Machine power instead of manpower.

Econic empties underground containers safely and efficiently – relieving the strain on refuse collectors.

The town of Freiburg in the Breisgau region of Germany stands for green innovations and great quality of life – comprehensive goals which are pursued in all areas of public life. This also applies to municipal waste management where the council's refuse collection and town cleaning authority, Abfallwirtschaft und Stadtreinigung Freiburg GmbH (ASF) is always on the lookout for new solutions on behalf of the town's inhabitants. That is why the town recently introduced underground refuse containers which are emptied by an Econic 3750 8x4/4 with a steered trailing axle.

Urban traffic – a challenge.

Refuse collection vehicles are often on the road at rush-hour and must manoeuvre through narrow and congested streets to complete their routes. On top of that the drivers must be aware of other road users in every situation, particularly in towns like Freiburg which is extremely popular with cyclists. 

ASF has been relying on the Econic to ensure a high degree of safety for 15 years now. In the meantime all waste disposal operations are carried out using Econic trucks. A total of 36 Mercedes-Benz special trucks are available for this service in the fleet. The latest model is a four-axle vehicle which has been equipped specifically for emptying the new underground containers.

As far as Michael Broglin, the Managing Director of ASF, is concerned the Econic is his first choice in urban traffic with regard to safety, "In particular, it is the low cab which makes the all-round view from the Econic so much better than in a classic truck." The large windscreen and glazed folding door on the co-driver's side provide the driver with a direct view of traffic. Furthermore, modern safety assistance systems such as the Blind Spot Assist camera system, Safeguard Assist and the emergency brake system Active Brake Assist perfectly complement the DirectVision cab.

Active Brake Assist 5 for Econic.

Responsibility for both people and the environment.

The new underground containers for biodegradable waste, waste paper, plastics and non-recyclable waste are being installed in many new residential construction projects in Freiburg. The investment pays off quickly, particularly in larger residential complexes such as student halls of residence, because storing waste below ground saves a lot of space. It also has a positive effect on the townscape and unpleasant smells become a thing of the past. Also residents no longer need to put out bins on collection days and refuse disposal is finally barrier-free.

In particular, it is the low cab which makes the all-round view from the Econic so much better than in a classic truck.

Michael Broglin, Managing Director, Abfallwirtschaft und Stadtreinigung Freiburg GmbH

Following a test phase, ASF is now introducing the underground containers in Freiburg's Dietenbach district which is currently under development. Only one man is required to empty the containers with the new Econic. A crane is used to load the refuse thus dispensing with the physical and often difficult work previously carried out by ASF staff when emptying the conventional wheeled bins. In addition collection routes can be better planned as sensors indicate how full the containers are, and they are then only emptied as required. This reduces the workload of council staff considerably.

Eye-catching detail: the new Econic with its impressive crane attracts a lot of attention when it travels through the town.
Standing solid: the crane body can extend to a length of up to 9 m. This means that containers that are not located right at the side of the road can also be emptied easily.
Safety in focus: with the help of the Blind Spot Assist camera system the driver always has a view of the area to the front and side of the vehicle.
Thoroughly reliable: safe and efficient refuse collection is guaranteed even in Freiburg's busy traffic.
A robust heavy-weight: the Econic chassis with four axles is designed for heavy loads.
Lowered safely: the hopper at the rear of the Econic is extended hydraulically and the refuse containers emptied at the press of a button.
Everything under control: thanks to remote control the crane can be operated from various positions – just as the traffic situation dictates.
Eye-catching detail: the new Econic with its impressive crane attracts a lot of attention when it travels through the town.

Perfectly adapted.

The new Econic for ASF has four axles and a permissible gross mass of 32 t providing for a high payload allowance. A wheelbase of 3750 mm and a steered trailing axle ensure that the vehicle remains agile. In a close co-operation between the body partners and the technical consultancy team at Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, the vehicle's chassis was optimised and adapted to meet the customer's requirements by the special vehicle development team at Custom Tailored Trucks (CTT) .

S-Tech GmbH installed a crane behind the cab to empty the underground containers. The Palfinger Epsilon 180 crane is one of the largest in its class and with a reach of 9 m can lift loads weighing up to 1830 kg. The driver operates it solely by remote control. And what is special about the crane is that its arm can be held in position so that the truck can be driven the short distances between collection stops without the whole crane having to be completely retracted.

The crane includes an integrated device for emptying the containers and a Moba crane weighing system. This is used in the main for commercial customers for whom waste disposal costs are calculated by weight. The system weighs the full containers prior to loading and then again when empty. The difference is the weight of the waste to be paid for. The controls for the weighing system are integrated in the cab and incorporate a function for printing out a receipt for the customer on-site.

The refuse then lands in the compacter body built by the Austrian bodybuilder Stummer using a loading mechanism and an extendible hopper. It has a capacity of up to 19 m³ and is equipped with a hydraulic compacting system capable of a compression ratio of 5:1. That is more than enough space for large-scale refuse collection in the town or at motorway parking facilities along the A5. The refuse is unloaded at the rear the same as on standard refuse vehicles.

Safe area to the rear.

In inner-city traffic drivers try to avoid reversing in particular. Unfortunately, time and again situations occur in which the truck must be manoeuvred backwards on collection routes. To ensure that the high safety standards of AFS are fulfilled in these situations too, the Econic has also been retrofitted with a ViSy system which monitors the area to the rear of the vehicle.

Several cameras mounted at the rear generate a 3D image of the area behind the vehicle. The system can detect persons and objects in the danger zone and then issue both an acoustic and visual warning to the driver should there be a risk of collision. As an additional safeguard, the emergency stop function can be used as a last resort to bring the vehicle to a standstill.

As a result Freiburg is not only disposing of its underground waste with innovative methods, but is also making a great contribution to improving the safety of all road users. The special truck has already proved its worth in the first few weeks of operation. And Managing Director Michael Broglin is convinced that Freiburg's waste disposal authority will continue to rely on the Econic.

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