Slimming down the UK’s waste
- 21 January 2008
- Company & Industry News
This constant flow of domestic, business and industrial waste demands an enormous amount of logistical organisation. The choice of transport for loading, carrying and dumping this waste is therefore of major importance to WRG.
As a result, WRG has recently bolstered its fleet of container trucks manufactured specifically for this type of operation by Bell Equipment. The container trucks are adapted versions of Bell's B25D articulated dump truck, configured to withstand the harsh and unpredictable working environment of landfill sites.
Stuart Court, group plant manager for WRG, says: "We've got experience with Bell trucks - and they work. This is more important than it sounds because if these trucks are not working the train isn't unloaded, and that would put us in breach of contract. Also the machines can face all kinds of potential problems on site."
Mr Court said that the nature of mixed landfill waste meant the terrain being travelled over by the on-site machinery was highly unpredictable.
"Real problems can occur when you pick up waste and it gets wrapped around the prop shaft," he said. "Pieces of metal can rip tyres, and you have to really be on top of things in making sure the radiators are clean - far more so than you would need to in a construction operation.
"Paper is a surprising problem - it can be highly abrasive. Stockings are also a problem, and mattresses are a nightmare. Some of our sites take a lot of mattresses - from hotels for example."
So, the Bell container trucks are able to handle the unpredictable terrain as well or better than anything else on the market. But a primary focus for WRG - and a key reason for using these ADTs - is health and safety, particularly for the operator.
"There will always be risks when operating in such an environment, but we strive to ensure those risks are kept to an absolute minimum," said Mr Court.
"If you're tipping an ADT on soft ground, you certainly don't want the whole machine going over. But if it does, you know the driver is safe. This would not be the case in a standard road-going vehicle.
"Our industry has to be much more proactive in protecting its drivers and vehicles than it was 10 or 15 years ago, partly due to tighter controls by the Health and Safety Executive. As a company, we certainly don't expect our employees to come to work and put themselves at risk. The cabin safety and protection in the Bells is excellent."
Bell Equipment cabins have been recently upgraded with its Generation 2 D-series range. The suspension, hydraulics and fuel efficiency also have a major part to play in these landfill operations. The Mercedes Benz six-cylinder turbocharged engine, for example, is exactly the same as Bell's standard B25D ADT and is therefore fuel efficient.
But a number of key adaptations are made when manufacturing the container trucks to enhance its operation in those environments.
The wheelbase chassis of the B25D container truck is three feet longer than the standard B25D ADT. It has additional driveline protection fitted to guard against some of those underlying hazards mentioned by Mr Court. And can be fitted with a variation of tyre types and sizes to suit the varying underfoot conditions.
WRG operates three of its Bell B25D container trucks at its Sutton Courtenay landfill operation, near Abingdon, in Oxfordshire. The Bells run on a continual cycle between the rail head and the dumping site - the distance between which varies depending upon which section of the site is currently being filled prior to re-landscaping. At the rail head, each empty container is removed from the truck by an overhead gantry crane and is replaced by a full container from the train.
It is imperative for the three Bells to maintain this steady cycle to avoid potential bottle necks. Each train that arrives at Sutton Courtenay carries 66 individual containers - each one containing around 20 t of waste, mostly from the West London area. And the waste does not stop being created at source, so consistency of operation is extremely important.
Will Gander is the site manager responsible for the smooth running of WRG's operation at Sutton Courtenay.
He said: "Considering we are taking more than 210,000 t of waste a year, it is essential that we have machines we can rely upon. To have these machines functioning properly, up and running all the time, is extremely important."
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Simon Bridge, regional sales manager for Bell Equipment UK, said: "There are several trends in the waste industry at the moment, and one of them is a move towards the wider use of the kind of container truck manufactured by Bell.
"Machinery that was originally intended as earth moving machinery has proven that it can be perfectly well adapted for use in different environments. And there are few operational challenges as great as a landfill site. Certainly no road-going vehicle could be adapted as well to cope with the challenging and arduous conditions.
"The beauty of ADTs is that whatever your imagination allows you to dream up, the ADT can be readily adapted for most applications."
Bell Equipment has continued to put this theory into practice. The company has recognised for years that strong competition within the ADT market demands manufacturers to widen their scope - to look at and react to niche market requirements."
He offers as an example, the rubber-tracked 4206D industrial scraper tractor in Europe's coal-fired power stations, which is an adapted version of Bell's B40D ADT, while Bell's new tracked B30D machine was built at the request of one of Bell's European customers, which was looking for a solution for handling large amounts of peat.
Bell Equipment UK Ltd
Unit 6C Graycar Business Park
T: 01283 712862
F: 01283 712687