-Benz Safety Pack on each truck.

Also available on Antos and some Arocs models, the Safety Pack incorporates pioneering Active Brake Assist 4 and Proximity Control Assist technology, as well as a driver’s airbag. It represents exceptional value – not only does the Safety Pack help fleet managers to meet their Duty of Care obligations, but it also offers them savings of up to 30% on the price of the individual options.      

Fuel- efficient and cost-effective

Active Brake Assist 4, for which Mercedes-Benz took the Best Truck Innovation of the Year honours at the 2017 Commercial Fleet Awards, employs multi-mode radar to monitor moving and stationary objects in front of the vehicle, from a speed of 15 km/h. The system sounds an audible warning when it senses potential for a collision. If the driver takes no action, it will apply staged braking followed by full braking power to prevent a crash, or dramatically reduce the effects of an impact. Active Brake Assist 4 incorporates a ‘world first’ in the form of pedestrian recognition.  On detecting a moving pedestrian – the system even recognises one stepping into the truck’s path from behind a parked car – it can apply partial braking while simultaneously activating acoustic and visual warnings, up to a speed of 50km/h.

Proximity Control Assist works in conjunction with the truck’s cruise control program, and intervenes automatically to restrict speed and maintain a pre-set distance from a vehicle in front. This system contributes to safety by reducing the risk of rear-end shunts and promoting more comfortable, stress-free driving in nose-to-tail traffic.

Wincanton’s Group Fleet Director Carl Hanson saw and felt Active Brake Assist 4 in action on the high-speed bowl at Bedfordshire’s Millbrook Proving Ground in November 2016, when Mercedes-Benz Trucks staged its first RoadEfficiency LIVE presentation. So powerful and compelling was this experience, that he has ensured the Safety Pack option box is ticked for every Mercedes-Benz tractor unit ordered by the company since. 

“Given the extra equipment we have specified, these Actros tractor units are among the safest trucks available, and will help to protect other road users as well as our own drivers,” said Mr Hanson.

“Their spacious, flat-floored cabs, which we fit with fridges and microwave ovens, provide a comfortable working and living space for our drivers, while we also know from previous experience that Actros tractors are fuel-efficient and cost-effective to run.”

Building relationships

He continued: “This latest order is further evidence of the deepening relationship we’re building with Mercedes-Benz Trucks and its dealers, particularly Orwell Truck & Van, which will be maintaining our Felixstowe-based trucks in its 24-hour, Ipswich workshop. The manufacturer and its franchisee have both taken the time to understand our business, and provide the vehicles and support we need to operate with maximum efficiency.”

Wincanton enjoys partnerships with customers across all business sectors, and runs a fleet of more than 4,000 trucks and vans from 200 locations across the UK and Ireland. The company takes pride in offering a comprehensive portfolio of services which are both flexible and scalable – it can handle anything from a single container to the provision of a complete supply chain solution.