The rarified world of heavy haulage chassis sees the launch of two new specialist tractors from Mercedes-Benz. They are built in the Daimler trucks Custom Tailored Trucks (CTT) workshop where nothing is ordinary.
Going for niche markets like this can be an expensive and frustrating hobby. The engineering investment divided by the price that the market will stand is an equation that sometimes just doesn’t add up.
Mercedes clearly felt that way when it contracted out the manufacture of its first Actros heavy haulage chassis to Titan in 1996.
Mercedes head of trucks, Stefan Buchner, reports strong growth in the heavy haulage sector, however. Two significant drivers seem to be the boom in oil exploration in China, and western Europe’s growing love affair with wind turbines.
Having swept up all the niche markets they can find into one heap, Mercedes is turning the demand for specialisation into a profit.
And so it has established its CTT operation in Molsheim, eastern France. With the new Actros model series and Euro-6 compliance, production of the Schwer Last Transport (SLT) heavy mover now ceases at Titan and moves to Mercedes’ own hand-built line.
Based on the Actros and the Arocs, the new pair use the OM473 in-line six-cylinder 15.6-litre engine with outputs up to 625hp/3,000Nm, a 16-speed version of the Powershift AMT box and a turbo retarder clutch to give both wear-free starting and over 1,000hp of braking retardation.
Both are rated at 250 tonnes for STGO work, the Actros SLT coming as a 6×4 or 8×4, with three wheelbases, while the Arocs offers even more variety with six wheelbases and five chassis layouts including 6×6 and 8×8.
Production engineers have a 15-hour limit for any chassis modification work at their massive Wörth plant, after which it goes to CTT and its 700 staff, which will output more than 8,000 specialised trucks each year.