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- Tomislav Paviša
This winter service Mercedes-Benz Arocs would feel at home on quite a lot of European roads
What is a winter service truck, anyway?
If we had to pick one vehicle to represent the term „winter service truck“ as far as the European continent is concerned, it would probably look something like this: Two-axle chassis, 3900mm wheelbase, 4×4 drive, 22 tons gross vehicle weight. Inline 6 7,7 litre diesel engine producing 354 hp and 1400 Nm torque. Automated transmission. Medium-sized cab to provide extra space for tools and warm winter clothes, with orange flashing beacons on top and raised headlights in front. Dual-circuit hydraulic system connected to the engine power take-off. Front mounting plate carrying a 3,4-metre wide snow plough. In the rear, a tipper body with a 5m3 capacity salt spreader in it. All implement functions controlled via in-cab control units. RAL 2011 orange exterior from head to toe for maximum visibility in bad weather.
There are countless possible variations on the theme, of course, but this is a truly typical winter service truck configuration. It can travel quickly to its place of deployment, is moderately agile, and can cover a large section of road before having to refuel and refill with spreading material. It is most likely to be charged with maintaining regional roads between populated areas or major inner-city thoroughfares. It would not be out of place working on a motorway, either.
“Back in my hometown”
This particular Arocs, however, will most likely have to wait before seeing some real snow clearing action. After its bodybuilding session at RASCO headquarters in Croatia, it returned to its hometown of Wörth am Rhein, Germany. It is currently located in the Branchen-Informations-Center (“BIC”) right next to the Mercedes-Benz truck factory. There it will be displayed among other trucks that have been prepared for various specialized applications by companies with the status of “QualifiedPartner by Mercedes-Benz Trucks”. RASCO is one such company and we are very happy for this opportunity to showcase our Mercedes-Benz bodybuilding expertise.
By now one might surmise why the Arocs is equipped exactly the way it is. This winter service configuration is most likely to match the requirements of a typical road maintenance contractor, so we are hoping it will catch the eye of BIC visitors who are looking for exactly this type of solution.
Let’s take a closer look at the elements of this build, starting with the hydraulic system which is used to drive and control the implements. Two hydraulic gear pumps are connected in tandem to the engine PTO. One provides an oil flow of 40 litres/min for the spreader circuit and the other one 20 litres/min which is used to control the snow plough. Hydraulic blocks and an 80-litre oil tank are positioned on the right-hand side of the truck between the front and rear axle.
Mounting plate and snow plough
The front mounting plate is constructed to the EN 15432 F1 standard. Integrated side brackets hold two pairs of hydraulic connectors – one for the plough’s left-right swiveling action and the other for lifting and lowering – as well as a return line. An electrical plug is also available for the snow plough’s lights.
The MOSOR PK snow plough model was chosen. This is a very popular choice among our customers because of its versatility. It performs very well clearing moderate amounts of snow at higher speeds, for example when working on wide open roads. But it’s also great for roads inside populated areas because of the polyurethane connections between the wing segments and the plough beam. This makes it easy for the plough to adjust to any uneven spots on the road and pass safely over obstacles. The plough in this case is 3,4 meters wide, and when swiveled into working position clears just under 3 meters of road surface width. Norskal composite scrapers were installed instead of conventional steel ones for increased durability.
Tipper body and spreader
The vehicle’s rear is taken up by a SOLID salt spreader mounted into a tipper body. The latter, made by the Meiller Kipper company, is operated via its own tipper pump. The inclusion of a tipper body provides the truck with more flexibility outside the winter season, as the spreader can be easily demounted using its RO-RO (Roll-on, Roll-off) leg system. The truck can then be used for transport of construction materials and similar tasks.
The spreader itself has a hopper capacity of 5 cubic metres. An auger conveyor is used to transport the spreading agent to the exit chute. The auger is a great choice for extremely precise dosage of dry salt, grit or in general, spreading agents that have a low moisture content.
This spreader also has a pre-wetting system, which is used to increase spreading efficiency. The side-mounted tanks hold up to 2400 litres of brine.
There is one more important piece of the puzzle to look at, and that is the control system. Two control units have been installed in the truck’s cab. Left on the image is the EDH 20 control unit for the hydraulic system. Its functions include turning on the spreader’s hydraulic circuit, moving the snow plough up-down, left-right using the joystick, activating the plough’s floating position and adjusting the weight relief function.
On the right side is the EPOS 10 spreader control unit. This is among the latest of our control systems that has been completely redesigned in 2020. The improvements are faster hardware and a bigger LCD screen with higher resolution. Easy data transfer is achieved through an USB port as well as wireless and Bluetooth connectivity. Basic and advanced functions are immediately available through dedicated buttons and knobs. This includes turning on spreading, setting the spreading quantity and left / right spreading width, cycling through spreading material pre-sets, adjusting pre-wetting percentage and turning on pre-wetting as well as others. Additional options include easy spreader calibration, viewing and downloading spreading reports, as well as sending data to the ARMS road management system.
Despite seemingly endless options, an optimal solution can always be found
For anybody venturing into the task of picking a winter service truck configuration, the complexity of available choices can quickly become overwhelming. As an experienced truck bodybuilder, RASCO can lend a hand. Not only can we recommend the right implements for the user’s local conditions, but also advise on the optimal chassis configuration down to the last detail. Whether what’s needed is a “typical” or completely custom solution, RASCO is willing to take on the challenge.