Finding real value
With their view of Truck Test as a fun, yet professionally run (and ultimately necessary) event, two of MAN Truck & Bus SA’s top executives joined the action.
Resplendent in livery celebrating 100 years of MAN Truck & Bus, the TGS 26.440 and TGS 27.480 certainly garnered their fair share of attention during Truck Test 2015. Was the company’s bold celebration of its heritage a warning shot of the expected performance of its vehicles?
Geoff du Plessis, MD of MAN Truck & Bus SA, was quietly confident when he met the convoy at the brunch stop and fuel top-up at Engen Belfast. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating and we’ll look at the results with great interest. I think we’ll better the simulated results – the vehicles are running a very efficient set-up, so they’ll do well.”
Dave van Graan, head of truck sales at MAN Truck & Bus SA, discussed the vehicles in more detail when he met the convoy at the same venue on the way back: “These two 6×4 prime movers are our most commonly chosen units for their respective applications. We decided to select vehicles that we would advise our customers to use for this route.”
The vehicles’ spec was impressive. The TGS 26.440 (26 t, 440 hp), while pulling the GRW tri-axle refrigerated unit, ran a tall rear-axle ratio to optimise fuel consumption. It also featured a fully automatic transmission and speed control to make it easy to operate.
The TGS 27.480 hauled the Afrit interlink. While it featured the same basic chassis as its smaller brother, it could gross 55 t. “The drivers will notice the additional power when hauling from the Lowveld to the Highveld,” noted Du Plessis.
Both vehicles featured sleeper cabs and air suspension. Locally manufactured Aero Truck aerokits were fitted to both, in an effort to further optimise their performance.
“Where a vehicle has a high frontal area, and where a more aerodynamic rig is needed, we would advise our customers to fit either the standard, imported MAN kit, or the local aerokits,” explained Van Graan. “Here we’ve chosen the local kits, as the trailers are locally manufactured. It’s a product that’s very well liked by our customer base.”
While both men were, understandably, interested in their own vehicles’ performance, they are also fans of the Truck Test format. “It’s always good to have a well-controlled competitive test – it would be foolish for any operator to not look at these results before making a choice,” said Du Plessis. “It’s always great to be where the rubber meets the road – if we don’t take part in these tests, how can we expect to support our own operators?”
“It’s an absolute necessity to be here,” noted Van Graan. “These tests allow us to make sure the advice we’re giving customers has a good sounding board. It’s also helps us tweak our product spec and simulation tools to make sure what we offer is correct for the marketplace. It’s all about optimising total operating costs.”
With MAN Profidrive driver trainer Eddie Williams behind the wheel of the big interlink, and product engineer Dean Temlett driving the reefer, the overall feedback from the MAN team was that Truck Test 2015 was a really fun exercise, yet was challenging in that it featured varying altitudes.
Van Graan probably summed it up best: “While the work we do here is fun, it’s also serious and adds a lot of value to our industry.”
We couldn’t agree more.