When it comes to commercial vehicles designed and manufactured to satisfy the needs of a niche application, a highly specialised tunnel washer must rank amongst the most pioneering. Demonstrating the design engineering capabilities of Whale Tankers – the Solihull-based specialist manufacturers to the waste and cleaning industries – the tunnel washer is a vehicle as rare in its end use as it is in its looks.
Representing the first vehicle of its kind to be manufactured by Whale, the 26-tonne GVW unit has been specified by (IWJS) – a division of leading oil and environmental services specialists, Adler & Allan. Indeed not only has IWJS procured the tunnel washer, they were heavily involved with Whale in the design and development programme.
Having already successfully completed several trials, the bespoke vehicle is now being deployed to satisfy a number of tunnel cleaning contracts both in the UK and Ireland, with IWJS also looking to generate interest for the vehicle concept across Europe.
Mounted on a Volvo FE320 6 x 2 rigid chassis with tag axle, the vehicle features a GRP box body construction with an internal bulkhead forming two separate compartments. The front compartment houses both the pumping and drive equipment, and a 6820 litre (1500 gallon) clean water tank constructed from grade 316 stainless steel, all of which support the vehicle’s brush washing system. The same is equally applicable of the rear compartment of the tunnel washer, which is home to the dosing system – an inline water powered detergent injection unit routed to a 1000 litre Detergent IBC (intermediate bulk carrier), also positioned against the fixed bulkhead.
The tunnel cleaner’s brush washing crane arm system is operated and controlled from a specially designed and fully enclosed cabin mounted on the rear of the chassis. Completely independent of the main GRP box body construction, it is located adjacent to the brush arm with spray bar, capable of rotating through 120 degrees, has a hydraulic raise function and includes the following features and controls: jetting operation controls for detergent and water selection, crane arm extension and rotational controls, HPS 850 jet pump stop/start controls, front screen air blowers, extractor fan, filtered air, night heater, front screen wipers, interior lighting and lap strap.
Power for the brush washing system emanates from a Hughes HPS850 high pressure water pump that is driven by an auxiliary Iveco N67 6 cylinder diesel engine fitted with remote radiator and hydraulically driven cooling fan, to deliver a flowrate of 152 lpm working at 207 bar. The high pressure pump supplies the hydraulically driven extending and rotating crane arm fitted at the rear of the chassis and which features revolving whiskers fitted at the end. Indeed the hydraulic operation means the brush can be swivelled through 180 degrees for LHS or RHS tunnel washing.
Also featured on the tunnel washer is a 200 litre secondary diesel fuel tank mounted off chassis, a hand lance washing system powered by a Hughes HPS400 water pump delivering 49 lpm at 255 bar, and integral storage and drying areas fitted with hooks for PPE and wet clothing.
Commenting on behalf of Whale Tankers, Regional Sales Manager, Nick Cole said: "Whilst the tunnel washer is a rare species of Whale, it demonstrates perfectly our ability to listen to a customer’s requirements and then deliver a bespoke solution to what is often an involved engineering process. In this instance we have created what is a powerful and highly efficient vehicle when it comes to meeting very demanding operating requirements."
As Whale’s Managing Director, Mark Warmington adds: "The tunnel washer is not only a vehicle that both Whale and IWJS are understandably proud of, it demonstrates that the UK has both the design engineering and manufacturing skills required to lead the field on the world stage."