Winter road maintenance is an important task for municipal companies. Given the unstable weather conditions in recent years and the unpredictability of temperatures and precipitation, winter maintenance operators face a difficult task each season. RASCO always strives to be one...
- Tomislav Paviša
This post will showcase one of the more notable projects completed by the RASCO vehicle customization team. Seven truck chassis have been converted from a barebone factory state into fully equipped winter maintenance vehicles. These are used by a Slovakian customer for motorway snow clearing and de-icing operations. The process involved implementing various proven solutions as well as mounting a bigger model of side-mounted snow plough.
This winter service solution is mounted on a Mercedes-Benz Arocs model 3342. Some of the key specifications include a 421 HP engine, 6×4 drivetrain, 3900 mm wheelbase and 33 tons gross permissible weight. This type of configuration ensures reliable performance in heavy working conditions and makes it possible to carry a large amount of de-icing material.
Modifications to the chassis include front and side mounting plates for snow ploughs with the required hydraulic and electrical connectors. The three-circuit hydraulic system is placed behind the vehicle’s cab and connected directly to the engine PTO. Three gear pumps provide power for the hydraulic actuators of the front plough, side plough and salt spreader. A spare tyre holder with a hydraulic lowering mechanism for easy access is integrated into the frame of the hydraulic system.
The truck will be carrying a KALNIK XL front snow plough, which is primarily meant for high-speed motorway operations. The total width of the plough is 5 metres, providing a 4,3-metre clearing width at 30° rotation. A special feature of this plough is the swiveling leftmost segment which provides more safety and manoeuvrability in transport, but also enables clearing snow in narrower spaces such as motorway rest areas and toll exits.
Complementing the front snow plough is the newly developed BSP 4.5 side plough, a longer and larger version of the side plough already available in RASCO’s product portfolio. With both snow ploughs extended in working position, the truck covers a total width of 7 metres or two full motorway lanes. Both snow ploughs are equipped with specially profiled polyurethane scrapers. These will provide very thorough clearing results while the weight relief function of the hydraulic system will minimize scraper wear.
The winter service solution package is rounded off with the SOLID X salt spreader. With 8.0 m3 dry agent and 2500 L liquid agent capacity, the vehicle will be able to cover very large stretches of motorway before needing to refill the spreader’s hopper and tanks. An auger conveyor system feeds the dry spreading agent to the spinner, where it is mixed with the liquid agent and precisely distributed to the surface of the road according to the desired parameters. For safe access and maintenance, the spreader features ladders and platforms both at the rear and front end. Its carrying frame is connected to the chassis by a quick mounting system, which allows the operator to switch it with a tipper body or other implement with minimal effort at the end of the winter season.
The user interface for this set of equipment also deserves a mention. All functions are executed using the control units placed conveniently within reach of the driver’s right arm. The KH3 unit is used for positioning the front and side plough, as well as setting the weight relief percentage and activating operation in floating position for each plough individually. The EPOS 10 unit controls all working parameters of the spreader, such as the spreading width, quantity, asymmetry and pre-wetting ratio. Additionally, a thermal camera mounted on the rear side of the spreader feeds the unit with road surface temperature and moisture data, allowing the unit’s software to automatically set optimal spreading parameters. The third control unit shown in the images is used for the special hydraulic functions which control the swiveling segment of the front snow plough.
Roland Lauko, CEO of our Slovakian distributor MB SERVIS, had this to say about the project: “I greatly appreciate the way RASCO can tailor its technology to the requirements of our customers to meet even their most demanding criteria. The new side plough with an overall width of 4,5 metres was a challenge for us which we have managed to make operational smoothly and professionally in cooperation with the RASCO team. The length of newly-built motorways in Slovakia is growing every year and I am proud to see that they will be maintained using RASCO brand equipment.”
RASCO defines itself as a supplier of complete road maintenance solutions for our end customers and as such we are always eager to take on complex projects such as this one. We are hopeful and confident that the owner will be pleased with the efficiency and reliability of their powerful new winter service vehicles.