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Grass care on a grand scale.

Mowing, trimming, suctioning – all in one pass.

A Unimog U 530 is the ideal vehicle for maintaining Switzerland's national highways – whether mowing the verges in summer or snow-clearing in winter.

„Mower train“ for 1,000 football fields.

280 kilometres of roads in eastern Switzerland are the responsibility of the National Highways Region VI maintenance department (known as "GEVI") based in St. Gallen. Among the challenging tasks the department faces, alongside keeping the roads operational in winter, is maintaining the verges and embankments in the summer months. The roadside verges and central reservations equate to an area larger than 1,000 football fields in total – a huge job, which requires specialist vehicles.

Ljubo Besevic is GEVI's head of Operations/Support, responsible for general operations, the related IT support, and procurement of the necessary vehicles and machinery. The department has just recently invested in a state-of-the-art vehicle to further enhance its grass care services in future: a Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 530 with a Mulag verge mower, a powerful embankment mower, and a 28 cubic metre capacity trailer to transport the cuttings, likewise made by Unimog ExpertPartner Mulag.

Need more information? Request the free brochure about the Unimog in road maintainance:

Unimog in municipal use

In the video: A Unimog with a trailer for grass cuttings aids work in the Biäsche depot.

Wide range of machinery mounted on the Unimog U 530.

Apart from its performance capabilities, there was another very specific reason for acquiring the vehicle: Its vacuum suction system provides an additional means of combating neophytes (invasive alien plants). They are sucked into the trailer immediately after cutting, and sent for appropriate disposal without the load needing to be transferred. This prevents them from spreading, so making a key contribution to the battle against neophytes on Switzerland's national highways. Also, the much more efficient disposal of cuttings saves time, and avoids the need for additional vehicle runs.

The well-equipped U 530 has a type MRM 300 verge mower mounted on its front end. It also incorporates a type MLM 200 post trimmer, which automatically clears weeds from the innumerable vertical posts along the roadsides. Optional extras include a hydrostatic drive (EasyDrive), cameras covering both the front and rear work areas, and a mower door. The Unimog additionally features a communications port by which all operations can be evaluated centrally in real time for operational data acquisition purposes.

Did you know?

With EasyDrive you can effortlessly switch between economical manual transmission for fast driving and the variable hydrostatic drive for work applications.

Efficient and flexible mowing saves time.

Innovative features of this vehicle-and-implement combination are its ability to handle two cuts in one pass (as opposed to existing solutions), and also its facility for left or right side mowing, enabling central reservations also to be worked.

Ljubo Besevic's department operates over 400 vehicles and implements of all sizes. He stresses how important a factor time is when working in the tough highway environment. In fact, the Swiss Federal Highways Agency (Astra) assigns very detailed time schedules to the work of the road maintenance units which have to be followed precisely in order to keep the traffic flowing freely and safely.

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The Unimog handled its summertime jobs with supreme assurance.

The U 530's mower modules mean a crew of two is needed. While the driver controls the mowing operations on the embankment by the cab joystick, the "copilot" is responsible solely for operating the delicate verge cutting and post trimming systems. The two crew have to work closely together. This particularly important since their work is mostly done while the traffic is flowing, with just the inside lane closed.

Another commercial factor in acquiring the Unimog was that it is also fully operable for winter service and for road cleaning. Because the GEVI team assigns top priority to cost-effectiveness and sustainability when choosing its equipment. Consequently, it made sure that the vehicle was specified for easy mounting and operation of the tried and proven winter equipment for spreading and snow clearing.

Successful debut: the new Unimog U 423 BlueTec 6 makes a convincing impression on the job.

Most especially, the combination of verge cutters, post trimmers and embankment mowers on a single vehicle is a key element of GEVI's plans for a comprehensive upgrade of its fleet in the next few years. If the Unimog works as well in winter as it is currently doing in its summertime mowing tasks, there are likely to be more additions to the fleet in the near future.

Source: Unimog Magazine 2/2017
Text: Christian Bonk
Photos: Henrik Morlock

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