Anglesey-based ground stabilisation solutions company FAUN Trackway has taken delivery of its new 8x8 Arocs from eStar Truck & Van. The specially-built vehicle will be used to demonstrate FAUN Trackway’s technology to aid mobility for wheeled and tracked vehicles and aircraft over challenging terrain. Fitted with Hiab UK hookloading equipment and a mechanised body, the Arocs is able to lay up to 50m of interlocking M150 Trackway aluminium panels in under five minutes.
Deployment of the 4.6m wide track is an environmentally friendly mobility solution for adverse conditions including marsh, snow and sand. Trackway solutions are applicable to defence operators as well as commercial industries such as forestry, mining, utilities, and oil and gas exploration. Elsewhere, the system can be used in emergency and disaster situations to facilitate access and delivery of critical aid.
FAUN Trackway product support manager, Neil Wigley, said: “Rapidly laid and requiring minimal manpower, our high-quality, portable land solutions provide access for vehicles needing to tackle challenging terrains in multi-climate environments. We’ll now be shipping our new Arocs to destinations all over the world, to demonstrate this technology to prospective customers at trade shows and in field trials.”
The Arocs was converted by Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ custom tailored trucks division at Molsheim, in Alsace, France. From a standard 8x4 configuration it was altered to all-wheel drive with differential locks on each axle. The wheels are fitted with heavy-duty 14.00R20 tyres and the all-steel sprung Arocs 4148 chassis has a 41-tonne GVW and is plated for operation at 32 tonnes. Powering the Arocs is a 476hp 12.8-litre engine with a 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated manual transmission.
Unlike FAUN Trackway’s previous demonstrator vehicles, the Arocs was taken on as a wholly-owned Mercedes-Benz chassis. Wigley said: “Essentially these were loan agreements, so the manufacturers always retained ownership of their chassis. By purchasing the Arocs, though, we’ve ensured that we have complete control over where and when it is sent. We wanted a vehicle that would offer a turnkey solution. The three-pointed star is an internationally recognised symbol of quality and the Arocs has a great reputation for strength and reliability, so it was an obvious choice. Our new truck has fantastic approach and departure angles, and ground clearance across its axles. Factor in the 8x8 driveline as well, and it all adds up to a brilliant, high-mobility chassis.”
Inside, the ClassicSpace M-cab has driver aids including side mirror cameras and a multimedia dashboard which replaces switchgear with two screens. In addition to the vehicle specification and suitability, aftersales support was an important factor in FAUN Trackway’s decision to use Mercedes-Benz. Wigley said: “This vehicle could be deployed anywhere in the world so we also needed to know that we could call on the support of a truly global network.”
Having previously worked with Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK’s key account manager – defence, Michael Bateman, on Unimog and Zetros vehicles, Wigley added: “Michael has been very supportive throughout what has been a complex and correspondingly lengthy build process for the Arocs, and the same has been true of the team at eStar Truck & Van. While the Trackway system is designed for use with other brands of vehicle as well, we do have some influence over the customer’s choice and would envisage recommending a Mercedes-Benz in most instances.”