Refuse Trucks Equipped with Allison Transmissions Clean up After a Crisis
Two companies appointed to help tackle the infamous garbage problem in Lebanon both specified refuse collection trucks equipped with Allison transmissions because of the advantages of fully automatics over automated manual transmissions (AMTs) and manual transmissions in the refuse application. When RAMCO and City Blu won new government contracts to help clean up the streets, each invested in Mercedes-Benz Atego trucks, which were fitted with Allison’s 3000 SeriesTM transmissions at the recommendation of the local Mercedes-Benz dealer.
Lebanon’s garbage crisis first hit the headlines in 2015 when a landfill site in the village of Nameh had to be closed because it was overflowing. Only then did it become apparent that there was no alternative site to take the garbage. Refuse collections halted for five months and rubbish piled-up on the streets, mountainsides and beaches. Outraged citizens formed a movement called “You Stink!” to put pressure on the government to do more about this. At last the existing refuse collector was tasked with clearing the backlog, before two new contractors were appointed to deal with future waste collection. Those new contractors are RAMCO and City Blu, and nearly two years later both have helped resolve and manage the refuse situation while having positive experiences working with Allison-equipped trucks.
City Blu, a joint venture between the successfully diverse Lebanese business JV Moawwad Edde and Bulgarian firm Soriko, collects refuse from the Baabda district in western Lebanon, from Lebanon’s fourth-largest city, Aley, in the mountains 10 miles south-east of Beirut, and from the Chouf region south of Beirut, which features forested mountains and a narrow coastal strip. City Blu opted for 15 Mercedes-Benz Atego 1729s, which combine a Brazilian-made chassis with a Turkish-built body assembled by the OEM dealer in Lebanon – all fitted with the fully automatic Allison 3000 SeriesTM transmission.
City Blu’s vehicle and transmission choice was determined by the nature of the roads in its collection areas. Steep ascents to altitudes greater than 1,000 metres (3,280 ft) require a responsive engine and transmission, and village streets not much wider than a truck demand precise speed-control and manoeuvrability. Drivers appreciate the fact that the fully automatic transmission allows them to keep both hands on the steering wheel, and that there’s no distraction, thinking about gearshifts.
“Our work in different areas means we use two different types of truck – the large Mercedes-Benz Actros for cities with wide streets, and the smaller Atego where the truck must be powerful and compact. In the Ategos, fully automatic transmissions are essential. The power is responsive, the gearshift moves smoothly, and performance is good,” said Claude Hanna, workshop manager for JV Moawwad Edde (City Blu).
RAMCO collects refuse from Beirut itself and from the Metn and Keserwan districts east and northeast of the city. The company operates a total of 80 Mercedes-Benz Atego and Actros trucks, an increasing proportion of which include Allisons. This means RAMCO is perfectly placed to make a direct comparison between fully automatic Allisons and AMTs.
“We are really pleased with these trucks. After nearly two years on double shifts, they have had record uptime. Drivers are interchangeable between many trucks of different brands, and most report better performance and responsiveness with the Allison transmission compared to AMTs or manuals in the same truck model,” said Ayman Hilal, workshop manager for RAMCO.
Allison Transmission’s 3000 SeriesTM is designed for medium-duty commercial vehicles. Engineered to adapt and operate efficiently in a variety of applications, this Series is available with close- or wide-ratio gearing and up to seven speeds. Engine-driven Power Take-Off (PTO) is available as an option, as is an integral output retarder which provides enhanced vehicle braking and reduces brake wear. Operation is further enhanced by Allison’s 5th Generation advanced electronic controls, which also have prognostics capabilities.
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