‘A roc’k solid proposition
June 13, 2021
Al Faris Group recently took delivery of two Mercedes-Benz Arocs 4058 AS 6×6 SLT vehicles from Emirates Motor Company, we find out what makes these robust heavy-duty tractor units valuable assets
Driven by Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ most powerful engine: the six-cylinder in-line OM 473 engine with 15.6 l displacement with an output of 578 hp (425 kW), offering torque of 2,800 Nm in Euro 5 emission norm, the Arocs SLT is a force to be reckoned with.
Precisely what heavy lifting, heavy transport and energy solutions company Al Faris Group was looking for. Kieve Pinto, Executive Director of Al Faris Group says: “We have performed numerous heavy transport operations for abnormally sized objects for more than 28 years and it has always been our priority to provide safe, innovative, and reliable solutions for heavy lifting, heavy transport and energy projects.
“When it comes to heavy transportation, the Arocs SLT meets the demands and our high standards. The addition of these two new trucks will add value to the company and we look forward to our long-term partnership with Emirates Motor Company.”
Emirates Motor Company, the authorised general distributor for Mercedes-Benz in Abu Dhabi, delivered the two Arocs SLTs to Al Faris in April. Bilal Al Ribi, General Manager Commercial Vehicles of Emirates Motor Company, notes: “Heavy duty transportation requires high-tech equipment and uncompromising reliability, and this is quite what the Arocs SLT delivers. We thank Al Faris Group for their confidence in us. We are committed to providing long-term support to Al Faris Group and to contributing to their business growth.”
Designed to cope with the highest levels of stress and strain, the Mercedes-Benz Arocs SLT is an extremely robust heavy duty tractor unit with a permissible gross combination weight of up to 250 tonnes.
Olaf Petersen, General Manager Daimler Trucks Sales, Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA, says: “Mercedes-Benz Customer Tailored Trucks (CTT) in Molsheim produces highly specialised trucks tailored to customers’ individual requirements. Converted at a hand-finishing production facility, the Arocs SLT is developed to meet the requirements of highly demanding transport segment and for customers such as Al Faris Group.”
Al Faris Group
So, who is Al Faris? A leading heavy transportation, heavy lifting, and energy solutions company with the biggest fleet of cranes and other heavy rental equipment in the MENA region, Al Faris is a family-owned company and has been in business for the past 28 years. It operates in 10 regional offices and has a workforce of more than 3,200 dedicated employees.
With high-tech heavy equipment, integrated services and best practices in quality, health, safety, and environment management (QHSE), Al Faris provides secure, innovative, and reliable solutions for heavy lifting, heavy transport, and energy projects.
“We offer our clients turnkey solutions to today’s heavy lifting and abnormal transport challenges including alternative lifting methods with careful planning and delivery. We mostly transport heavy, abnormal size loads for the oil and gas industry. The Mercedes-Benz trucks are a perfect fit for our business as they are of good quality and reliable machines,” notes Kieve.
Al Faris’ current fleet consists of heavy haulage vehicles that include hydraulic trailers, low beds, flatbeds, and self-propelled modular transporters. He adds: “These are mostly used for heavy transportation purposes for the oil and gas industry as well as for heavy cargo push and pulls.”
Kieve believes that addition of Arocs SLTs to its fleet will offer it versatility and reliability. “At Al Faris we operate in a safe, efficient, and ethical manner, protecting the planet and supporting our green future,” he adds.
Overflow tank transportation
Currently, Al Faris is using the Arocs SLT on the solar park overflow tank transportation project, which is part of the ongoing Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world.
The Arocs SLTs are transporting 10 overflow tanks, each measuring 52m in length, 6m in height and 5.3m in width, and weighing around 200 tonnes. The sheer size of these tanks has made this an extremely difficult exercise.
Yashvanth Kumar – Group Engineering & Projects Manager, Al Faris Group, explains: “Because of its length and weight, byroad transportation is a challenge. Finding a feasible route from JAFZA to the solar park in Al Qudra to transport the tank was a real task. Our teams worked on a detailed route survey and checked the route for feasibility. Preparation work included getting approvals from RTA for transportation and road modification works, as well as a NOC from the port authorities.”
“After getting the NOCs, we had to start the road modification works before arrival of the cargo. Once the tanks arrived at port, we began to receive all the 10 tanks, and they are currently stored at the port storage yard. We have begun to transport them in convoys of two to the solar park. Approximately 25 people are working in this transportation projects including the engineering and planning teams.”
The length of the tank made the manoeuvring of the trailer quite tricky; however, Yashvanth reveals they are quite satisfied with the performance of the Arocs SLTs. “We are happy with the way it is performing while pulling the heavy loads. It is as powerful as it gets. Exceptionally smooth operation in roundabouts and short turns.”
An important aspect of this project is how the drivers have managed to drive the trucks with immaculate precision. As transporting abnormal load is a highly challenging task which require precision work, Al Faris stresses on the importance of driver training. Mr. Pinto says: “All our project crew are well trained to international standards with on-going training for further development and enhancement of skills pertaining to their respective jobs.
“Driver training is of high importance to us. Our extensive training programme, combined with onsite learning, ensures all our professionals perform their tasks with safety as their priority.
“Our engineering and technical departments conduct enhanced training curricula (practical and theory) for our staff including heavy lift, commissioning, and other advanced technical training at regular intervals. The drivers also undergo extensive professional training at our partner (manufacturers and suppliers) training centres on the most efficient use and maintenance of the purchased heavy equipment.”
As a manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz Trucks places a great significance on driver training. Olaf says: “We strongly believe in providing support our customers with professional driver training, whereby the driver is educated about the various systems in our trucks so he can be more relaxed and confident while operating the vehicle, allowing him to manage the systems available in the truck, thus allowing the driver to concentrate on the road and traffic situation, leading to a safer and more economical driving style.
“Driver training plays an important role in reducing total cost of ownership (TCO) of the vehicle, reducing fuel consumption, and leading to lowering CO2 emissions. He adds: “A trained driver is also a safer and more economical driver. The major importance of driver training is to enhance road safety, reduce wear and tear, drive economically and increase vehicle uptime, thus reducing TCO.”
As part of the Arocs SLT handover to Al Faris, 13 drivers were trained to use the vehicle over a period of four days. Olaf adds: “The training consisted of theory, and practical, as we believe drivers learn more by doing rather than seeing. The advanced handover consisted of a seven-point walk-around, whereby the drivers were presented with a detailed explanation of all system outside and inside the trucks.”
Mercedes-Benz Trucks offers driver training as a standard package to all customers, its dealer Emirates Motor Company has a dedicated trainer who provides driver training to all customers who purchased new trucks, as well as driver training for special operations, such as off-road and construction sites.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks has its own in-house telematics system, Fleetboard, which was developed for its trucks and is used as a driver training tool. Olaf explains: “Fleetboard is much more than a normal tracking system, and being an in-house OEM system, it has access to all data from our CAN BUS, which gives us the competitive edge of offering unique services such as our comprehensive driver performance analysis, service & uptime data.”
He further adds: “Fleetboad can measure if the driver is performing up to the required standards, as prescribed in the training. A fair grade point system is part of the performance analysis report, which is based on 0-10 points, with 10, being the best.”
“Driver trainers use our advanced Driver Performance Analysis report to identify areas of improvements, and train or advise drivers accordingly. Furthermore, with Fleetboard services of Uptime & Service data, our customers and dealers can work together to schedule maintenance activities, and avoid unnecessary downtime, by remote diagnostics from Fleetboard Uptime service.”
For Mercedes-Benz Trucks, the Arocs SLT is an outstanding proposition on all fronts including its, powerful engine, impressive appearance, and the Turbo Retarder Clutch, which is exclusively available on Mercedes-Benz Trucks, gives the manufacturer an edge over its competitors.
Olaf says: “The Turbo Retarder Clutch is one of the most special features of the Mercedes Benz Arocs SLT. It functions as a wear-free starting-off aid, while the retarder section functions as a brake, and yet is lighter, more efficient, and more compact than a torque converter clutch.”
“This means the SLT tractor unit has temporally unlimited manoeuvrability and unrestricted low-speed driving and crawling capability, meaning that the SLT boasts the greatest possible flexibility in operation.”
Source: Construction Business News Middle East (https://www.cbnme.com/news/a-rock-solid-proposition/)