Vacuum-powered
cleaning machines.

The Econic empties waste bins and cleans up sewers for Aberdeenshire Council.

The Scottish county of Aberdeenshire is focused on efficiency. As a fleet manager, Paul Grey takes care of the municipal fleet and has a fitting solution to the county administration's economic and ecological requirements: Econic. Currently, he has nine of the Mercedes-Benz DirectVision trucks in operation – eight waste-disposal vehicles and one specially equipped sewer cleaning vehicle. And these not only prove to be effective for waste disposal and cleaning tasks, but have also fully convinced the decision-makers when it comes to safety.

Lots of space in the tank.

For its waste disposal service, Aberdeenshire Council has been solely relying on Econic trucks for seven years already. Highlight of the fleet: a new, specially equipped low-entry truck with a vacuum tank body. This truck is in operation throughout the entire county in order to empty gullies and clean drainage channels near motorways.

Uncommonly for Great Britain, the truck has a left-hand drive. This gives the driver a better view of the side of the road during operation.

In contrast to its predecessor, an 18-tonner, the Econic has a permissible gross vehicle weight of 26 t. In conjunction with a longer chassis, this weight increase allows for a larger body to be installed on the truck. The vacuum tank by Whale Tankers carries a whopping 11,800 litres of water and is equipped with a high-performance nozzle system.

More volume and better manoeuvrability.

The waste disposal vehicles are equipped with waste compactor bodies by Farid Hillend Engineering. Due to their 4,500-mm wheelbase, the new Econic trucks are a total of 300 mm longer than their predecessors. As is the case for the tanker vehicle, the additional length makes it possible for the waste disposal trucks to be equipped with a larger container, which is also usable for transporting recyclable food waste. Fleet manager Paul Gray is very pleased by this. "Our communities strongly approve of food waste recycling. Due to increased volumes, we need larger containers on our waste disposal vehicles," he reports.

All nine trucks are 6x2 variants with steerable rear axles – for optimal manoeuvrability. Paul Gray knows that particularly on narrow roads full of parked cars, this is a decisive advantage. The Econic 2630L models are powered by high-torque 7.7-litre in-line six-cylinder engines with an output of 220 kW (299 hp). In conjunction with a six-speed Allison automatic transmission, this engine provides the necessary dynamic propulsion and agility for each job.

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Five stars for safety.

No compromises when it comes to safety: for the excellent visibility of its DirectVision cab, the Econic was awarded five out of five stars by the Transport of London committee. Big pluses: the low panoramic windscreen and the fully glazed folding door at the passenger side, which provide good all-around visibility – including for road users directly in front of or next to the vehicle.

The low seating position enables the Econic driver to establish direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrians at crossings and in traffic queues. This direct view has been proved to reduce reaction times in dangerous situations.

"The Econic offers our drivers good visibility and not only increases safety for our crews but also for the general public and for particularly vulnerable traffic participants," summarises Paul Gray. It also offers considerable advantages in terms of ergonomics: "The low entry into the air-conditioned cab is good for health and safety because it makes life a lot easier for workers who get in and out of the cab several times a day."

In addition to its DirectVision cab, the Econic is impressive with its many perfectly coordinated safety assistance systems. The emergency braking assistant Active Brake Assist 4 is part of its standard equipment. Using a multi-mode radar system, this assistant recognises stationary and moving vehicles in front of the Econic, and is capable of fully stopping the truck in case of an emergency. The system also recognises pedestrians crossing the road, and sends an acoustic and optical warning to the driver.

This is how Active Brake Assist works.

Aberdeenshire Council has expanded the security features of the new Econic even further: all trucks are equipped with reversing assistants. The necessary equipment is already installed in the Econic as standard. This assistance system supports the driver when reversing at manoeuvring speed by showing the distance to objects on the instrument cluster and warning the driver of potential collisions in advance.

The Econic trucks offer our drivers good visibility and improved safety.

Paul Gray, fleet manager, Aberdeenshire Council

Reliable partnership.

When he talks about the qualities of his Econic fleet, Paul Gray becomes enthusiastic very quickly. Apart from their advantages in terms of equipment, he especially appreciates the vehicles' reliability, which he has been experiencing for seven years on an almost daily basis. But if a repair should still be necessary, Aberdeenshire Council benefits from a comprehensive three-year manufacturer's warranty by purchasing via the Mercedes-Benz dealer network in the UK.

He knew he was in good hands with his Mercedes-Benz dealer BLS Truck & Van in Aberdeen, Paul Gray adds: "BLS Truck & Van cooperated closely with us and the body manufacturers and contributed to us getting the vehicles most ideally suited to our daily requirements." Efficient fleet management, just to his taste.

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