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Econ’s workshop has been working some magic for Middlesbrough Borough Council. The local authority used two of its ageing gritters in exchange for a new spreader on a Daf chassis, custom designed and painted up in Middlesbrough’s white corporate livery. The brand new vehicle was supplied to Middlesbrough from Econ’s hire fleet, where it had not been used, and was kitted out to the local authority’s precise requirement.
Middlesbrough’s spec included a power angled plough that can be steered both left and right, as well as the IS intelligent spreading system that uses satellites to automatically control the rate of salt released for any given route, enabling the gritter operator to concentrate on driving.
The innovative team in Econ’s vehicle engineering workshop was set a transformational challenge earlier this year when they were asked by client Balfour Beatty to work some magic on three used demountable gritter and tar sprayer vehicles, creating three ‘good as new’ permanently mounted spreaders.
“We approached Econ because we know how creative they are when it comes to building bespoke vehicles, and on this assignment we were really asking them to think outside the box,” said Carl Hanson, Fleet Director in the Derby-based Balfour Beatty Fleet Services Business Unit, which provides vehicles across the whole Balfour Beatty group.
Hire and Disposal Manager Paul Wigby and his team in Econ’s engineering workshop transposed Balfour Beatty’s three demountable spreader bodies onto three additional used chassis that had been pre-prepped, to produce three spreaders that, according to Carl, looked “as good as new” when they arrived at its customer’s site.
“We are fairly used to having to create bespoke vehicles for clients that require unusual components, so this assignment was pretty run of the mill for us,” said Paul. “But it always gives us great satisfaction to know that we have done a great job for a client and that they are really pleased with the end result.”
In addition to the three permanently mounted spreaders, Econ mounted the tar sprayer bodies onto a further three specially prepped used chassis, which ensured that Balfour Beatty were making the most of all of its fleet.
“We were really impressed with Econ’s workmanship and with Paul and his team’s flexibility in meeting our requirements,” added Carl.
The Sir Robert McAlpine North East team is preparing for the winter season with its most recent delivery from Econ – a fleet of seven new spreaders. The team is contracted to design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) a 120km section of the A19 from Dishforth to the Tyne Tunnel in Teesside, known as Area 26.
With the seasonal drop in temperatures and freezing conditions just around the corner, the six Scania 6×4 26 tonne chassis cabs with 9m3 Spargo fixed body spreaders and a 9m3 QCB Spargo spreader body are timely additions to the team’s 42-strong highway maintenance fleet, which includes tipper vehicles, QCBs, gritters and vans.
The team, whose work also covers parts of the A66, south of Middlesbrough, the A168 and the A174, opted for high specification spreaders with DIN plates to reduce wear and tear on its existing Econ HD ploughs that have recently been upgraded to power angle. Meanwhile, the spreader body has the Econ QCB chassis conversion, to fit the team’s current 26 tonne chassis.
Sir Robert McAlpine has a 30-year contract for the carriageway upgrade and associated works and has been using Econ vehicles since from the outset in 1997. The new vehicles will operate on the seven gritting routes that cover Area 26 – each route taking up to 9m3 of grit in each treatment – and brings the total number of gritters to eight, enabling the team to have one spare spreader in case of breakdowns.