McAleese Resources are set to purchase four Mercedes Benz Actros 4165 AK 8×8 SLT’s. The trucks will work on a new haulage contract with Norton Gold Fields in Western Australia’s Kalgoorlie Goldfields. The all wheel drive SLTs were decided upon after a successful trial at the site.
The SLT is a specialist heavy haulage prime mover which has been sold in Europe for some time but only been released in Australia in the past few years. The first example, an 8×4, went on show at the ITTES in Melbourne back in 2012 with the 8×8 version making its debut a year later at the show in Brisbane.
The kind of task the Benz SLT will be handling has long been the terrain of the North American brands. However, in recent years the improved transmission technologies on offer from the European truck manufacturers is making inroads into a segment of the market dominated by Kenworth and Mack.
The robustness of the Roadranger gearbox has been paramount in many buying decisions in the past but new driveline design is giving other brands a look in. By introducing a torque converter or similar technology into the driveline at the clutch interface it is possible for the European automated transmissions to cope with the massive forces involved as a truck hauling 200 tonnes plus takes off.
The Mercedes-Benz SLT is available as an 8×4 or 8×8, powered by a 650 hp 16 litre V8 Mercedes-Benz engine. Benz say the truck has a standard rating of 250 tonnes GCM with higher ratings possible through consultation.
At the heart of the SLT driveline is the VIAB turbo clutch, this allows the use of the full engine torque during take-off and manoeuvring. When setting off, the hydrodynamic turbo clutch fills with more or less oil depending on the accelerator position creating centrifugal force which produces a smooth and controlled take-off at high masses without clutch damage.
As the torque levels in the transmission reduce, the turbo-clutch is drained and a single dry plate clutch engages the gearbox. The turbo-clutch also operates as a wear-free integrated primary retarder for controlled braking.