Tesco takes 550+ Fontaine fifth wheels for new tractor units

Daventry, UK: Tesco has ordered over 550 Fontaine fifth wheels for its replacement truck fleet: the tractors units, mainly Mercedes-Benz Axors with a smaller number of Dafs and MANs, have the fifth wheels factory fitted.

“All the orders are placed and we have just started taking delivery of the new vehicles,” says Cliff Smith, Tesco Fleet Engineering Manager.

Tesco uses a bespoke fifth wheel that features an air-powered slider to allow drivers to extend the tractor-trailer gap for safer and easier coupling and connecting airlines and electric cables.

“All our trailers are 13.6 metres close-coupled.  The slider is powered, with control in the cab, which helps drivers when coupling up,” he said.  The automatic control eliminates a second handle on the fifth wheel and makes the coupling operation easier.

“We have used Fontaine fifth wheels in the past.  It’s a good product and Fontaine’s ability to provide a back-up service was part of the reason for the Fontaine specification,” says Smith.

Fontaine’s fifth wheels use a patented locking mechanism that makes them one of the safest and most reliable coupling systems available, Fontaine says.  The steel constructed Fontaine fifth wheel has a 28% larger surface area compared to most makes of fifth wheels, which provides greater stability.

A patented secondary lock provides added safety and security.  It also features a low coupling force of 13.5kg of pressure to lock it, resulting in less wear and tear on the kingpin.  A patented safety trigger eliminates the common problem of high-hitching, so reducing tractor, trailer and tire damage.

A simple handle mechanism allows the driver a simple, no strain release.  There are no complicated, ‘easy to forget’, opening sequences: all you have to do is pull the handle.  This means less likelihood of strain injury by drivers and operators, says Fontaine.




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