The Long Arm That Reaches Underground

03. November 2021
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PALFINGER’s EPSILON crane enables fast and efficient emptying of underground waste collection systems on the streets of Münster

Steadily and precisely, the boom of the red crane reaches towards the metal cylinders. It then grabs one of the lifting eyes with its hook, lifts the previously concealed container into the air and swings it over the vehicle at the side of the road. At the push of a button, the waste container opens and empties into the compactor. This process is repeated for each of the four underground containers, which are filled with the different waste fractions.

The person who “conducts” these movements is the driver, who is equipped with a radio remote control. The special vehicle with the PALFINGER crane belongs to Waste Management Münster (AWM).

High Work Performance

It has long been known in the industry that PALFINGER’s high-tech EPSILON series cranes are ideally suited for recycling operations. But not everyone knows that these devices are quite capable of feeding even “underground” waste into the value cycle.
In the meantime, this system has become part of the daily routine at Waste Management in Münster. 

The underground waste collection truck, which is based on a 3-axle Scania G410, is equipped with the EPSILON Q170L Triple crane from PALFINGER and a container press system with compactor made by Bruns. A special feature is that the waste collection vehicle has a smaller turning circle than other 3-axle or 4-axle vehicles thanks to its self-steering rear axles, which makes it much easier to handle in inner-city areas and at narrow container sites. 
The Münster-based company is proud of the fact that there is currently no other vehicle with these features on the road for emptying underground waste collection systems.

Underground Containers: A Clean Solution

The city’s public waste disposal company combines many years of experience and professional competence with a high degree of flexibility and environmental awareness. The underground waste collection solution has been introduced in many densely populated residential and commercial areas, schools, universities, hospitals, office complexes, retirement and nursing homes, leisure parks, campsites, holiday camps, parks and roadside rest areas in order to be able to dispose of high volumes of waste in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner. 
As Karsten Markfort - one of the employees at AWM Sales - explains, the underground containers for residual waste, paper, organic waste and recyclable materials are a functional, clean and space-saving alternative to conventional waste containers. You can only see the individual columns above ground because the actual waste containers are located underground. The containers are available in the sizes of 3 m³, 4 m³ and 5 m³ with different feed systems and are particularly suitable where large quantities of waste arise.

The collection sequence involves the new waste disposal vehicle driving up to the kerb and the crane’s outriggers extending and its boom swinging out, all at the touch of a button. The driver climbs onto the crane platform, lifts the container out of the ground and up over the loading area of the vehicle with the grab of the crane. The bottom flaps of the container open and its contents are emptied into the truck. The compactor then pushes the waste to the back. The crane places the container back into the ground and lifts the next container for emptying. The waste disposal truck is divided into several compartments to separate the waste.
The vehicle has a 360-degree camera so that the driver can keep an eye on the containers and the road traffic at all times.

Custom-Built Solution

The recently completed municipal vehicle is a cooperative project between several specialists with hands-on experience. The experts from the Reiling Group in Marienfeld implemented the concept based on the special requirements of Münster Waste Management together with PALFINGER GmbH in Ainring and Bruns Umwelt- und Entsorgungstechnik GmbH & Co. KG in Geeste. 

As Hugo Tork, Technical Manager at AWM, explained, the new underground waste container truck is a follow-up order for an existing vehicle and at the same time a future-oriented addition to the fleet. The older vehicle with an EPSILON Q150 crane is still performing reliably, but has proved to be far too small to cope with increasing waste volumes. In addition, it is a collection vehicle without a compactor that can only load 2.5 tons at a time. The new vehicle has an unladen weight of 24 tons and is designed for a payload of up to 12 tons. This means that while both vehicles hold approximately the same volume, the newer model can handle 5 times the quantity of waste during a tour thanks to its integrated compactor. 

Practical Solution Found

There were several intermediate stages before the final concept of the underground waste collection truck was ready. For example, AWM’s requirements and specifications were first checked for their technical implementation. While the vehicle had to be compact and maneuverable, it also had to offer the driver the best possible working conditions. Above all, the crane needed to be ready for action quickly and easily. 

Together they found a practical solution. PALFINGER’s contractual partner Reiling Nutzfahrzeuge - a commercial truck builder - chose the powerful EPSILON Q170L Triple as the “heart” of the concept together with a special grapple that they developed in-house. The user-friendly crane at the top end of the medium-weight class features a unique kinematic system, which is particularly important for emptying underground containers. It also has an impressive loading height and reach, taking up little space when stowed on the compactor compared to other models.

Thanks to the long main boom, the L-cranes operate at high speed and have an excellent hook height, so productivity can be increased. The long main boom and the shorter knuckle boom form perfectly efficient geometry. The additional telescopic main boom on TR models allows the boom system to be stored within the container.

The QL cranes of the Epsolution generation with lifting capacities of 15 to 18 metric tons are available as an option with a choice of top seat, high stand or radio control operating systems. The crane on the AWM truck has a high stand that gives the operator a perfect view of the surroundings and into the tipping container. The advantage in this case is that it is also combined with a radio control system. This offers highly precise and easy operation with the best view of the load at all times.

Hugo Tork and his team really appreciate the good cooperation with PALFINGER’s contractual partner Reiling Nutzfahrzeuge. They have been satisfied with their competence in vehicle construction, consulting, driver instruction and after sales service for several years. 
So the channels for further expansions to the fleet remain open...


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