Triton’s Euro-5 express
At year-end 2011, Triton Express took delivery of its first order of Euro-5 Mercedes-Benz Ategos in South Africa. GAVIN MYERS was there to share in the excitement …
It’s a good thing, the concerted effort among many South African operators to start greening their fleets. And manufacturers are more than willing to accommodate them. Of course, as you’ll read elsewhere in this issue (and as you’ve no doubt read before) the initiative is currently falling to both parties – and hopefully the powers that be will pick up on the combined message.
So what we have here is the coming together of Triton Express and Mercedes-Benz, and the first order of BlueTec Euro-5 Ategos in South Africa to date. Triton already has one Euro-3 Atego, and this order comprises 16 in total (eight 1523s and eight 1318s), four of which are the Euro-5 models (comprising two 1523s and two 1318s). The order comes following positive results achieved by Triton with an Atego 1318/48 it had on test for various fuel efficiency, safety and comfort trials.
Says Triton Express national fleet manager Steve Jarman: “We’ve run the Euro-5s for a year on the line-haul side. We use Engen as a supplier and 50 ppm is available in all the major centres. We’ve also been running Mercedes Sprinters in Johannesburg for a year and these are Euro-4 models, also running on the low sulphur fuel.”
With the new BlueTec Ategos, Triton took the opportunity to show how to do it right. The bodies – developed and built by Afrit – are made from composite materials, thus allowing equivalent payloads to be bettered by a tonne. Those bodies also have a good life line, so Triton believes that if the vehicles are changed in five or six years’ time, the bodies will be able to last as long as the chassis.
The bodies are also covered in distinctive livery, demonstrating the company’s commitment to a cleaner environment with the slogan: “What will your children breathe? Triton Express chooses Mercedes-Benz Euro 5 BlueTec Technology – Leading the way to a cleaner tomorrow”. The vehicles are also fitted with an Aerokit which enhances the aerodynamics, thus providing further fuel-saving capability.
Powered by Mercedes’ economical BlueTec engines, with outputs of 130 kW with the four-cylinder engine and 175 kW with the six-cylinder engine, Jarman notes: “Triton has done two random tests with Engen to assess the ppm of the diesel, and both gave results between 19 and 22 ppm actual, which is impressive.” Supplies of the AdBlue additive required for Euro-5 trucks is sourced locally and delivered in 1 000-litre drums to Triton Express’ Johannesburg depot. However, the Euro-5 Ategos will only operate in Gauteng, based at Triton’s Johannesburg depot.
All 16 Atego models are fitted with the Telligent automatic transmission, which provides added ease of operation and results in further fuel savings, especially in stop-start traffic.
Triton’s efforts aren’t going unnoticed. “We find we have a growing number of customers requesting a greener transport solution,” says Eric Corbishley, joint CEO of Triton Express. He adds: “At Triton Express we’re committed to achieving a positive reduction of our carbon footprint. We believe business will drive the environmental issue in South Africa ahead of legislation over the short term. The success of these Atego BlueTec trucks will determine the introduction of further BlueTec vehicles to our fleet.”
Says Jarman: “Triton’s senior management believes the company is one of the leaders in the industry; we seem to be setting the benchmark and ethically, as a company, we feel we should do our bit. It’s very easy to sit back and say ‘wait for it’ – but that’s not how to do it.”
Mercedes-Benz BlueTec: what is it and how do they do it?
Emission limits for nitrogen oxides and exhaust particulates are becoming increasingly stringent the world over – not least of all in US and European markets. Following positive experience in these markets, Mercedes-Benz BlueTec diesel technology is now also available in South Africa.
So what is it? For a number of years, researchers at Daimler have been carrying out simulations for the design, modelling and measurement of exhaust gas units and their optimisation. This modular concept initially involves reducing nitrogen oxide levels by means of engine optimisation measures, supplemented by an intelligent exhaust gas after-treatment system that operates without additional service fluids and even further reduces emissions.
In the case of the diesel engine, attention is focussed above all on the elimination of nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions. Further, future exhaust systems will, as a rule, combine filters and catalytic converters; whereby interaction between the individual components must be taken into account. These components also work in close relation to the combustion process within the engine.
Extremely complicated, Daimler takes these interactions into account in its simulations to develop individual components such as the three-way catalytic converter, oxidation, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and NOx storage catalytic converters, and the particulate filter. These individual models are founded on physical and chemical processes.
In order to ultimately integrate these individual models into an overall system, a so-called simulation environment is also developed. On this basis, specialists can assemble the various components into a modular system. Researchers and development experts then jointly ascertain the most favourable configuration of individual components for engine optimisation.
Important questions taken into account include what temperatures prevail before and after exhaust gas after-treatment, and what the nitrogen oxide levels are – what values are modified when a larger catalytic converter is used; is the temperature window optimal; and are the pipes of the right length?
Once several test cycles have been completed, the data is optimised and the design of the individual components and the overall system assessed by means of simulation on a test rig.
This match of theory and practice enhances the degree of maturity in development. With the benefit of these findings, the best possible operation strategy is implemented to fully optimise the engine, resulting in what modern diesel technology should be – clean and efficient.