Safety key to Kilnbridge fleet renewal

Colin Barnett
July 30, 2019

East London-based company, Kilnbridge Construction Services Ltd, has replaced its entire fleet with 22 assorted new Mercedes-Benz trucks. Their purchase stems from an initial plan to replace just four skip-loaders, before a decision for complete fleet replacement was made. They are sourced from three different model ranges, but all are specified with the safety of vulnerable road users in mind.


The majority are 18-tonne Econic 1827Ls with 272hp six-cylinder engines and Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions. 14 of the Econics are Hyva skip-loaders while another singleton has a cheese-wedge body by Sterling GP, one the first applications of an Econic for plant transportation. A key factor in the CLOCS Champion and FORS Gold member’s choice was the Econics’ five-star Direct Vision rating from TfL.


Another five vehicles are 32-tonne Arocs 3240 rigids. Four are 8x4 Arocs 3240Ks with Hyva hook-loaders; while the fifth is a low frame-height 8x2 Arocs 3240 L ENA model, which also has a Sterling GP cheese-wedge plant body, a HIAB crane supplied and fitted by Walker Cranes. The order was completed with a pair of Actros 2545 StreamSpace tractor units plated for operation at up to 68 tonnes GCW.


Thomas Barrett, director of its plant and equipment services business, K-PLANT, which will operate the tractors and beavertails says “Kilnbridge operates to the highest safety standards. We opted for the Mercedes-Benz Econic because it represents the benchmark in terms of ergonomics, and offers terrific visibility, with a generously sized windscreen and glazed folding door on the co-driver’s side. As well as ensuring that our drivers are at the same eye-level as pedestrians and cyclists, the low-floor cab with its wide-opening driver’s door scores very highly thanks to its outstanding ease of entry. This reduces the risk of drivers sustaining injuries, particularly by slipping while frequently getting in and out of the cab on construction sites.”


The skip-loaders and hook-loaders are now being used by its Waste Management division, which provides collection, recycling and ancillary services to commercial and industrial clients, particularly those involved in construction and demolition.


The vehicles were acquired from S & B Commercials at West Thurrock on five-year Mercedes-Benz Complete Service contracts. Although crucial, safety wasn’t the only factor. Barrett says “We had initial discussions with several manufacturers. Cost-effectiveness, particularly an analysis of fuel economy, was also a key priority. We trialled Econic and Arocs demonstrators before committing to Mercedes-Benz, and I’m delighted to report that despite some initial scepticism our drivers have now embraced their new trucks.” Justifying the decision, the Econics are already delivering fuel savings and emissions reductions of 2-3% compared to their predecessors.

About the Author


Colin Barnett

Colin Barnett has been involved in the road transport industry since becoming an apprentice truck mechanic and worked on Commercial Motor for 27 years

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