An Arocs SLT heavy haulage tractor unit took centre stage at the inaugural Heavies celebration, where Mercedes-Benz carried off the ‘Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year’ trophy.

Organised by the publishers of HeavyTorque, the only magazine dedicated to those for whom the abnormal is normal, the event brought together many of the heavy haulage industry’s ‘movers and shakers’ whose votes carried the day for the three-pointed star.

The 250-tonne SLT range comprises Actros and Arocs variants in left or right-hand drive, the wide variety of configurations and equipment options allowing operators to specify the perfect vehicle for every application.

High-torque in-line six-cylinder engines produce up to 460 kW (625 hp) and drive through the 16-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmission and a new, wear-free and fuel-efficient Turbo Retarder Clutch. This is capable of handling and delivering some 3,000Nm of torque, significantly more than a traditional torque converter. It also offers fine control characteristics and has its own, powerful integrated primary retarder, which negates the requirement for the separate retarder that would otherwise be needed to assist the high performance engine brake in bringing a fully loaded 250-tonne rig safely to a halt.Mercedes-Benz SLT Weighs in with first Heavies Award

“Building and maintaining infrastructure to feed renewal and growth is vital, and the heavy haulage specialists who move it certainly play their part,” said HeavyTorque’s Editor Andy Adams. “It’s a business that has to think big, with bridges, generators, wind turbines and tunnelling machines just a few examples of their daily diet.

“The Heavies awards are all about celebrating excellence in this industry and our readers clearly feel that in the Mercedes-Benz SLT range that’s exactly what Mercedes-Benz has delivered. They were particularly impressed with the Turbo Retarder Clutch, which is a true game-changer.”

Actros SLTs come with a choice of 2,500 mm-wide GigaSpace and BigSpace cabs, are available in 6×4 or 8×4 configuration, and ride on a combination of air and steel. Arocs customers, meanwhile, have the narrower (2,300mm) StreamSpace cab on 6×6, 8×6 and 8×8 models, retaining the BigSpace for the 6×4 and 8×4. It is, says Mercedes-Benz, the all-steel sprung Arocs which is best suited to most domestic operations by virtue of its higher axle load capacity ratings.

SLT chassis are also exceptionally robust, their high-strength reinforced frames having no joints or welds, and provide the ideal mount for heavy duty front and rear coupling points. They are also instantly recognisable, due not only to their fourth axles (where fitted), but also to the large side panels at the rear of the cab. These direct airflow for enhanced cooling of the clutch via a radiator mounted in the tower behind the cab. This tower also houses various ancillaries such as the air and fuel tanks, and the batteries.