Six more Mercedes-Benz refuse collection vehicles have entered service for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council – or ABC Council as it is commonly known.
The 26-tonne Econics were supplied by MBNI Truck & Van of Newtownabbey. It worked closely on the successful tender with primary contractor Castlereagh Motors, which represents specialist bodybuilder Farid Hillend Engineering in Northern Ireland.
ABC Council’s latest 6×2 Econics have rear steer axles for enhanced manoeuvrability on residential streets. As 2630 L variants they are powered by 7.7-litre in-line six-cylinder engines that produce 220 kW (299 hp) and are paired with six-speed automatic Allison gearboxes.
Their Powertrak compaction bodies, meanwhile, have 21m3 capacities and are fitted with Zoeller Delta high level bin lifts.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has been growing its refuse and recycling fleet, which now extends to more than 70 trucks of various sizes and marques. All are inspected and maintained at its purpose-built workshop on the Carn Industrial Estate, Portadown.
The authority’s fleet already included a number of Mercedes-Benz Econics that were supplied by MBNI Truck & Van five years ago.
Workshop manager Simon Smyth said: “In terms of uptime those vehicles have been excellent. They’ve given us very few problems, while the parts delivery service we receive from the team at the Dealer’s Dungannon branch is first class.
“The Mercedes-Benz is also liked by a lot of our crews. It’s exceptionally well built, easy to access and comfortable, thanks to its spacious, air-conditioned cab and full air suspension.”
The Econic attracts the maximum five stars from Transport for London’s Direct Vision scheme, thanks to its deep, panoramic windscreen, and the full-height, glazed folding side door specified by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
This, coupled with the low seating position, allows drivers to make direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrians at junctions or in traffic queues.
The Active Brake Assist 5 emergency braking aid is also standard equipment. This can detect vehicles ahead and stationary objects in its own lane, at speeds of up to 90 km/h.
Detection of a dangerous situation triggers a three-stage reaction: first, the system warns the driver with visual and audible alerts; then, if the driver fails to react, it applies partial (approximately 50 per cent) braking; finally, if the driver has still not intervened, it initiates maximum braking to bring the truck to a halt, activating the hazard warning lights to alert drivers behind.
The new sensor fusion has dramatically improved response to moving pedestrians at speeds of up to 50 km/h. Active Brake Assist 5 is now capable of applying full braking when encountering pedestrians crossing its path, approaching from the front or walking ahead.
Not only does this technology increase safety for vulnerable road users and vehicle crews, but it also helps to relieve stress for drivers.
Meanwhile, the electronic architecture required for operation of Active Brake Assist 5 means Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s new Econics benefit from Electronic Parking Brakes too.
The EPB is applied automatically when the engine is switched off. When the truck is at a standstill after emergency braking, the automatic HOLD function also prevents it from rolling away.
Farid Hillend Engineering added to the vehicles’ comprehensive safety armouries by fitting Backeye 360 camera systems.