In mid-January, a 4 axle heavy duty semitrailer tractor from the new MAN Truck Generation was used for the first time in a heavy-duty convoy made up of three units. The convoy’s job was to transport a tube-welding line from Lebach in Saarland to the Saarlouis port to be loaded onto a ship. W Mayer GmbH & Co KG from Zweibrucken was commissioned to carry out the job; it deployed five MAN heavy-duty semitrailer tractors for this purpose. Alongside the company’s own TGX 41.680 with V8, the demonstration vehicle with its 640-hp D38 engine had the chance to prove itself as the lead vehicle in the push-pull combination. Together with a “pushing” rear vehicle from the previous generation, which was also equipped with a 640-hp engine, a 20-axle swing axle low loader trailer with a 233-tonne component was also used. At over 7.3 metres tall and 5.3 meters across, the push-pull combination came to a total length of 51.4 metres, and a gross weight of 374 tonnes.Rainer Beyer, who is responsible for special vehicles at MAN Truck & Bus Deutschland, gives us the details. “Experts are familiar with the demonstration vehicle’s driveline because of the previous TGX heavy-duty semitrailer tractors: 15.2-litre engine with 640 hp and 3,000 Nm torque, a reinforced propshaft with 36,000 Nm shear moment, 16-tonne rear axles and a ZF TCHD (Torque Converter Heavy Duty) with 12-gear MAN TipMatic 12.30 and converter-clutch unit 440. We have a conversion factor of 1 to 1.58, resulting in a breakaway torque of 4,740 Nm. After the hydrodynamic start-up, the converter is locked up when 1,200 rpm is reached, and the process continues with the dry clutch. So far, all of this sounds familiar. What’s new with this vehicle is the whole actuation and the newly configured software and Heavy Duty programming.”Intarder 3 with up to 630 kW together with the 600-kW engine brake Turbo EVB ensures a powerful continuous braking performance. However, the brake output is limited to 980 kW when combined, in order to protect the driveline. Incidentally, the basic configurations remain unaffected in the new heavy-duty generation. “Very major modifications are not wanted in the heavy-duty area anyway,” says Beyer, speaking from experience. “Frames, chassis, axle spacings – all these will remain as usual. This means that the customers will have the advantage of being able to keep using existing certificates of exemption.”After a journey of nearly five hours, the MAN delivered its cargo safely to the Saarlouis south quay.