An automatic answer to refuse collection prayers

Around 40 DAF LF 12-tonner trucks which have gone into service with four local authority fleets in the UK are believed to be the first of their kind there with Allison fully-automatic (epicyclic) gearboxes, helping to boost DAF’s presence in the refuse truck market with the British-built LF.

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The LF180 trucks are powered by the four-cylinder, 4.5-litre Euro-VI Cummins ISB4.5 engine. In the LF, this usually drives through a ZF six-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) or a nine-speed manual. Allison transmissions have previously only been offered as an option on the LF with the six-cylinder, 6.7-litre ISB 6.7 engine at higher power ratings.

The request for combining the Allison fully-automatic gearbox with the four-cylinder engine came from Irish bodybuilder Romaquip, who placed an order for 180 vehicles so equipped. Romaquip claims that no automated manual transmission can tolerate the ultra-low speeds and relentless stop-start operation involved in refuse collection work. The company is supplying the trucks with its Kerb-Sort bodywork for kerbside sorting and collection of up to ten sorts of waste.

DAF Trucks and Allison engineers co-operated to make the 2500 Allison gearbox available with the four-cylinder engine. Romaquip has ordered a total of 160 LF180 chassis-cabs, and the first 40 have already gone into service with local authorities in Wrexham, the Lake District, Devon and Flintshire.

John McKeown, Romaquip Technical Director, said, “The preferred transmission for the refuse and municipal sector is an Allison, owing to its quality, reliability and ability to protect the driveline.

“Along with Allison’s UK team, we were able to work with the DAF engineering team based in Leyland to secure the release of the ideal specification for our application. We also considered the six-cylinder DAF LF220 with an Allison 3000-series transmission, but that configuration would have added half a tonne, putting too much additional weight on the front axle.”

Kerb weight was critical, according to McKeown, because the Kerb-Sort body can compact up to four tonnes of waste into a 35 cubic-metre collection space.

The Kerb-Sort has proved popular with many local authorities and waste management fleets in Britain since its introduction five years ago. One of its main attractions is a fully automatic unloading system, which means a truck can be unloaded in less than seven minutes.