The Tata Prima LX 2825.TK makes an effective heavy-duty tipper.

Story by Bhushan Mhapralkar

It is a normal working week-day in Pune. The traffic on the by-pass is in full swing. The adjoining service roads are also quite full. There is a curious mix of two-wheelers, three-wheelers, passenger vehicles and CVs on the roads. A part of these is a bright yellow Tata Prima LX 2825.TK heavy-duty tipper with a GVW of 28-tonnes. Tracing its origin to the ambitious ‘World Truck Platform’, which involved a large collaborative effort with the participation of Tata Daewoo among others from the Group, it is drawing attention for its size and looks. Marking an arrival of a modern heavy-duty truck range a decade ago roughly, the Prima looked like it was way ahead of its time. What with the market happy lapping up trucks (including Tata’s own legacy range) with a lower initial acquisition cost. Heading into a market seized of the initial purchase price, the Prima found itself in a quagmire almost. What a waste! Correcting itself quickly, the Prima range shed features. It trimmed itself to meet market expectations, the LX suffix bringing it up to speed. Yet it still struggled to find many takers. Those who understood its potential took it. The larger audience however still weighed on the legacy range.
All this changed with regulations and economic changes over the past few years. Operators were compelled to look beyond the initial acquisition cost. Finding its way to a construction site to dispose off its load, the only other CV that could draw attention is a yellow 6x BharatBenz 2825CM. It however quickly changes the route and heads down a different road. If the form of Prima makes it a modern machine, gets heads to turn, there is definitely more to it than just that. There is a form, but also function. There’s aesthetics; there’s safety, security, reliability, efficiency, value and more. Easy to manoeuvre despite its seemingly large form and dimensions (it needs to be seen in flesh), the Prima 2825.TK is making a positive first impression. Its modern cab layout is making it appear driver-centric. As a value machine, the heavy-duty tipper is looking robust and modern. It is making good progress on a crowded road. Contributing to a good ride is the truck’s four-point suspended cab. It is helping soak up a good deal of road surface irregularities thus. It is underlining the driver-centric approach from behind the wheel by displaying good ergonomics and visibility. Helping good visibility is the ample glass area and the well-placed rear-view mirrors. There is a blind spot mirror located at the top centre of the windshield.

Comfort and convenience
With comfort and convenience a part of the ‘Power of Six’ strategy by Tata Motors for this truck, a positive first impression is had as the construction site draws close. Fitted with a 16 cu. m. superstructure and Hyva hydraulics, the truck is displaying good tractability. It is pointing at its ability to perform. Amid the environs of a spacious, well-conceived and well-built cabin, the heavy-duty tipper is beginning to hint at the other factors of the ‘Power of Six’, like lower TCO, choice, connectivity and peace of mind. If the sturdy rear-view mirror placed at the centre and above the windscreen is coming handy in tricky traffic situations involving bikers and other local traffic (and helping eliminate a blind spot), the Prima 2825.TK is turning out to be an interesting machine. Its higher seating position is a boon. In front of the driver is a seemingly large dia. modern steering wheel. Behind it, a new digital instrument cluster with a large speedometer and tachometer dials and an LCD readout for fuel efficiency, DEF level and else. The contouring of the driver and co-passenger seat ensuring good body support to make driving long hours fatigue free, the heavy-duty tipper, with a 6×4 axle combination, is already succeeding in conveying the fact that it is the CV major’s flagship offering. The headrests of the seats, by the way, are integrated.
As part of the larger and wider Prima heavy-duty truck range, the Prima LX 2825.TK comes with air-conditioning as standard. With the windows rolled up (the driver side window can take some effort to roll up when driving), it is easy to converse. Displaying good refinement levels, the heavy-duty tipper rides on 20-inch dia. wheels. While the cabin is four-point suspended, the driver’s seat is not. But then the ride quality is good by the standards of a truck. The ‘T’ in the name standing out for radial tyres, 2825.TK is engineered such that it would spend more time on-road than off the road. It is engineered to carry load over a longer distance. A distance, for example, of 120 kms from Pune to Navi Mumbai, ferrying crushed stones for a road project. A hard-working machine the heavy-duty tipper is coming across. It is also a machine that would get little sympathy in return for its capabilities or the nature of work it does. Equipped with features like real-time fuel efficiency coaching that indicates the fuel efficiency had on the instrument cluster (we are doing a poor 2.2kmpl given the traffic and speed), the Prima 2825.TK is continuing to impress with its ability to perform.

Technology and value
Equipped with a Fleet Edge telematics suite that is in-line with the changing expectations of the Indian CV market, which is now beyond the mere prospect of track and trace, the heavy-duty tipper, powered by a 250 hp 6.7-litre Cummins ISBe BSVI diesel engine, is also hinting at the rise in electronics onboard through its digital instrument cluster that is also quite attractive to look at. A BSVI machine, the truck is about the transition from BSIV and beyond, It is about technology and efficiency. It is about aggregates and an ability to meet the application-need of the customer. A modern and impressive machine that it is turning out to be, the Prima 2825.TK is also adding to the knowledge about what the value truck generation is really going to look like. Having seen a host of changes to make it better, efficient and agile, the heavy-duty machine is doing good speeds as the traffic has eased up a bit It is, in the process, telling a story about how Tata Motors went about achieving a fine balance between performance and efficiency among various other factors. With the Cummins ISBe BSVI powerplant at the core, the CV major paid attention to retaining or increasing the efficiency of the truck. This, despite a significant shift in fluid dynamics. The injection bar pressure was hiked. With an SCR exhaust after-treatment system on-board, a flatter torque curve in the 1000 rpm and 1700 rpm range was had. This led to better tract-ability and reduction in the frequency to change cogs.
Shifting to a higher set of gear – the nine-speed manual transmission has a ‘gate’ which separates the lower set of four gears including the crawler with the higher set of gears, the Prima 2825.TK has the construction site in view. It is not very far from the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Equipped with three drive modes – ‘Light’. ‘Medium’ and ‘Heavy’, which typically mean fuel saving when returning empty, at partial load or when moving with full-load, the heavy-duty tipper is now very near to the construction site where it is supposed to dispose off its load. Engineered to further enhance fuel-efficiency, the three drive modes are yet another indication of how the rise in electronics on-board is making a difference. The modes also underline the premise of a value truck that is capable of providing a lower TCO in a highly competitive environment. Fitted with a single reduction live axle at the rear, the Prima 2825.TK, in terms of aggregate choice, could be had with a 14 cu. m. Hardbox body too. It could be had in a 2825.K model version with nylon tyres. This heavy-duty tipper version is aimed at higher off-road work than tarmac travel, which this truck with radial tyres is good at. Featuring a bogie suspension at the rear, the Prima LX 2825.TK is thus a part of a larger plot that is well-envisaged to understand as well as address the various needs of the tipper operators. To provide him an ability to almost configure his truck on his own almost.

Productivity and profits
Enhancing the value equation of its flagship offer, Tata Motors, with its Prima range of tippers is building at formidable challenge that could get fleets to look beyond initial acquisition cost and on to the entire cost of operation. A hardy machine the Prima 2825.TK is turning out to be as it gets off the road and rolls down the earthen road of the construction site. Equipped with an engine brake that is activated by turning one of the two steering column stalks, the heavy-duty tipper is about to end its assignment. The next assignment would be waiting for it as a matter of fact. As a machine meant to do business thus, the heavy-duty tipper is about the use of technology to increase productivity and profits. The 2825.TK looks promising on this front. It seems to be better positioned with features like engine brake that works to reduce the load on the pneumatic braking system of the truck and extend its service life as well as elevate operational safety. The braking system of the 6×4 machine has also been revised. The ‘S’ cams have been suitably strengthened to hold better under heavy usage. Changes have been made to the material composition of the ‘S’ cams too. Deftly carrying itself on the narrow rough road inside the construction site, the Prima 2825.TK is surprisingly easy to manoeuvre, thanks in part to the visibility had from the ample glass area and the placement of the mirrors.
Fitted with a vertical exhaust to ensure that it does not blow loose earth from the road underneath and clog vital components, reducing their service life in the process, the Prima 2825.TK, with a wheelbase of 3950 mm and a lightweight fuel tank of 300-litres, is priced at Rs.45 lakhs. It features a day cab, and is equipped with a smart hill hold assist feature too. This feature ensures that the truck does not roll back when starting on an incline. Making way for less experienced drivers to get behind the wheel, the ‘hill hold assist’ function keeps the brakes engaged for a few moments that it would take the driver to shift his foot from the brake to the accelerator. It is done by making changes to the ‘electronics’ part of the ABS-equipped braking system. Elevating safety, the ‘hill hold assist’ function is of particular importance from the point of view of shortage of drivers. From the point of view of shortage of experienced drivers. It is the functions like these that make the Prima 2825.TK look promising. With the load disposed off, and the tipping body down to its ‘normal’ position, the heavy-duty tipper is set for another trip, this time a bit longer and of more value. Life of a tipper, it is clear, is not easy. The good part is, it is made better and perhaps rewarding by modern, value-oriented machines like this one is.

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