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Concept vehicle with Mercedes-Benz Econic chassis and an Allison automatic eases cleaning in Düsseldorf

Featuring an Allison fully-automatic transmission, a Mercedes-Benz Econic suction and flushing vehicle has been helping to keep Düsseldorf’s gullies clean.

A joint effort between the city of Düsseldorf and specialist vehicle manufacturer, Assmann GmbH, has led to the development of a concept suction and flushing vehicle that keeps the city’s 47,000 gullies clean from waste materials. Featuring an Allison 3000 Series fully-automatic transmission, the truck relieves the strain of operating a manual gearbox on busy, traffic-filled streets, enabling the drivers to easily clear drains and gullies of discarded objects ranging from construction materials to keys and jewellery.

Using the Mercedes-Benz Econic as the chassis, the suction and flushing vehicle features two pumps. A liquid-ring pump (VacuStar WR 3100 from CVS Engineering) is used for the suction of solids which accumulate in gully buckets. The vacuum pump has a rating of 94 kW and a maximum intake volume of 3100 m³/h. A high-pressure pump (P45-75/80 from Speck Pumpen GmbH) is used to inject water into the gully for cleaning or maceration of solids. It has a maximum pressure of 80 bar and a rating of 75 l/min. The bodywork also comes with two tanks, one which holds 3,000 litres of water and another with a 6 m³ capacity for debris.

The transmission features Allison’s Continuous Power Technology™ which ensures superior vehicle manoeuvrability and control when inching through congested streets and narrow roads. Allison’s patented torque converter and uninterrupted power shifts deliver unrivalled startability, and advanced 5th generation electronic controls implement the best shift strategies for optimum fuel economy – important since the vehicles are in continuous use.

"With regard to our ageing employees, we need vehicles which are comfortable to board, offer increased crew safety within city traffic while working in front of the vehicle and are equipped with technical tools which facilitate the physically demanding work," says Achim Tölle, fleet manager of Düsseldorf’s municipal drainage company.

The organisation decided some time ago, that all newly purchased vehicles should be equipped with fully-automatic transmissions, which makes the Econic a great choice, as it is exclusively equipped with an Allison 3000 Series automatic. In addition the Econic offers a low, comfortable entry, as well as a panoramic window.

An additional driver advantage is offered by the "intelligent" jib-arm with both hydraulic and telescopic capabilities. Once the driver places the arm over a gully via a joystick, a magnet automatically raises the cast-iron drainage grate, and then repositions it exactly after cleaning.

"This automatic system saves time and nerves. Our operators do not have to walk to or lift the drainage grate – just to push a button from the truck," Tölle explains. That removes a significant burden for employees, who no longer have to pry open and lift cast-iron drainage grates with their bare hands.

The municipal drainage company in Düsseldorf also operates five Mercedes-Benz Varios equipped with Allison 1000 Series fully-automatic transmissions. Two of those vehicles are brick-layers, and a third is equipped with a crane for sewer repairs. The fourth Vario features traffic signs for safeguarding, and the last one is equipped with tools for repairing sewage pumps.

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