We are delighted to confirm that Econ Engineering is ranked at No 121 on the eighth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200.
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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.
Having been affected by snow in previous years, Newcastle International Airport has taken delivery of a new gritter and plough unit. Neil Pringle, Senior Engineering Technician for the Airport’s Engineering Department knows they needed to be ready to cope with anything the North East weather might throw at them.
Neil explained: “We previously used dated vehicles to try to keep our roads and car parks clear of snow but it’s always been a bit of a struggle. Now that we’ve invested in a dedicated winter maintenance vehicle, we’ll be ready for the next dump of snow that comes our way and we can minimise disruption to our customers.
“The control panel is clear and easy to understand, with most equipment being operated from the one panel, something our team has given very positive feedback on so far. We used to have a permanent plough, which put strain on the vehicle chassis being driven around with the plough raised for the majority of the time when it wasn’t needed so we’re really pleased with the new plough unit. We’ve found it only needs one person to attach and remove it, improving our efficiency and making everyone’s lives easier,” he added.
Neil also rates the Econ team highly for its sales service. “ Econ has supplied us with a vehicle that exactly matches our requirements, fits in with our current fleet and at a competitive price – plus the sales and support staff have been fantastic and a pleasure to deal with – we couldn’t be happier!”
The 3m³ mounted onto a 7.5 tonne 4×2 Iveco chassis has replaced one of the airport’s existing Iveco gritter plough units. The new vehicle will be used to keep the tarmac areas outside the security fence, that make up the ‘landside’ road infrastructure and car parks around the airport.
When Worcestershire CC highways maintenance contractor, Ringway, decided to purchase its own Hotbox, having previously hired one, it decided to take the opportunity to invest in a larger capacity, 5 tonne vehicle.
Ringway drew on Econ’s expertise and had built a single chamber 5 tonne hotbox designed for a 12 tonne chassis, in this case an MAN. With it’s 2 tonne carrying capacity, an 40% increase on the design previously available on the market, the new unit is helping improve efficiency by enabling it’s team to carry more material
Richard Clark, Divisional Fleet and Contract Manager at Ringway, explained: “We worked with our colleagues in the Horsham fleet department and with the team at MAN UK to develop a specification for the unit to ensure that it would maximise capacity on the bigger chassis “Our team work with lots of Econ equipment, including gritters and hotboxes, so when the council decided to go with Econ we knew we could rely on it being a high quality product.
Being familiar with the necessary maintenance is also a real bonus and means we can help keep the hotbox in top condition and ensure we continue to deliver a first class highways service for the Council and the area’s residents and visitors,” he added. The MAN chassis cab is fitted with a rear of cab cage storage area, front mounted 150kg Penny Hydraulic Crane for mounting the gas bottles and heated storage boxes to the nearside and offside of the Hotbox. The Ringway Worcester team maintains not only the council’s fleet of vehicles but also the county’s 4,061km of roads, 3,250km of footways, 1,330 bridges and structures, as well as cyclical maintenance and winter service delivery.
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Ringway operating the highways and vehicle maintenance contract. The company was awarded a new six-year contract in April 2014. 2015 saw further gritter deliveries with a Worcestershire CC spokesman commenting: “We have been using Econ’s vehicles for a number of years and they generate nothing but positive feedback from our team of Ringway gritter operators. We aim to upgrade all ourfleet to Econ vehicles eventually as they represent tremendous value for money.”
Half a dozen new Econ Unibodies have bolstered the winter maintenance fleet at Kirklees MBC, ensuring the local authority gets the very best value for money all year round with the help of high-tech Econ flexibility.
The authority, which has worked with Econ for over three decades, has invested in four 2×4 Unibodies on DAF chassis and two 4x4s on MAN chassis. The multi-purpose Unibody vehicles enable a speedy changeover between highways duties and salt spreading, when conditions become colder.
The Kirklees area includes the dizzying heights of Holme Moss. At 1,700 feet, the A6024 road crosses the moor which leapt to national fame last year hen “Le Cote de Holme Moss” became one of the highlights of the 2014 Yorkshire Grand Depart.
The two 4×4 Econ Unibodies have been purchased with Holme Moss in mind, said Kirklees fleet manager Darren Fletcher. “In common with much of West Yorkshire, Kirklees’ roads include a mixture of urban and rural environments, and some are extremely steep. Holme Moss is famous among cyclists as being a challenging route but when the cold and snowy conditions arrive it is also the council’s most challenging route to keep open and safe to travel on.”
Econ has delivered the first of five hook lift salt spreaders to Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, following its successful tender earlier this year.
The council needed replacement salt spreaders for its existing hook lift vehicles and, following an open tender process, awarded the 12-month contract to Econ. Over the course of the year, Econ will supply four 18 tonne and one 26 tonne spreader. The first vehicle, the 26 tonne, was delivered in August, with two more to be delivered at the end of October and the final two due to be ordered before the end of the contract.
The new vehicles will join Tameside’s existing highway maintenance fleet, which includes five core, hooklift vehicles, two midi 7.5 tonne tipper bodies, two pavement gritters and numerous pedestrian gritters.
Mark Ellison, Group Engineering Manager at Tameside council, explained: “We don’t need a dedicated winter maintenance fleet and so hooklifts are operationally best for us. Outside the winter season, the vehicles are used for delivering and picking up skips as part of our highway maintenance programme.
Mark added: “We’ve always found Econ vehicles to be very good quality – all the bodies are required to be interchangeable and fit all of the hooklift vehicles. The Spargo salt distribution system and Low Throw spinner mechanism work especially well and the vehicle tracking system interface with the Econ product has been a real bonus.”
The council’s highway maintenance team is currently going through familiarisation training with the vehicles, ready for the months ahead.
“We look after carriageways that border with Derbyshire, Oldham, Manchester and Stockport,” said Mark. “As we head towards winter, the new gritting vehicles will be helping to ensure they stay
clear and safe despite the drop in temperatures.”