Collective thoughts

Written by: Steed Webzell | Published:

Where there’s trash, there’s cash…at least, that is, if you have the right fleet of refuse collection vehicles. Steed Webzell reports on what’s available

Collecting refuse has come a long way since horse-drawn, open-bodied dump trucks trawled the streets of Victorian Britain in the late 19th century. Today, modern RCVs are increasingly automated, connected and efficient, with the myriad model types and configurations making it tricky for specifiers to make clear purchase decisions.

Perhaps the most common way to assess comparable RCVs is to review recent investments up and down the country. Getting a feel for popular picks through purchase endorsements is something that people do for all kinds of products, including RCVs.

Bristol Waste Company (BWC), for example, has just awarded municipal vehicle hire specialist Collett Transport Services (CTS) with a new contract to supply a fleet of new waste and recycling vehicles.

The two-year contract (with the option to extend by one year) started on 1 October and comprises a fleet of 10 new vehicles: seven 26-tonne (6x2 wheel plan) Dennis Eagle rear steer narrow chassis with Olympus OL19 narrow body and Terberg OmniDel standard lift; and three 18-tonne (4x2) Dennis Eagle narrow chassis with Olympus OL10 narrow body and Terberg OmniDel. Six vehicles were supplied ready for the start date, with the remaining four to be supplied before Christmas.

“We were keen to use the best vehicles and equipment available; those that offer high reliability and low emissions,” states Iain Fortune, fleet manager at BWC, which was recently awarded a 10-year agreement by Bristol City Council to provide waste collection, street cleansing and winter maintenance.

Adapting to economic changes

At the other end of the M4, Geesinknorba has delivered six new RCVs to Fiveways Municipal Vehicle hire in Basildon, Esses. They are the first part of a 20-vehicle order and are all GPM IV models with a combi-split design fitted to Mercedes Econic chassis.

Mick Hill, Geesinknorba’s UK business manager, says: “The first six vehicles were delivered to Fiveways’ base in Basildon in the first week of November and will be used as part of their spot hire fleet. The remaining 14 vehicles - all GM IVs too - are being delivered over the first few months of 2017.”

Hill continues: “There are further orders in the pipeline too. At this stage in the economic cycle, with the exchange rate prone to some pretty big fluctuations, we tend to break up big orders - those in which RCVs will be delivered over a longer period - so that vehicles can be priced more fairly and customers aren’t left out of pocket if the rate changes significantly.”

In London, Westminster Waste has taken delivery of its first RCV on a DAF CF 440 FAX 8x2 chassis. The Euro 6 vehicle, which joins seven DAF LF 18-tonne skip loaders on the fleet, has two front-steering axles, one rear-drive axle and rear-lifting/steering axle. It also features a Heil body with VWS vehicle weighing system. “The FAX chassis ticks all the right boxes in terms of power and manoeuvrability in the congested and often narrow streets where we operate,” says Dave Tucker, director at Westminster Waste.

An array of mirrors and visual/audible warning systems (and cameras) are built into the latest DAF CF refuse collector.

The vehicle has a DAF day cab, with its MX-11 engine driven through a 12-speed AS Tronic fully automated box. The 10.8-litre MX-11 engine is offered with DAF’s CF and XF models, and is available with outputs from 210 to 320kW.

Different choices

Elsewhere, Refuse Vehicle Solutions (RVS) is reporting a spate of recent contract wins, including two new vehicles for Mick George that will be used for commercial waste collections. One of the vehicles is on a three-year contract hire agreement, while the other, from the RVS RediTruck stock, has been purchased outright. The vehicles are both Scania P280-fitted with Olympus 23W bodies and Beta Trade Bin Lifts.

Designed specially to complement the popular Olympus RCV body range, the Beta bin lift simply bolts on to the rear of the tailgate without the need for welding or adaptation.

It is said to be up to 30% lighter than most conventional split bin lifts as it does not require an adaptor frame and has a relatively short rear overhang. This results in reduced effective rear axle load and, subsequently, payload advantage.

Ready to roll off

RVS launched RediTruck earlier this year, providing a rolling stock of new vehicles available for customers to drive away immediately. Another customer benefiting from this strategy is Crawfords of Beith, which has just taken delivery of a RediTruck as part of its ongoing haulage contract for Highland waste recycler Munros.

“We only had two weeks to replace a truck that had let us down and we heard about RediTruck from RVS, so we gave them a call,” says Andrew Crawford. “They delivered a new, ready-for-work refuse vehicle, in the exact specification we needed, practically immediately.”

The vehicle is a DAF CF, and like the contract for Mick George, is fitted with an Olympus 23W body and Beta Trade Bin Lift. In fact, this exact specification has also been supplied by RVS to W&S Recycling Services, which recently won a 10-year contract from Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) to continue operating its household recycling centres.

Spencer Law, managing director at RVS, says: “We found that when our customers needed to refresh their fleet with a new vehicle, they could wait up to nine months for a vehicle direct from the manufacturers. Also, the vehicle needs to be properly specified with the correct equipment to be ready for work. We know our customers’ businesses and we know what kind of vehicles they need so we can do all of that for them. We order vehicles in advance and keep them in stock.”

Among increasingly common specified features across all RCVs is on-board weighing, and one of the latest developments in this area sees Vehicle Weighing Solutions (VWS) working alongside Derbyshire Trading Standards to raise the bar with its testing procedures.

If a VWS customer wishes to use the company’s Enviroweigh bin-weighing system to operate a pay-by-weight system, it first needs to be approved by Trading Standards to check it meets UK regulations (implementing the EU directive 2014/32/EU).

In conjunction with Derbyshire Trading Standards, VWS has developed a process to test the system’s effectiveness in all conditions. The systems are tested by trading standards officers and, once it passes, the authority’s verification marks are applied to the instrument and a certificate issued.

Philip Andrew, trading standards officer at Derbyshire County Council, says: “Although the testing and approvals process is independent, VWS has always supported a stringent approach and has worked with us to create a rigorous testing regime that has made agreeing test methods very straightforward. I am certainly not aware of any other manufacturers that go to the same lengths.”

To facilitate the testing process, VWS has installed a purpose-built ramp designed to test the accuracy of the weighing equipment in four planes (or directions) to 8°. The Enviroweigh systems are then tested with various bin weights, applying the same error limits as when the vehicle is on level ground.

“We have been making load cells and building weighing systems for over 30 years,” says Julian Glasspole, managing director at VWS. “Independent verification of our products by Trading Standards ensures the integrity of weighing performance and has delivered genuine benefits in terms of sales. They also do their best to provide a reasonable turnaround for our customers, which is essential in this competitive marketplace,” continues the managing director.

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