SAAB Advertising · ·

The SAAB-Scania Clock – The Challenge of Time

Scania Clock project

It is a pity such as advertisements for SAAB cars in the future we will be able to see.This is a fantastic advertising, in fact the whole project (not just advertising) was presented yesterday in order to promote a new generation of Scania trucks.

With 125 years of experience, Scania knows the value of time – and that being punctual can make or break a customers´ business. To prove this, Scania took on the most demanding challenge there is – time itself.

A challenge where 14 trucks and 90 professional drivers literally had to keep track of every second. At a deserted airfield in the middle of nowhere, Scania set out to build a gigantic clock, entirely made out of trucks with highly skilled drivers.

The final clock took up 70,000 square metres and was over a kilometre in circumference with 17 meters between every second and minute mark and 85 metres between each hour.

The outer vehicle in the second hand had to maintain a constant speed of just below 60 km/h, driving 1,440 kilometres over the course of 24 hours. Meanwhile the innermost trucks of the minute and hour hands were creeping less than 100 metres altogether.

A sky camera is mounted under the zeppelin, which later was anchored 250 meters above the clock.

A sky camera is mounted under the zeppelin, which later was anchored 250 metres above the clock.

It’s a well-known fact that the driver is one of the most important factors in the fuel economy equation, as well as for maintaining the uptime of the vehicle. Scania knows how to develop driver skills. No matter how experienced a driver is, it’s still possible to increase awareness of safety, wear and tear and environmental impact with Scania Driver Training and Coaching. And with the new flexible maintenance plans all vehicles are maintained exactly right based on just that specific driving conditions.

Drivers had to be switched on the fly…

Drivers had to be switched on the fly…

“Extreme strain”

All drivers involved in the clock film belong to Scania’s own DemoCentre and Transport Laboratory. Before recording, the 90 drivers trained for several days in order to learn how to accelerate and decelerate at the precise pace, always with their attention directed towards the left. The outer truck in each hand set the pace.

Elin Engström, one of the drivers, relax after the 24-hour exercise.

Elin Engström, one of the drivers, relaxes after the 24-hour exercise.

“We had to keep a constant eye on the exact time and be at a particular mark within a second, again and again…It´s an extreme strain to drive like this. After two hours behind the wheel you´re exhausted. And then we switched drivers on the fly,” Elin Engström, one of the drivers, says.

The vehicles in the minute hand had to move every sixty seconds in simultaneous acceleration and make a distinct stop at a mark on the concrete tarmac. The two drivers in each truck were replaced every six hours.

The trucks and drivers kept the clock running without interruptions for 24 hours. In the dark the vehicles and the clock dial was lit up by led lights.

The trucks and drivers kept the clock running without interruptions for 24 hours. In the dark the vehicles and the clock dial were lit up by led lights.

“Each crew had their packed lunches on board. Even though it was 40 degrees C, it was important to hold back on fluid intake to make the entire session without interruption,” says Per-Erik Nordström, another one of the endurance drivers.

Controlled from tower

The brain of the whole operation was the Scania Fleet Care service, utilising connected tools – such as Scania Fleet Management. From the control tower, Scania´s Fleet Managers could keep track of all the parts and constantly monitor every vehicle´s and drivers’ status. The data enabled us to always stay one step ahead and foresee any problem that could arise.

Karin Hallin, Marketing Communication Project Manager and one of the project leaders for the clock film.

Karin Hallin, Marketing Communication Project Manager and one of the project leaders for the clock film.

Karin Hallin, Marketing Communication Project Manager, tells the story behind Scania´s clock film.

“When the idea came up to create a fully functional clock built of trucks and filming this for 24 hours, the first thought was that this is a brilliant idea – that can go wrong in a thousand ways. The brilliance of the idea is that we in a playful way get the message out, about time and uptime as key factors in long-haulage, and in a spectacular and innovative way present the new Scania’s total offering.”

The camera mounted under a zeppelin 250 meters above the clock was controlled from ground.

The camera mounted under a zeppelin 250 meters above the clock was controlled from ground.

Complexity grew

The opportunities to communicate Scania´s offer was huge. The practical problems perhaps even more, and the complexity of the project grew with time: From finding a shielded but large enough place somewhere in Europe, with the right support, to the right infrastructure and climatic conditions to speed calculations, driver changes, tire wear, drivers pee breaks etc. etc.

The night before the clock would start, the new Scania trucks were prepared next to the deserted air terminal.

The night before the clock would start, the new Scania trucks were prepared next to the deserted air terminal.

“With local staff, drivers, advertising and Scania Staff we were approximately 250 people on location for a whole week. It was a massive logistics exercise in 40 degrees heat. Then the attitude and personality of all involved becomes extremely important. When it was all over, we all had a strong feeling that `everything is possible´,” Karin Hallin explains.

When the trucks passed 24 hours 90 extremely happy drivers gathered on the airport tarmac.

When the trucks passed 24 hours 90 extremely happy drivers gathered on the airport tarmac.

“I think it was that positive spirit and a great cooperation of everyone involved that made it possible to create this perfectly synchronized ballet of trucks for 24 hours. And then after the 24 hours, to see ninety drivers rush out on the field embracing each other and crying with pride, fatigue and happiness was indescribable!”

Follow the clock on www.ScaniaClock.com

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