The Dennis Eagle difference: Penske Commercial Vehicles

Penske Commercial Vehicles has applied a variety of lessons from the United Kingdom to ensure its Dennis Eagle brand meets local congestion-busting challenges.

The silver and white Dennis Eagle body complemented a multitude of familiar favourites as stakeholders turned out to Melbourne’s Sandown Park Hotel on a slightly chilly morning.

At the end of last year, Penske Commercial Vehicles held an industry breakfast and vehicle display with its customers from Cleanaway, Bucher Municipal, Citywide and other organisations. In addition to a walkthrough of the trucks, the event featured a comprehensive explanation of Penske’s global and local footprint.

Many in the industry would be familiar with Penske Commercial Vehicles’ distributed range of commercial vehicles, including Western Star Trucks, MAN Trucks & Bus and, of course, the iconic Dennis Eagle refuse brand.

While detailing Penske’s global footprint and remanufacturing capabilities, Shannon Mair, Group National Fleet Sales Manager at Penske Commercial Vehicles, explained that the company continues to grow its capabilities.

“We’ve got a very strong footprint of support in the highly populated areas and on the main routes throughout Australia,” he said, adding that the company also had a strong regional presence.

He then went on to provide a history of the Dennis Eagle brand – a waste industry staple. With a British engineering history dating back to the turn of the 20th century, Dennis Eagle is one of the oldest producers of refuse collection vehicles in the world.

The company was founded in 1895 by John and Raymond Dennis and produced its first motor vehicle in 1899. Now owned by Terberg RosRoca Group, Dennis Eagle has 900 units in service across Australia, with more than 40 councils operating vehicles. The brand offers a range of refuse collection solutions, including the Dual Control and RHS Elite models.

“Many people associate the Penske brand with motor racing. The reason why we talk about the race team being an integral part of our organisation is that our Founder Roger Penske is very passionate about motor racing, and the very same ethos he applies in running a race team – precision, efficiency, dedication – is the same ethos that drives the whole organisation.”

Dennis Eagle collection vehicles have seen hundreds of deliveries over the years from the likes of Cleanaway, Veolia, SUEZ, J.J. Richards, Citywide and WM Waste.

Shannon illustrated that in Australia over the past decade, more than 1600 pedestrians and at least 350 cyclists were killed by vehicles. With London being a well-known congested city, the research shows 25 per cent of pedestrian and 35 per cent of cyclist fatalities involve a truck or heavy goods vehicle.

The research conducted for Transport for London has underpinned Penske Commercial Vehicle’s understanding of blind spots and allowed it to share the importance of the driver’s direct vision – an aspect that is equally as relevant in Australia.

One of the key factors behind the Dennis Eagle difference is its low-entry design, providing best-in-class direct vision, single step entry and a true flat door. Shannon said single step also offers good grip, which is important from an OH&S perspective.

“In the next couple of years, you won’t be able to bring a standard forward control truck into the centre of London. Every vehicle will have to be a low-entry vehicle,” he said.

“When you go out and see the vehicles out in the carpark and sit into the driver’s seat, you will actually notice the driver’s window is in line with your hip and has excellent panoramic view of the surroundings around the vehicle.”

It’s these features that prompted Citywide to begin running a fleet of Dennis Eagles around mid-2018. David Weston, Group Asset Manager at Citywide, says the company saw an opportunity to upgrade its fleet with enhanced technology and capability. Citywide now has around 15 Dennis Eagle Elite models, in both right hand steer and dual control configuration in the fleet.

“The key considerations for us when selecting the Dennis Eagles were around safety, usability by our drivers as well as technical functions,” David explains.

“It was primarily about ensuring drivers have good visibility and can see what is going on around them and better capability to operate, particularly in built-up environments with pedestrians and vehicle traffic.”

He says Citywide use a combination of side loaders and rear loaders for residential and general waste collection from single and multi-unit dwellings, with vehicles designed to suit the work environment, bin configuration and waste requirement.

“The vehicles really suit use within the built-up environment. The length and turning circle improve manoeuvrability and the large cab glass area helps minimise blind spots where pedestrians or cyclists could be hard to see.”

He says the company does not opt for a one-size-fits-all approach and matches the body configuration to the vehicle to optimise manoeuvrability and weight-carrying capacity.

David says the vehicle is custom spec’d with safety features such as rear and side warning devices.

Further supporting the concept is a five-star rating by the Heavy Goods Vehicle Blind Spots Report by Loughborough University’s Design School, based in the UK. The school produced a report that compared vehicles by leading manufacturers to determine how well drivers could see vulnerable road users and found the Dennis Elite 6 outperformed each one in terms of visibility.

A deep step, full width of the doorway in the Dennis Eagle product, ensures a secure footing and significantly reduces trip and fall hazards linked to entry and exit of vehicles.

The walk-through design includes a full stand-up height cab, completely flat floor and clear walkway with no obstructions. Drivers can easily cross cab and never have to enter or exit the vehicle from the traffic side, improving safety and productivity.

David says running costs are also an important consideration and the use of well-known brand components for the engine, transmission and drive axle make maintenance and repair activities easier to manage.

“Another aspect is Penske’s support and backup network across the country,” he says.

“Penske has been very responsive when we’ve had discussions with them during procurement and post-procurement to assist us optimise vehicle specifications and uptime.”

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Recycled plastic used to resurface Melbourne streets

The City of Melbourne is using plastic previously destined for landfill to resurface five prominent city streets.

According to Lord Mayor Sally Capp, the first road to be re-surfaced with asphalt made with recycled plastic was Flinders Street, with works occurring between Exhibition Street and Spring Street in October.

“We collect 11,000 tonnes of residential recycling each year. Using a mix of plastic to resurface our streets is one way we can support the circular economy and reduce landfill,” Ms Capp said.

“The paving on these historically significant streets will look exactly the same as any other street. The difference is that using plastic in the asphalt creates demand for recycled products.”

Sections of Anderson Street in South Yarra have also been resurfaced, with further works on Alexandra Avenue to be completed this week.

Ms Capp said works will also be completed on sections of Spring Street next year, between Little Collins Street and Little Bourke Street and Flinders Street and Collins Street.

Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the paving consists of 50 per cent recycled plastics and other recyclable materials such as slag aggregates and recycled asphalt products, with the remaining made of virgin materials.

Mr Wood said the trial will allow the city to assess whether it can use more recycled materials and plastic for road resurfacing.

“The City of Melbourne uses 10,000 tonnes of asphalt annually, and we resurfaced eight kilometres of road last year. This trial will help us understand whether it’s possible to use recycled plastic in more of our major projects,” Mr Wood said.

“By using recycled plastic and other recycled materials on our roads we’re creating more sustainable infrastructure and showing there are local markets for recycled materials.”

The trial is a joint initiative from the City of Melbourne, its subsidiary Citywide, and the Citywide North Melbourne Asphalt Plant, with plastic waste sourced from metropolitan Melbourne.

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Ejecting for efficiency: Wastech Engineering

After Citywide developed an operational efficiency plan to boost productivity and payloads, It engaged Wastech Engineering for a new fleet fleet of Clearline Waste Transfer Trailers.

When the City of Melbourne announced it would fast-track the delivery of its Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy in early August, it illustrated a commitment to growing the state’s resource recovery capacity.

Similarly, the Victorian Government allocated $35 million to waste and resource recovery via the state budget in May. Both initiatives highlight a pledge to develop more efficient waste processing capabilities across the state.

Increasing productivity via efficient processes is a motivation shared by Melbourne City Council subsidiary Citywide, which recently revised its operational efficiency plan.   

Travis Martin, Citywide Commercial Waste Division Manager, says while investment in resource recovery facilities is critical, so too is streamlining operations at less glamorous but equally important waste transfer stations.

Being entrusted with the waste management of Victoria’s capital city, and the second largest in the country, highlights the scope and scale of Citywide’s operations. It similarly underscores the importance of finding the right equipment supplier.

Travis says to manage this scale, Citywide and Wastech Engineering developed a symbiotic relationship.

“Citywide and Wastech have worked together in many capacities over the years, with Wastech providing ongoing equipment maintenance and support at our transfer station and working with us in waste and recycling process innovation,” Travis says.

“In the most recent instance, we informed Wastech that we needed new waste transfer trailers to boost operations, and were directed to its Clearline range.”

Travis, who has worked in the waste industry for more than 30 years, says the Citywide Transfer Station and Resource Recovery Centre is the largest of its kind in Victoria, and one of the five largest in Australia.

“Located in West Melbourne, the centre provides waste management services to various local government and commercial clients, meaning effective transport arrangements are key,” Travis says.

“We process multiple waste streams at the facility, largely consisting of municipal waste, residential, commercial and industrial waste and multiple recycling streams such as paper, cardboard, steel and organics.”

According to Sustainability Victoria, over 12.8 million tonnes of waste was managed by the state’s waste and resource recovery system in 2017. In the same year, City of Melbourne residents generated 40,000 tonnes.

To keep up with accelerating service demands, Travis says Citywide recently developed and implemented an operational efficiency plan in order to lift productivity and payloads.

“With ever-increasing volumes of waste generated in and around Melbourne’s CBD – that needs to be processed through the Citywide transfer station – we needed to boost efficiency and invest in new operational and transport equipment,” Travis says.

“One facet of the plan was engaging Wastech for a new range of Clearline Waste Transfer Trailers, with an operational model of owner drivers and a drop and go system for productivity.”

Citywide already owned a number of Clearline trailers, but wanted to upgrade to the newer model. Travis says his previous experiences with Wastech made him confident the new trailer model would meet expectations and application requirements.

The Clearline Waste Transfer Trailer’s rolled wall body design provides durability and integral strength, which Travis says is critical to withstanding the high piercing forces present during compaction of industrial and commercial waste.

The trailer also incorporates the use of high-tensile steel plate in the body to reduce tare weight and increase payloads.

Citywide uses the Clearline trailers to transport waste from its central transfer station in West Melbourne to various landfill sites across the city.

“The Clearline’s smooth internal design, and hydraulic eject blade, safely and efficiently push the waste load out of the body at landfill,” Travis says.

“The full eject feature reduces each load by 20 minutes, equating to one extra load per shift.”

According to Travis, the Clearline trailers are fitted with Elphinstone weighing systems that provide 99 per cent weight accuracy. He adds that as the trailers are mass managed, the weighing systems can be used to full effect.

“The trailers have also reduced volumes at the transfer station, which makes the customer onsite experience quick and easy,” he says.

Wastech’s transfer trailers feature full cab controls to facilitate operator friendly conditions and heightened safety, as operators aren’t required to exit the vehicle when unloading.

“The previous Clearline Waste Transfer Trailer design was great, and worked well under harsh conditions, but the rear doors and hydraulic ejection of the new model really lifts ease of operations,” Travis says.

“As the last piece of Citywide’s operational efficiency plan, the delivery of Wastech’s trailers significantly increased our transfer station operations.”

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Melbourne fast-tracks waste strategy

The City of Melbourne will fast-track the delivery of its Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy and bring investment in infrastructure forward.

Following SKM’s decision to no longer accept waste material, the city has been forced to send 45 tonnes of recycling to landfill each day.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the city, and its subsidiary Citywide, will run an independent feasibility study into establishing a large-scale recycling centre in Greater Melbourne.

“As a matter of urgency, our waste collection business Citywide will work with independent experts to look at the best way to create a specialised recycling facility in Victoria that will be stable and sustainable,” Ms Capp said.

“The study will consider the potential size and location for a new facility, as well as the number of municipalities it could service. It would also consider the level of recycled material required for it to be viable and potential markets for recycled materials.”

Ms Capp said the city would also investigate new ways to reduce contamination throughout the municipality.

“We want to stop recyclables going to landfill as soon as possible and deliver long-term improvements for our residents and businesses,” Ms Capp said.

“We are going to increase the number of shared waste hubs for businesses in the central city.”

Ms Capp said the city is also examining international best practices and will run an expression of interest period for technology usable in Melbourne’s inner city laneways.

“This could include using everything from mini-compactor bins, specialised vehicles and collection of source separated materials such as glass, organics, paper and cardboard,” Ms Capp said.

“Ultimately we need to work towards the model used by many European countries where recycling streams are collected and processed separately.”

According to Ms Capp, the issue cannot be tackled by individual municipalities.

“The City of Melbourne will be working with other councils, the Victorian Government and the community to achieve long-term change,” Ms Capp said.

City of Melbourne Environment Chair Cathy Oke said local residents and businesses also needed to play their part to reduce contamination in waste streams.

“Rather than send our recycling overseas, we will examine the feasibility and cost of preparing materials for manufacturing use here in Victoria,” Ms Oke said.

“We need to provide a cleaner product for our recycling industry to return to a more sustainable and stable footing.”

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