Rock-solid wrecker: Mercedes-Benz Arocs as a recovery and towing vehicle
March 10, 2014: BIG ROCK is the most cutting-edge recovery and towing vehicle in Switzerland Mercedes-Benz Arocs 4451 Euro VI as basic vehicle LARAG AG: full-service provider in the field of commercial vehicle repairs
The most cutting-edge recovery and towing vehicle in Switzerland for trucks, buses and camper vans recently entered into service in the guise of the Mercedes-Benz Arocs 4451 ‘BIG ROCK’. The official Mercedes-Benz agency LARAG Fahrzeugwerke AG in Wil is deploying the special-purpose vehicle to provide professional breakdown and accident assistance in the heavy-duty range, as well as for carrying out vehicle transfers. The Arocs concerned is a 375 kW (510 hp) four-axle vehicle. “The new BIG ROCK recovery and towing vehicle is the perfect addition to our fleet to round off our service offering,” says operations manager Walter Oertli from LARAG AG. The task of recovering and towing commercial vehicles which have broken down falls to Mario Müller (43) and Patrick Uhlmann (35) with their BIG ROCK, an Arocs-based wrecker.
Essentially a special-purpose vehicle for the construction industry, the Arocs also cuts a fine figure in recovery and towing operations, both on and off-road. The recovery experts from LARAG AG are highly focused as they go about their work in their Arocs 8×4. “Every situation we are called to is different. We don’t always have detailed information in advance as to what awaits us at the scene,” explains Müller. “So the first thing we do on arrival is to take a close look at everything and check the situation. Then we discuss how to proceed and get down to work.” An analysis of the circumstances at the scene of the breakdown or accident is very important, as the wrecker must stand secure and firm, its support must not sink into ground which is too soft and the leverage effect must be foreseeable when the salvaging arm is extended. Müller bounds up the three steps and into the Arocs cab, where he starts up the 375 kW engine. He slowly reverses the powerful silver four-axle vehicle into position at a 90-degree angle to the demonstration vehicle, a decommissioned bus. Once the vehicle is parked in this position, the sturdy rear support is first of all lowered and braced against the ground. At the same time, the 3.50 m high lighting mast is raised on the body. Together with the surround lighting, the lighting mast provides for a good view of proceedings in poor weather or at night. Now the towing arm is slowly swung down, revealing the thick hooks on the two cable winches. The men can operate all hydraulic and vehicle functions either at the control console in the liftgate on the co-driver’s side or by radio remote control. The standard task of towing away broken down vehicles centres on swiftly hitching up the vehicle or manoeuvring it onto the spectacle lift. The safety of the recovery team is the top priority here. To this end, almost all the required materials are located in the compartments with flaps on the co-driver’s side – facing away from the road. Accordingly, equipment such as chains, belts, straps and lugs are stowed in the compartments and cabinets on the driver’s side.
The Mercedes-Benz Arocs was launched in Europe in May 2013. Apart from maximum environmental acceptability thanks to Euro VI, the three outstanding attributes that set these special-purpose vehicles for the construction industry apart are power, efficiency and robustness. Repairing trucks, buses and cars which have been involved in accidents is a long-established key area of the services offered by LARAG AG. In addition to the standard workshops, the Mercedes-Benz dealer in Wil in the canton of Saint Gallen also disposes of the full range of technical facilities, such as chassis straightening rig, body repair shop and large-scale paintshop. Apart from providing direct accident and breakdown assistance in eastern Switzerland between Zürich and the Austrian border, LARAG also uses the Arocs for approved transfer transportation over extensive distances throughout Switzerland. Bruno Jäger, CEO of LARAG, is firmly convinced of the vehicle’s merits: “The investment in this special-purpose vehicle is a forward-looking measures which will publicise our special expertise far and wide. The BIG ROCK is our rolling business card.”