Winter maintenance equipment specialist Econ Engineering has added the first Mercedes trucks with MirrorCam to its fleet of gritters that local authorities and others will rely on in bad weather.
MirrorCam is Mercedes Trucks’ acclaimed alternative to door mirrors with roof-mounted, rear-facing cameras which relay their images to screens mounted inside the cab.
Not only does MirrorCam provide much-enhanced rear visibility with the screens on the A-pillar, but it also eliminates the large, forward-facing blind spots created by mirror housings.
As a result, Econ’s MirrorCam-equipped Mercedes Arocs merits two Direct Vision stars from Transport for London, one more than it would if fitted with conventional mirrors.
Jonathan Lupton, the managing director of Econ, says the ground-breaking technology offers specific advantages for gritter drivers who can find themselves working on dark nights and in blizzard conditions.
He said: “In addition to the improved visibility which promises to be a big help, MirrorCam should be much less susceptible to the typical problems of dirt, rain and icing up that can be a real issue for those undertaking gritting operations.
“Also, as the cameras are relatively compact and mounted that bit higher, they are not as vulnerable as mirrors to accidental damage from overhanging trees and hedges, so there are potential savings in repair costs too.
“We have high hopes for MirrorCam’s effectiveness and suitability for winter maintenance applications and we’re looking forward to seeing how the system performs in active service.”
The 4×2 Arocs chassis arrived via dealer Northside Truck & Van, a trusted supplier to the Ripon-based manufacturer for the last 14 years.
An 18-tonne 1824 variant, with the ClassicSpace S-cab, is powered by a 7.7-litre, 175 kW (238 hp) in-line six-cylinder engine.
Mercedes Actros, Arocs and Atego models
As well as building trucks with gritting bodies and other specialised equipment for customers, Econ operates its own fleet of more than 800 vehicles, more than half of which are based on Mercedes Actros, Arocs and Atego models.
These are available for spot-hire, short-term rentals for a single winter season, or longer contracts lasting up to 10 years.
Designed from the ground up for the most demanding applications, the Mercedes Aroc is now a mainstay of the Econ fleet – a further 46 are currently in build at its production facility, while Northside Truck & Van will be delivering another 40 chassis later this year.
Econ’s mobile engineers carry out on-site inspections and maintenance, minimising downtime for operators.
Summer storage services
The company also provides summer storage services at its headquarters and other locations in Alloa, Cardiff and Halesworth, Suffolk, where vehicles are fully prepared for work in the next winter season.
Mr Lupton said: “With gross weights from 18-32 tonnes and 4×2, 4×4, 6×4, 6×6 and 8×4 configurations available, or even 8×6 or 8×8 options for extreme applications, the Arocs range offers everything we need in a medium-to-heavy truck.
“The chassis is very versatile and an excellent base for our bodies, with front frame adaptations for ploughs and live-drive PTOs to power the hydraulics for salt beds and spinners.
“The truck’s inherent fuel efficiency, coupled with the fact that some of our equipment can be electrically powered, means we help customers to reduce their carbon footprints. “