Logistics with a lift.

Econic as a swap body optimises production processes at Glen Dimplex.

During the occasional trips outside the Glen Dimplex factory premises in Kulmbach, the new Econic from Braun Trans causes quite a stir. Because to unknowing observers, it almost looks as if the containers are floating above the loading area. The reason for this rare sight: The Mercedes-Benz transports swap bodies complete with upright support legs.

Wanted: clever vehicle for clever production.

Background to the acquisition of the hydraulic swap loading system is Glen Dimplex's sophisticated production logistics at the Upper Franconian site. For the smooth production of the air-conditioning system technology, the required components are delivered directly to the production areas with swap bodies and via loading ramps. The intermediate products later flow along the same route for further processing and the end products for dispatch.

Folding and unfolding the support legs of the swap bodies would take up a lot of time during the countless factory transports - and thus cause costs. Therefore, the company, together with its transport service provider Braun Trans, looked for a vehicle solution that would make these work steps obsolete.

Another requirement in the Braun Trans specifications: road approval. Most of the journeys between the production units take place on the factory premises. However, the new vehicle has to cover short distances on public roads.

The perfect vehicle solution: an Econic.

The Franconians found what they were looking for at Mercedes-Benz. As a vehicle base, the Econic 1827 L 4x2 with an 18 t chassis and a wheelbase of 5.70 m impressed in particular with its low-entry cab. Because of the short journeys on the factory premises, the drivers have to get on and off around 30 to 40 times per shift. Thanks to the low entry height, this is more convenient, faster and - even more important - with a lower risk of injury than with conventional transport vehicles.

The panoramic glazing, the mirror system and the safety assistance systems, including Active Brake Assist 5 and Lane Keeping Assist, ensure greater safety.

The decision-makers at Braun Trans were also convinced by the high availability of the Econic. As a special vehicle, the new acquisition was to occupy a key position in the internal supply chain and be used in 2-shift operation. With its short downtimes, the Econic can keep up with this load.

The same applies to the good service provided by Auto-Scholz GmbH and Co KG. The long-standing partner of Braun Trans has often proven in the past how quickly it reacts - and in an emergency, even at night and on weekends.

Like a lowrider: the Econic driver can adjust the height of the loading area ...
... even while driving, using hydraulics.
Like a lowrider: the Econic driver can adjust the height of the loading area ...

A hydraulic change system from the region.

In addition to the vehicle, Braun Trans also proved to have the right instinct when it came to finding the right superstructure. In Mainleus, very close to their customer Glen Dimplex, they became aware of the company Hofmann Fahrzeugbau. The specialist for special vehicles and bodies has decades of experience and expertise in the field of interchangeable loading systems.

Accordingly, the overall product was convincing in terms of both performance and safety: four hydraulic cylinders provide 16 t of lifting power for a 500 mm stroke. Thanks to the motor-side output, the system can be used while driving to save time. The construction is protected by four profile elements that provide the necessary stability. Finally, the swap body underbody is a full 1.5 m above the road surface.

A container lock secures the cargo. It is also hydraulically operated and can be monitored at any time via a display in the driver's cab. Due to the high centre of gravity and the associated forces, the speed of the Econic is limited to 25 km/h. The Econic is also equipped with a video system for reversing and a container loading system. A video system for reversing and container loading provides additional safety when manoeuvring. The monitor in the cab allows the driver to keep an eye on everything at all times. Underride protection, ambient lighting and all-round flashing lights round off the safety concept of the swap body loading system.

The concept left nothing to be desired for either Braun Trans or their client. And rightly so, as became clear after delivery: the Econic as the vehicle base and the Hofmann body form a perfect unit from which the Glen Dimplex production in Kulmbach will benefit for many years to come.

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