One of the latest Mercedes-Benz additions to the fleet of third-generation family firm Sign Specialists Ltd is fitted with a ‘cherry picker’ that allows its operatives to work safely at heights of up to 14.3 metres.
Established in 1947 and based in Redditch, the company is one of the UK’s largest sign manufacturers, and boasts a customer portfolio that includes some of the biggest names in the automotive, pub & restaurant, hotel & leisure, and retail sectors.
Its new Sprinter 514 CDI has a 5.0-tonne gross weight and arrived via the Birmingham branch of Dealer Midlands Truck & Van. It was converted at the Kettering headquarters of leading vehicle-mounted access platform specialist Versalift, whose ETM38-F unit also offers a maximum outreach of 9.0 metres, and a bucket capacity of 230 kg.
Sign Specialists, which has also just taken delivery of a 3.5-tonne Sprinter 314 CDI with high-volume Luton body by Commercial Body Solutions, of Birmingham, is a long-established customer for vehicles bearing the three-pointed star. In addition to its two new vehicles it runs five Sprinter panel vans, all of which have entered service within the last couple of years.
The vans and the Luton – which, unsually, has one rigid and one curtain side – are allocated to the company’s installation teams, and carry scaffolding as well as transformers and other equipment. The new access platform, by contrast, is used solely to maintain signage which is already in place.
Works Director Mike Ferreday said: “I’ve been with this business for 30 years. We’ve always run Mercedes-Benz vehicles since I started, and I believe the association goes back a lot longer than that.”
“We work our vans very hard and change them after three years, by which time they’ll have taken plenty of punishment and typically clocked-up some 250,000 miles. Yet only very rarely has one ever let us down, and it is this bullet-proof reliability, above all else, that ensures we keep coming back for more.”
Mr Ferreday continued: “Whether you’re talking about running costs, safety, build quality or brand image, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter represents the very best that the van industry has to offer. It’s also hugely popular with colleagues – we make their vehicles nice and comfortable by adding optional extras such as air conditioning and armrests.”
Sign Specialists previously acquired a pre-owned Mercedes-Benz ‘cherry picker’ and ran that for a number of years, before finally standing it down and reverting to its previous policy of hiring access equipment.
“We soon realised how much easier and more convenient it was to operate our own mobile access platform,” recalled Mr Ferreday. “The new vehicle means we’re no longer reliant on anyone else – it works all over the country and we just drive in, then drive away as soon as the job’s done.”
He added: “We receive excellent service from Midlands Truck & Van Sales Executive Rob Lynock, while the manufacturer’s three-year, unlimited mileage warranty and free MobiloVan roadside assistance cover provide reassuring peace of mind.”
Sign Specialists, which also serves customers in Europe, prides itself on offering the most dynamic and cost-effective signage solutions. It undertakes everything from ‘one-off’ bespoke projects to complex roll out programmes incorporating design, build, installation and maintenance at multiple locations.