November 23, 2015
Winter road services and street cleaning at IFAT 2016
Demand focuses on efficient and maneuverable all-rounders
Technology for municipal services is one of the focal themes at IFAT in Munich. The next edition of the world’s leading trade fair for environmental technologies, taking place from May 30 to June 3, 2016, will show that here, too, the manufacturers are coming up with ever new answers to the changing conditions encountered by the users.
Demographic change in Western industrialized nations is having an effect on the technology employed in delivering municipal services. “The manufacturers of road sweepers and municipal implement carriers are gearing up for a workforce that is ever smaller in number and generally older,” reports Linda Schrödter, Press Spokesperson for the international cleaning technology specialists Kärcher. She adds: “The solutions to this are easy-to-operate and ergonomically designed vehicles where the equipment fitted to them can be switched over without any great effort or need to use tools. With these vehicles it is a simple matter to switch to a snow blade, for example, a gritter attachment, a sweeper or a mower deck.”
According to the cleaning and municipal technology supplier Hako, it’s not only the industrialized countries that are interested in multifunctional equipment, it’s also increasingly the developing nations. Dr. Olaf Heinemann, Product Manager in Municipal Services Technology at Hako, explains: “In developing countries the urban settlement structures are increasingly like those found in Europe, and the standards expected in the care of urban spaces are ever higher; both these factors are boosting interest in multifunctional machines. Simple operation without any language barriers, single-button operation and attachment recognition all facilitate rapid implementation.”
And there are further developments that can promote sales of these versatile all-round vehicles. According to the VKU (Verband Kommunaler Unternehmen), the German association of public utility companies, many cities and local authorities in Germany, for example, are now asking the municipal cleaning services to also take on the job of clearing the pavements, although in many local authority areas in Germany, this is the responsibility of the residents. The VKU sees this trend as boosting the market in particular for multifunctional equipment, below 3.5 tonnes in weight and suitable for use on pavements.
In the case of the large gritting trucks for winter services, the VKU reports that combined solutions are becoming ever more popular. Previously offered as alternatives, the two tasks of spraying salt or pre-wetted salt can now be performed by just one vehicle. When there is a lot of snow or ice, pre-wetted salt is an effective and preferred choice, but for use in preventing icy roads, spraying a salt solution produces excellent results, and it is cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Applying a salt solution in a concentration adjusted to the conditions involves some 20 to 50 percent less consumption of salt than when spraying pre-wetted salt; and less salt means less damage to the greenery along the roadside and less salt load on the drainage systems from the melted water flowing into them.
Another development goal in the machinery fleets of street-cleaning and winter road services is the right combination of performance and versatility. Here there is rising interest among users for medium-sized sweeping machines with a comparatively low container volume of four cubic meters. With their narrower and more maneuverable construction, these vehicles are very well suited to new-build areas featuring cul-de-sacs. There is then much less need to turn the vehicles round in narrow streets.
In both winter road services and also in street cleaning the regulations are being stepped up across Europe. For example, in their invitations to tender local authorities now need a reliable standard which enables a comparison between different road sweepers in terms of their ability to capture particulate matter. In response to this the European Association of Municipal Equipment has developed a unified test procedure. And with the publication of DIN EN 15429-3:2015-05 on “Sweepers—Part 3: Efficiency of particulate matter collection—Testing and evaluation” in May 2015, the association’s test procedure has now been declared the standard accepted across Europe. Frank Diedrich, Managing Director of the association, reports: “All leading manufacturers have completed the test with their machines. With this they are demonstrating their commitment to supporting the local authorities in the drive to improve air quality.” So far around 100 sweeper models have been tested, and many of these will be on show at the upcoming IFAT in Munich next year.
Further innovative solutions in vehicle design can be seen in the Truck in Action Show, organized by the VAK (Verband der Arbeitsgeräte- und Kommunalfahrzeug-Industrie), the German industry association of equipment and vehicles for municipal services. Here, attendees can experience live tests of vehicle and equipment capability—handling, emissions, gritting, clearing and sweeping. The Managing Director of the VAK, Bernd Sackmann, points out: “The very energy-efficient and resource-friendly vehicle and equipment developments of our member companies are creating real value for the customers and for society as a whole.”