In the energy industry, the Unimog U 530’s off-road expertise pays for itself.
The picturesque countryside of southeast England make it a popular travel destination, but being such a rural region comes with its fair share of challenges too. For those working in infrastructure maintenance, the inaccessibility of some sites can be a challenge. But it’s no match for the off-road Unimog U 530, as UK Power Networks shows us.
the Unimog is known for its off-road expertise around the world, including in the UK, where the distribution network operator UK Power Networks has also opted for six brand new Unimog U 530s. Equipped with insulated lifting platforms, these all-rounders are right now being deployed by teams responsible for maintaining overhead lines throughout southeast England. The Unimog can get to even the remotest of locations that would be inaccessible with other vehicles.
Personnel responsible for distribution network maintenance need an implement that they can rely on; one which can be used anywhere, no matter the terrain. For 15 years, the Unimog has been a vital part of UK Power Networks’ fleet. Throughout this time, this agile off-road pro has never failed in its proficiency both on and off the road. Cliff Allender tells us more: "With its exceptional capabilities, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog is the only choice for these demanding tasks."
"The Unimog’s fantastic off-road capability means we can keep moving at all times, no matter what the conditions." So when the previous vehicles reached the end of their useful life, the fleet manager didn’t hesitate for a second when choosing the replacement model. Six brand new Unimog U 530s were ordered – and quickly put into operation.
The specifications of the all-rounders were developed in close cooperation with the team at UK Power Networks. The new Unimogs are all equipped with a hydraulic lifting platform with space for two mechanics in the basket. Because the specially trained hot glove teams work on power lines that carry up to 46,000 v, the hydraulic system is of course fully insulated.
Our investment in these extremely high-performance vehicles will help us respond quickly and efficiently to electrical emergencies.
Cliff Allender, Fleet manager, UK Power Networks
With the Unimog, the pros can reach up to 14.85 m, enabling them to keep the lights on across southeast England. When working on high-voltage lines, the stability of the implement is critical. This is where the new Unimog’s support arms come in: they keep the vehicle and trailer stable at all times, making it possible to work on uneven ground –
leaving no deployment location out of reach.
Supplied by retailer Arthur Ibbett, based in St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, the Unimog U 530 is ideally equipped for use in hard-to-reach places. Its permanent all-wheel drive, differential locks and tyre pressure control system make it a true off-road pro. "These are highly specialised vehicles", says Cliff Allender. "With its off-road capabilities, the Unimog is really the best choice for working in these locations."
But the Unimog isn’t just an off-road pro: when it comes to use within the energy industry, the vehicle’s efficiency on paved roads is another one of its most important features. The new vehicles can reach speeds of up to 90 km/h and are considerably more economical than other commercial vehicles. This makes it much easier to serve the team’s large catchment area, which stretches from East Anglia all the way through to the coast.
The Unimog U 530 is powered by an in-line six-cylinder engine for 220 kW (299 PS). The vehicles are equipped with the largest approved agricultural tyres. What’s more, the driver can regulate the tyre pressure without even leaving the cab! This means that the contact surface can be adapted to the ground type the vehicle comes into contact with. This minimises damage, especially on softer ground.
Guaranteed security of supply.
Cliff Allender is confident that the Unimog will remain part of the UK Power Networks team for a long time to come: "Over the past 15 years, the Unimog has proven itself time and time again with its performance on both paved and unpaved terrain as well as its reliability and value for money. The new vehicles have all the capabilities of our previous models combined. With the increased efficiency of the Unimog U 530 and agreed specifications, our Unimogs can now do their job even better!"
"We provide an essential service, and our investment in these extremely high-performing vehicles will help us respond quickly and efficiently to electrical emergencies, all the while guaranteeing the safety of our colleagues and customers – for many years to come", says Cliff Allender. It’s vital work, but not without its perks either: with the Unimog, the expert teams get to enjoy a ride through the picturesque south of England.