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Plant hire specialist puts safety first with new generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinters

Plant hire specialist puts safety first with new generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinters

Long-established Mercedes-Benz customer Broughton Plant Hire and Sales has underscored its commitment to safety by commissioning its first dropsiders from the recently launched new Sprinter range.

The company operates from headquarters in Romford, Essex, and depots in Bristol, and Alfreton, Derbyshire. Supplied by dealer S & B Commercials, the latest three additions to its fleet are 314 CDI L3 (long) chassis cabs, with bodies by Piggott Coachworks, of Bishop’s Stortford, and 500 kg Dhollandia tail-lifts.

Within the last year Broughton Plant Hire and Sales has also acquired 16 Euro6-engined vans from the previous Sprinter model range, while it has another nine new-generation versions on order, the last of which is scheduled to enter service next summer.

Broughton Plant Hire and Sales specialises in the hire and sale of plant and equipment to the heating, ventilation, and fire protection industries.

Sprinters account for the overwhelming majority of its vehicles. However, the line-up also includes three Mercedes-Benz Vito service vans - one for each of its locations - and three trucks: an 18-tonne Mercedes-Benz Antos with beavertail plant body, and a pair of 7.5-tonne FUSO Canters, which were also sourced from S & B Commercials.

The Sprinters are employed primarily to transport small tools, plant and equipment - Broughton Plant Hire and Sales claims market leadership in the rental and maintenance of press fitting tools, and as a specialist supplier of low-level access equipment owns a large fleet of podium steps and push-around vertical lifts.

Having previously run vans from the Mercedes-Benz T1 range that preceded the Sprinter, Broughton Plant Hire and Sales switched to another brand in the early 1990s. When the new vehicles proved to be nothing like as reliable, however, it quickly reverted and has remained loyal to the three-pointed star ever since.

“We work on the basis that as it’s not broken, we won’t try to fix it,” explained general manager Joe Zammit. “We cannot afford unplanned downtime, as we make next-day delivery commitments to our customers. First and foremost, therefore, we need workhorses that won’t let us down, and that’s what we get from Mercedes-Benz.”

Safety is also crucial to a company which has secured silver accreditation from the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), and which equips all of its Mercedes-Benz vans with recordable front- and rear-facing cameras.

The Sprinter has long been recognised as the benchmark for safety in the van segment, and the third-generation model’s features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with pedestrian recognition technology - another industry ‘first’ - and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in drivers and encourages them to take breaks when tired.

“The previous Sprinter was good, but the latest model represents a huge leap forward,” said Mr Zammit. “Safety is our number one priority and we’re very conscious as a business of our duty of care to colleagues and other road users, so the new developments in this area are very welcome.”