Coming of age: Vic Mix

Vic Mix, a Melbourne-based concrete supplier, runs a fleet of hard-to-miss pink heavy vehicles across its operations. An eye-catching new 630hp Mercedes-Benz Actros is the latest addition.

Vic Mix takes transportation of its core products – namely cement, sand and rock — very seriously.

The Victorian business, which specialises in pre-mixed concrete for decorative, industrial and domestic use, considers itself a transport company first and a concrete company second. The fleet at current is made up of a range of different trucks to suit all projects, with revenue bifurcated between commercial and residential streams. These include 8×4 agitators, tankers and truck and dog applications that ferry materials depot-to-depot and between quarries. A new Mercedes-Benz Actros 2663 was introduced into the fleet of pink trucks some weeks back for the latter task. Its owner-driver, Daniel Venditti, fits into this broader picture as a long-time subcontractor who has been working for Vic Mix or one of its subsidiaries, for the better part of 30 years, having started out at the age of 19. That amounts to a lot of hours in the saddle, especially when appointed to do so, more often than not, six days a week.

“I’ve driven Kenworths, Sterling and International trucks,” he says. “I’ve been in a truck for most of my adult life.”

The human body over that time can take a battering. To the point his last truck, an Actros 2658, provided him noticeable relief at once as a working environment and on overheads. Fuel consumption being a major one.

In the 2658 Daniel soon discovered remarkably low noise levels. Up until that point he had been making gradual upgrades through a range of ageing trucks hunkered over a clutch pedal. There were a few factors that helped convince Daniel to ultimately try out an automated transmission, Mitchell Hynd, Whitehorse Truck Centre, Sales Manager, was one of them.

“Quite often veteran drivers have to be talked into driving an automatic as was the case with me,” says Daniel. “Once you make that change you wonder why you didn’t do it earlier. I’ll never go back.”

Last April, after four and a half years of gallant service and over 600,000 kilometres, Daniel traded in the Actros 2658.

“There were no issues with the truck so his servicing was essentially paid for,” says Mitchell.

“Knowing Daniel was chasing 63 tonnes in the application, the Actros MP5 can provide him with the extra power he needs now that he has upgraded.”

The new Actros 2663 features the Euro 6 rated OM 473 630 hp engine capable of 3000 Nm maximum torque. Coupled with the Mercedes PowerShift 3, it enables fast shifting from forward to reverse and high-ratio reverse gears for easy manoeuvring. On that front, the Actros is particularly suited for the access requirements of the sites hence the five-axle dog trailer which accords with this consideration.

“A six-axle dog might provide an increase in payload, but it won’t get drivers into the concrete plants, the most common destination for Daniel, who is in and out of these facilities, not to mention traffic, throughout the day.

“Cabovers, to compare, are much easier to manoeuvre than a bonneted truck in this line of work,” Daniel says. “This has also got the pulling power I need.”