Productivity and competition are the driving factors in innovations in solid waste truck and body design, notes Skip Berg, national sales manager and director of business development for automation for Labrie Enviroquip Group.
“The smarter people get, the more they know about what they are doing,” he says. “The finer their bidding process, their finer pricing tools can be. Solid waste operations are vying for a limited pool of drivers and mechanics.”
During a visit to a Toledo dealership, Berg noted a significant emphasis being placed on the quality of the break room and the training center.
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“That’s to keep their employees happy, because when they get somebody that’s really good with multiplexing and onboard computers, they want to keep them. And they’ve got a lot invested in training them,” says Berg. “I think all of us are focused on productivity and the training and monitoring that’s necessary to not only measure it, but maintain it.”
One of the attractions inviting employees to get into the industry and stay in it is the type of equipment itself, especially when it’s packed with innovations that underscore safety and efficiency.
Labrie builds two platforms for side load automated collection.
The straight frame Automizer side loader is constructed with two different automated arms: the Right Hand and the Helping Hand. Berg notes that while the Helping Hand arm has been around for some time, it has been adapted to the company’s Automizer straight frame.
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The company’s drop frame body collection vehicle is the Expert 2000 with a Helping Hand arm.
“For drop frame, we cut the truck frame behind the cab and put a deep S-bend in the truck frame, allowing the hopper to be deeper and located right up close behind the cab,” notes Berg.
“We constructed that as a manual unit, as a semi-automated unit, and as a fully-automated unit with an arm going out on the right side,” he adds. “We also built that with two arms—an arm going out to the right and an arm going out to the left—which we call our ‘Dual Helping Hand.'”
That collection vehicle is ideal for alleys, one-way streets, and very constricted areas, notes Berg.
The Progressive Load Spring suspension
Labrie has introduced what Berg calls a “featherweight front loader,” geared primarily for the weight-sensitive areas of southern California and the West Coast. “It’s one of the lightest front loaders on the market with a Wittke name,” says Berg.
Labrie also is introducing a new split rear loader for the municipal market.
“There still are a lot of big cities like Toronto and big places like that that want to run down the middle of the street with a divided rear load body,” says Berg. “Leach has not traditionally participated in that market. Now we’re developing one in our prototype.”
As for designs being impacted by engines, Berg doesn’t see that to be the case with the exception of CNG because of the requirement for tank CNG gas storage on board.
“A diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) of CNG has an unfavorable ratio to diesel in the sense that if you have a diesel truck and you want to carry 40 gallons of diesel, you need to carry160 DGE gallons of CNG,” he says. “It’s a four-to-one ratio, therefore on a typical refuse body, you have to figure out where you’re going to put all of those tanks.”
Labrie accommodates different drive trains while considering the pros and cons of each approach.
“If you put them behind the cab, they’re tucked out of the way,” notes Berg. “They don’t add to the height, but they add to the overall truck length and the weight distribution is affected. On a side loader, you don’t have room on the frame rails for tanks—at least not very big tanks because you’ve got toolboxes, automated arms, and battery boxes. Most of those are mounted on the cab over trucks, so that you have a limited amount of frame space anyway.”
Placing the tanks on the roof adds to overall height, Berg points out, adding “that doesn’t matter in Phoenix, but it makes a big difference in Connecticut, where they are driving under railroad bridges.”
Placing the tank in the tailgate can be an attractive option, but it also is out of the way and potentially difficult to access for maintenance, says Berg.
Also, “you rarely see a collection truck that hasn’t backed into a telephone pole at some point, even with backup radar,” he adds. “Something is going to hit something in the back and that’s where those tanks are. There’s a lot more stuff that gets hit on the back of a garbage truck than it does on the top of a garbage truck.”
Labrie places the tanks in all of those locations, depending on the region where the trucks are going to be used, the customer’s requirements, and the particular platform.
The company’s most common approach is roof-mounted units.
Berg says there’s not enough history yet with Wrightspeed or BYD electric hybrids to make definitive determinations on effectiveness.
“Wrightspeed has a Labrie fitted onto a chassis that’s been reworked with their electric option, but it’s more of an electric extender,” notes Berg. “It’s got a turbine that turns generators, which puts power to the motors.”
Labrie has worked with other hybrids, including the Parker E-3 Runwise unit, which has been used in major metropolitan areas such as Miami-Dade County, FL, and Houston, TX.
Labrie also works with Effenco, which offers a hydraulic hybrid that works on an accumulator, says Berg.
“It’s like winding up a spring and letting the spring go, only in hydraulics you use the braking energy and the kinetic energy of the truck to put pressure into the hydraulic accumulator,” he says. “That accumulator is used to shut the engine off and the stored energy is used to run the packer or the arm.”
In its manufacturing process, Labrie uses Finite Engineering, CAD/CAM and conducts “real-world” testing—running units, measuring them, and even X-raying them to ensure the bodies are managing stress.
One of the latest industry trends is leveraging data to understand what’s going on with solid waste collection vehicles with such factors as how many lifts per day and how much time elapses between stops, Berg says.
Scales are becoming more critical as well, he adds.
Labrie has partnered with a German company that produces a digital scale that “measures very accurately with minimum requirements for calibration and that information is transmitted back to operations via cellular, so not only do you know where you are, how long you’re there, but you know exactly what you are doing,” says Berg.
New Way Trucks recently introduced ROTO PAC, an auger packer body.
Loadmaster’s Eclipse Automated Side Loader
“It is a dual-purpose body capable of organics collection one day and taking on the toughest MSW routes on another day—one truck, two purposes,” says Phil Allen, vice president of sales and marketing.
To avoid CNG cabinet damage by trees on body rooftop CNG systems, New Way Trucks developed a 60 and 75 DGE tailgate cabinet for its Mammoth front loader and Sidewinder automated units.
New Way Trucks has ongoing input from innovators and chassis manufacturers on what is new regarding chassis improvements whether it is electric, hydraulic assist, and even hydrogen fueled trucks, says Allen.
Weight has always been one of the primary concerns in the solid waste industry, Allen points out.
“While the goal is to achieve maximum payload, it still has to meet state and federal weight guidelines,” he says.
The company’s ROTO PAC has been designed to be the highest compacting side loader in the industry “but because of our auger design, we are able to delete most of the componentry of present-day refuse bodies, such as cylinders, packing and sweep blades, e-jec panels, and more with simple auger technology, and provide maximum payloads on a body that is smaller than conventional bodies—27- versus 31-yard conventional sideloaders—and still be 3,000 pounds less weight,” says Allen.
That has allowed the company to mount its ROTO PAC body on a lesser gross vehicle weight rating chassis with less horsepower and smaller transmission than the bigger chassis, resulting in savings in fuel and the chassis cost, he adds.
Loadmaster has recently rolled out the Eclipse Automated Side Loader, with a new arm design that utilizes a sprocket on top of the arms.
The truck features a single cylinder inside of a frame that pushes the arms up and the sprockets take the rotation on it and dump it into the hopper, says Ethan Brisson, Loadmaster spokesperson.
It’s designed to be more reliable and mechanically smooth, he adds.
“There is no hydraulic cushioning, because hydraulic cushioning builds up heat and breaks down the hydraulic oil,” notes Brisson.
The body is manufactured from tempered 8-gauge 80,000-psi body sides and curved 3/16th AR400 abrasion-resistant steel, with optional Hardox.
The hopper has a 5.8 cubic yard capacity, a 2-cubic yard swept volume, a pack penetration of 27 inches, and a hydraulic crusher panel.
In addition to truck and body design, fuel technologies are adding efficiencies for waste collection vehicles.
Allison Transmission recently introduced FuelSense 2.0 with DynActive Shifting, designed to optimize fuel savings by an additional 6% beyond the company’s original FuelSense software introduced in 2014.
It is offered in three packages and designed to allow fleets to optimize fuel economy and performance to their specific needs, such as the heavy start-stop conditions in solid waste collection.
FuelSense 2.0, FuelSense 2.0 Plus, and FuelSense 2.0 Max include DynActive Shifting, designed to provide a variable combination of shift points. FuelSense 2.0 utilizes a learning algorithm to continuously seek the ideal fuel economy and performance balance.
FuelSense 2.0 Plus and Max include improved Neutral at Stop, a feature designed to lower fuel consumption and emissions by reducing or eliminating the load on the engine when the vehicle is stopped.
The standard version provides partial Neutral at Stop. The premium version provides full Neutral at Stop and a low-speed coasting capability. Both versions feature a locked output at stop to prevent rollback.
Autocar is the first OEM truck manufacturer to provide FuelSense 2.0, which controls an Autocar truck’s fully automatic Allison transmission and reduces the load on the engine when possible.
Autocar has installed the software—configured to optimize fuel consumption and performance according to each customer’s specific preferences—into trucks’ transmission control module.
“A typical garbage truck burns 10,000 gallons of fuel a year,” notes Jim Johnson, Autocar’s president. “With FuelSense 2.0 Max, our customers can save more than $1,500 per year in fuel costs at the current diesel price.”
The fuel savings is directly related to an identical emissions reduction.
Through the software, Autocar leverages the algorithm for fuel economy and performance balance. Additional options may be selected to save fuel while the truck is coming to a stop, at idle, and while accelerating.
Autocar front loader with Allison transmission
Fuel economy can be monitored directly on Autocar’s On-Board Diagnostic system via a screen on the truck’s dashboard.
Autocar is installing the FuelSense 2.0 in both diesel and CNG applications and for both Allison 3000 Series and 4000 Series transmissions in an effort to adapt to the specific conditions collection trucks encounter on routes.
In Santa Monica, CA, Jim Keezell, resource recovery and recycling administrator, says he was “looking for a lighter chassis so we could maximize our payload. California has different weight restrictions. If I can save 500 pounds here and 1,000 pounds there on the build, it gets me that much more in payload. That can mean the difference between a second or third load.”
To obtain that, he chose a CNG automated side loader by Autocar.
At Henrickson, the Progressive Load Spring was introduced into production on its HAULMAAX rear rubber suspension, reducing service issues and making a favorable impression on the overall performance of the suspension, notes Laura Brown, Hendrickson vocational product marketing.
“The Progressive Load Spring eliminates the need to estimate the appropriate number of shims needed for the vehicle and increases the life of the rubber springs and structural components and longevity of the suspension system,” she adds.
Lighter weight products have become increasingly important to allow for increased loading capacity, better fuel economy, lower life cycle costs, and offsetting engine/emission system weight increases, notes Brown, adding the company strives to design balancing weight-saving products without sacrificing durability for tough applications such as the refuse market.