FSW Storage & Distribution has added three new Mercedes Actros trucks to its and chosen to call them after three shire horses used to pull coal carts in the 1920s.
The names Boxer, Goliath and Tommy Boy hark back to a bygone era of road transport and the fourth-generation family business is proud of its long history, so decided to call its new Actros tractor units after horses used by founder Thomas George Fuller.
That’s where the connections with the past end, though, because the trucks – they are Oldbury-based FSW’s first from the current Actros model generation – are loaded with advanced technology for increased efficiency, safety and driver comfort.
Supplied by Midlands Truck & Van, they boast standard specifications that include an enhanced version of the fuel-saving Predictive Powertrain Control system, Active Brake Assist 5 with improved pedestrian recognition capability, and the Multimedia Cockpit, a radically revised dashboard that replaces conventional switchgear with intuitively operated twin screens, one with touch functionality.
‘Start work early on a Monday’
Director Stuart Fuller, a great-grandson of the founder, said: “They’ll start work early on a Monday and won’t go cold again until Saturday morning.
“We’ve pushed the boat out with these latest Actros and made a bit of a feature of them to create a good impression so that customers can see how the company is progressing.”
He added: “Also, of course, they should help us to retain drivers and attract new ones.
“The feedback so far has been entirely positive – the guys love the trucks, and particularly the new dashboard.”
First time that FSW has named its trucks
This is the first time that FSW has named its trucks or equipped them with non-essential features such as light bars.
The Actros are 2551 variants and have flat-floored BigSpace cabs and their 12.8-litre six-cylinder engines generate 510 hp and drive through 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift automated manual transmissions.
Smartly finished with colour-coded paintwork and chrome Kelsa light bars, the trucks are additionally fitted with Jost sliding fifth wheels and camera systems by SM UK Midlands, of Tamworth.
FSW works almost exclusively for UPN, while two of the new Actros replaced older vehicles that have been stood down, the other represents an addition to the line-up, taken on to reflect ever-increasing demand.
The tractor units are double shifted, making collections and deliveries in and around Birmingham and the Black Country during the day, and then trunking at night to the UPN hub in Lichfield, some 25 miles away.
Fuller & Sons established its FSW brand in 2005
Parent company Fuller & Sons established its FSW brand in 2005, to serve the United Pallet Network, of which it is a shareholder member.
The FSW fleet of 16 trucks comprises five tractor units and 11 rigids, a combination of 26- and 18-tonners – all these vehicles with the exception of a single six-wheeled curtainsider wear three-pointed stars.
FSW’s decision to order the three new trucks was based not only on its successful trials of a Midlands Truck & Van demonstration unit, but also of its long experience.
Mr Fuller said: “FSW has been pretty much an all-Mercedes operation since we set it up 17 years ago.”The Actros suits us perfectly. It’s proved to be highly reliable, while the servicing costs are also competitive.”