Future municipal vehicles discussed at Allison Transmission Symposium

More than 100 private and municipal fleet decision-makers, as well as vehicle manufacturers and body builders, met at the SASE facility in Germany to discuss trends and developments in the refuse collection industry and their impact on the future during the 7th Allison Transmission Symposium.

Iserlohn, Germany – For the seventh year, numerous companies presented innovative vehicle and service concepts for the refuse collection and municipal sector at the Allison Transmission annual symposium. The symposium has grown into a popular forum for experts from municipal services and vehicle technology, This year the event included a guided tour through the historical SASE collection, followed by an opportunity to socialize and network.

Trending toward increased driver comfort
Dr. Dietmar Regener, Deputy Manager for Refuse and City Cleaning Paderborn (ASP) and Deputy Chairmen of the VKU Logistics Committee, presented an overview of municipal vehicles from past to present. Regener said that since 1910, electrics have been used in refuse collection services, and only later in 1918 were the first refuse collection vehicles equipped with combustion engines.

Dr. Regener also made predictions concerning the future development of municipal vehicle technology. As much as diesel engines are still the preferred choice today in the refuse management industry, he expects a significant rise in the use of alternative fuels. Driver training will play a substantial role in reducing fuel and maintenance costs, while the operator’s comfort will become an even more crucial factor in the purchasing process. Automatization and low entry cabs (84% of low entry vehicle users would choose them again) will become must-have features.

Municipal fleets seeing green
Bernd Sackmann, Fleet Manager of BSR, described the key objectives of the Berlin municipal climate programme. As an outcome of this politics the provision of an environmentally-friendly fleet has a prominent position in the BSR’s procurement plans. This imposes a deep knowledge of current technologies and a continuous follow-up of technology trends.

BSR is the largest municipal refuse company in Germany and is committed to play the “champion” role in this market. The company plans to increase its number of CNG trucks from 100 to approximately 140 by the end of 2012. By this time BSR will also operate its own bio-gas facility to fuel this vehicle fleet in Berlin Ruhleben. Currently BSR operates various hybrid vehicles to test the technology. The latest configuration includes the operation of the refuse body by a fuel-cell.

Mr. Sackmann stated that fuel consumption will be a critical factor for the development of any future technology and that the quality of municipal service will be measured also on the base of its CO2 emissions. Along this line BSR is executing studies on the fuel efficiency of street sweepers and in a next step of its refuse vehicle fleet. Results from these studies will influence future vehicle tender specifications.

Compress Natural Gas: a viable solution today
Peter van Cuijk, Manager of International Marketing Programs at Allison Transmission, provided an overview of the alternative fuels market. This included its legal conditions, the viability of different technologies in the industry today and those that will be available in the near future. Van Cuijk focused on pros and cons of Compress Natural Gas (CNG) when used in the truck application power pack. The presentation included a case study wherein the Life Cycle Cost comparison between CNG and conventional diesel engines revealed a cost advantage for the CNG equipped vehicle of more than 20% over a 10-year lifespan. 

Refuse vehicles as mobile IT units
Hartmut Möllmann, Managing Director of IFEU Institute (Institute for Refuse and Environmental Engineering in Iserlohn, Germany), gave an overview of current and future IT-systems for the refuse industry. With modern information technology systems, vehicles could turn into mobile IT units capable of calculating daily duty cycle figures, automatically selecting optimal routes and much more. Möllmann also pointed out the ergonomic importance of human interfaces, which means that standardization is a requirement and operation should be made as simple as possible.

CNG and Low Entry vehicle for Scania
As the person responsible for sales-training at Scania Germany, Bernd Hoche presented the Scania P Series low entry, a truck range also featuring a Compress Natural Gas engine - 270 and 310 Hp - exclusively fitted with Allison 3000 Series fully automatic transmissions. The vehicle’s design ensures reduced clearance between the ground and the cab entry, since the cab is mounted forward of the front axle. Pneumatic cushioning allows for a further 60-80 mm reduction in entry height. The wide doors and the low entrance step offer operators comfortable access. The cab fits four people and complies with the highest safety standards.

Compressed hydrogen cell and electric hybrid systems
Georg Sandkühler, Head of Research & Development at Faun Environmental Technology, presented innovative technologies for refuse collection vehicles, namely Rotopress Fuelcell and Rotopress Dualpower.

The fuel cell version of Faun’s Rotopress has been jointly developed by BSR, Faun and Heliocentris – a compressed hydrogen (CGH2) cell manufacturer. Their truck uses hydrogen fuel cell energy for emptying trash bins and loading and compressing waste. The drivetrain of the truck is a conventional diesel engine with an Allison automatic transmission,. BSR in Berlin started testing the truck in December of 2011 and plans to monitor results for the next two years.  

The Rotopress Dualpower is an electric hybrid refuse vehicle. The truck implements a secondary power train with a diesel-electric power unit that stores the energy otherwise lost when braking and sensibly reuses it to carry out the various work processes required during waste collection. When the electric motor/generator with a 175 KW peak is activated, the energy is stored in super capacitors. Kinetic energy is recuperated and is then used for the traction drive, rotary drum drive and the electric lifting and tipping device. The conventional diesel engine  is used only when the vehicle is not in refuse-collection mode, thus fuel savings up to 33% are possible. CO2 emission and noise reduction further advantages.

The hydraulic hybrid system from Bosch Rexroth AG
Eric Lindzus, Bosch Rexroth AG, presented the hydraulic parallel hybrid from Bosch Rexroth, which is available in two classes, the 233 KW / 1113 Nm for heavy duty applications and 138 KW / 663 Nm for medium-sized vehicles. The Hydrostatically Renewable Brake system (HRB) is a hydraulic hybrid which is specially developed for vehicles without a hydrostatic transmission, such as refuse trucks or buses.

When brakes are applied, an axial piston unit converts kinetic energy into hydraulic energy and pumps hydraulic fluid into the pressure accumulator causing the pressure to build. Kinetic energy is converted into hydraulic energy and stored in the accumulators. During vehicle motion, the pressurized hydraulic fluid in the accumulator actuates the axial piston unit, which now works as a motor. Hydraulic energy is now converted into kinetic energy. This energy is then used for vehicle propulsion. Optimal applications for the HRB system include heavy-duty vehicle runs with frequent stops.

The use of HRB results in significant fuel savings, up to 25%, and improved acceleration – depending on the focus of the application.

Feb 06, 2012

About Allison Transmission

Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and is a leader in electric hybrid-propulsion systems for city buses. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including refuse, construction, fire, distribution, bus, motorhomes, defense and energy. Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and employs approximately 2,700 people worldwide. With a market presence in more than 80 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Hungary and India. Allison also has approximately 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit allisontransmission.com.