Benz spruiks big Actros to mining sector

By: Matt Wood

German heavy haulage manager gives the nitty-gritty on V8 hauler’s attributes

Benz spruiks big Actros to mining sector
Georg Staskiewicz: no stranger to big machines and heavy loads


Mercedes Benz Trucks is ramping up resources to tackle Australian heavy haulage and mining applications.

The 653hp V8 Mercedes Benz Actros SLT 8x8 caught plenty of attention at last year’s Brisbane Truck Show but, since then, the company has been quietly working to convince potential customers in the Australian mining industry that the 250 tonne-rated V8 hauler is a cost effective performer.

Stuttgart-based key heavy haulage account manager Georg Staskiewicz has just left Australia after a tour of key mining areas and a visit to potential SLT customers across the country and ATN had a chance to have a chat with the European based specialist before he headed home.

A former Unimog product manager and an off-road product specialist, Staskiewicz has an 18-year history with the company and a background as a mining engineer. As such it is fair to say he is no stranger to big machines and heavy loads.

The Benz SLT comes out of the company’s Custom Tailored Trucks (CTT) division. CTT is where specialised vehicles are modified off line and away from the main assembly line where production could be held up. Incidentally all Australian Benz trucks come through the CTT plant in Molshiem.

The SLT however has become a popular heavy haulage truck in Europe, yet Staskiewicz says the truck has a lot of potential in mining applications and has already proven itself in mines in other parts of the world such as China and Indonesia.

And it’s the 8x8 SLT that Staskiewicz says has the most potential on Australian soil. "We’ve been talking to customers who want to increase productivity on their mine sites." We believe the SLT has the potential to do that." The key element to this is the VIAB Turbo Clutch used in the SLT’s driveline, Staskiewicz says "faster turn-around times are possible because of the retardation of the turbo-clutch.

"The loaded truck makes up time on descents, it can go downhill faster and still be safe because of the retardation offered by the turbo clutch."

The SLT gets 3,000Nm of retardation from the VIAB unit.

When asked about service and parts in remote locations Staskiewicz responded "We have these trucks already working in remote areas such as China and Indonesia where the infra-structure isn’t as good as Australia’s and we’ve been able to make it work."

National Brand Manager for Mercedes Benz Trucks Tim Richardson joins in saying: "We are able to work with the customer to set up their workshops on site and to provide training to their staff."

One of the other advantages of using the SLT in mining applications according to both Staskiewicz and Richardson is that the initial costs of setting up haul roads on a mine site can potentially be reduced.

The grade ability of the Benz 8x8 means that haul roads may not need to be as flat as roads designed for conventional North American trucks in use today.

A trial unit in the field has been performing well according to Richardson who went on to say that the company had just received orders for follow up units.

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