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New Unimog for Magdeburg civil engineering department replaces several old vehicles at once.

Since November of last year, at Magdeburg civil engineering department they can put new power into their work: One Unimog U 527 takes care of bridges and tunnels – and once again shows surprising versatility.

Not just twice as good - three times as good.

"It was a huge project configuring the Unimog;" says Andreas Angenstein of the Ahlborn Unimog dealership, which had received the order from the town of Magdeburg. "It would be best if the new vehicle could deal with three areas of operation that were previously each done by an individual vehicle," explains the regional manager, who was involved right from the start. "We sat down together at a round table with the bodybuilder and we tried to find the best possible solution for the civil engineering department’s requirements."

The challenge of cutting the Unimog to the right size took almost a year. Ideally, the Unimog had to be as varied and versatile as the tasks of the civil engineering department are: in addition to cleaning tunnel walls in Magdeburg, there are a lot of different tasks to do with bridges and their access roads on the banks of the River Elbe. Other things to take into account were transporting material to and from construction sites during maintenance and restoration work, and when digging river banks or ditches.

Multi-talent through and through.

With the new Unimog U 527, now only one basic vehicle needs to be maintained, fuelled and stored, but it does the work of three. It has 270 hp and a long wheelbase of 3900 mm. In the planning phase, the aim was to combine a number of different applications in order to make enough space available on the Unimog for all the bodies by using one system – not an easy task: "Some manufacturers use the drive from the vehicle’s own hydraulics, another uses the engine power take-off and yet another one uses the power take-off transmission of the Unimog, which can generate up to 160 kW output," explains Andreas Lein, Head of Application Technology for Ahlborn. "Bodybuilder Hiab suggested using the familiar twist-lock system. No sooner said than done."

At high pressure around the globe: Unimog with a tunnel washer

For bridge maintenance and restoration, for example, an elevating work platform from the Danish manufacturer Versalift can be attached by the twist-lock system. This work platform has a maximum working height of 18.5 m, and a lateral range of up to eleven metres. The staff of the civil engineering department can do their work in a swivel range of up to 420°. Also the basket can be turned by up to 85° in both directions. The work basket can take a load of up to 230 kg and two people have enough space in it to work in comfort. The whole system is driven by the Unimog’s own hydraulic system via the second hydraulic circuit. Thanks to a tool container with roller shutters and a Sortimo system inside, tools and materials can be stowed safely for transport.

When used laterally, the Versalift elevating work platform has a range of 11 m.
Practical: tools and parts are quickly at hand in the side tool boxes.
The water tank for cleaning operations has space for up to 5,000 l.
When used laterally, the Versalift elevating work platform has a range of 11 m.
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In addition to the Versalift elevating work platform, there is space for a crane and a platform manufactured by bodybuilder Hiab on the twist-lock system of the Unimog U 527. The platform is for delivering and removing material and building waste; the Hiab crane works as a loading aid and with its integrated cable winch it can also provide support in locations that are difficult to reach. The option of being able to mount a clamshell bucket on the crane to carry out small digger tasks is also very useful. As a result, the Unimog quite easily replaces yet another construction site vehicle.

And talking of construction sites – Magdeburg city tunnel is due to be completed in 2022 and as the third tunnel in addition to the two existing ones it is also the responsibility of the civil engineering department. Here too, the new Unimog will take on its third major task: cleaning tunnel walls. For this purpose, the MFK 500-T tunnel washer made by Mulag will be attached to the Unimog. This includes a water tank with a capacity of 5000 litres plus a high-pressure pump, a detergent dispenser and a 30-m high-pressure hand-held spray pistol.

The Unimog U 527 can be equipped with various superstructures by the employees of the civil engineering office in a relatively short time.
The Mulag crane can be extended with an excavator bucket.
The Unimog U 527 can be equipped with various superstructures by the employees of the civil engineering office in a relatively short time.
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If it’s OK to add a little more.

"In order to give the staff of the civil engineering department the best possible briefing, the borough even blocked off a tunnel one evening," Andreas Lein reports. Giving the staff of the civil engineering department who drive the Unimog long and extensive instruction was a particular priority of Ahlborn. "We took three days just for the Unimog as a basic vehicle, and for each body we took one and a half days," says Andreas Angenstein. Up until today, they are in constant contact: "The civil engineering department told us that the Unimog is being used for an even wider range of tasks than planned. It’s now also being used to remove graffiti and to clean soundproofing walls, which wasn’t originally planned for at all."

It’s not really much of a surprise that the all-rounder fully lives up to its name of Universal-Motor-Gerät (universal motorised machine). But again and again it is a truly positive experience for all the people who work with it.

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