Plant Speed moves UK’s longest wind turbine blades with new Mercedes-Benz Actros SLT

Commercial Motor
December 10, 2020

Heavy haulage specialist Plant Speed has transported what is believed to be the longest wind turbine blades ever moved by road in the UK.

The blades, which each measure a total of 68.25m and weigh around 24 tonnes, were moved 24 miles from Avonmouth Dock to Magor, by three of the company’s 250-tonne Mercedes SLT tractor units – including an 8x4 Actros 4463, delivered in November – and two Arocs 4163 8-wheelers pulling Nooteboom extendable Super Wing Carrier trailers. Sprinter vans were used as escorts.  

“Good planning is key to a move of this nature,” said MD Paul Lomas. “We’d undertaken a dry run and worked through every aspect of the operation in fine detail beforehand, so that on the day, it all ran like clockwork.”

The company’s fleet comprises 16 trucks, 10 of which are Mercedes, with GCWs spanning 68 to 250 tonnes. All were supplied by City West Commercials.

The latest Actros SLT, which replaced Plant Speed’s first 250-tonne truck – an Actros Titan, in use since 2013 – is powered by a 625hp 15.6-litre engine via a 16-speed PowerShift 3 automated manual transmission, and fitted with air suspension and a GigaSpace cab. It is also includes the manufacturer’s MirrorCam system in addition to conventional mirrors. Though it usually acts as a replacement, the system’s level of visibility is insufficient for such long trailers.

“We’ve also fitted mirrors on the advice of Mercedes because, as it’s currently configured, MirrorCam cannot clearly see the ends of our exceptionally long trailers. It’s obvious to me that camera-based systems will become the norm in the future, and I’ve no doubt that with further development the manufacturer will overcome this issue.”

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