Ferns Surfacing has put a pair of 32-tonne Mercedes-Benz Econic tipper-grabs into service on reinstatement and resurfacing duties in and around London.
The low-entry Econic has been awarded the maximum five-star Direct Vision rating by Transport for London. With its deep, panoramic windscreen and full-height, glazed passenger door, the cab provides drivers with a better view. Drivers can make direct eye contact with cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians, a feature which particularly contributes to safety at junctions.
Both lorries are Econic 3235L ENA models with single front steer axles, double-drive bogies and rear-steer axles. Power is provided by 7.7-litre six-cylinder engines which produce 260kW (354 hp) and are paired with six-speed Allison automatic gearboxes. The trucks’ steel tipping bodies are by Thompson, while their Epsilon M125L cranes have clamshell buckets and offer a maximum outreach of 8.2 metres.
The Econics are fitted with audible left-turn alarms, and all-round CCTV systems that assist drivers by providing images of both sides and the rear of the vehicle – footage is recorded onto a remotely accessible hard drive.
Transport director James Gupwell said: “Initial impressions from colleagues who are using them have been entirely positive. Drivers have found that in congested areas the experience at the wheel is a lot less stressful as a result of the enhanced visibility. We can also send a crew of up to four, including the driver, in an Econic. They’ll climb in and out multiple times a day, and report that the truck’s low height, easy cross-cab access, and full air suspension makes the job more comfortable.”
He concluded: “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.”