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.”
An order for a trio of 18 tonne, 7m3 dry spreaders for Norfolk County Council has taken the East Anglian local authority’s running total of Econ vehicles to 45, including seven Econ Hotboxes.
In 2014/15 Econ, which has been working with Norfolk County Council for more than 20 years, teamed up with DAF dealer Ford & Slater in a successful tender to supply the council with new
Hotbox equipment. Econ was awarded a contract to supply four new-design 3m3 single-chamber Hotboxes, each of which features a bespoke front storage unit behind the cab, manufactured by Wisbech-based Priden Engineering. The vehicles also had side-mounted gas bottle lifters on the off and near side of their compact DAF 12 tonne chassis.
Econ fitted a 150kg Penny hydraulic crane and adjustable whacker plate storage so that the vehicles would be totally self sufficient and not reliant on support vehicles. Three 7.5m3 twin chamber Hotbox bodies were also supplied to the Norfolk fleet by Econ, mounted on DAF 6×2 rear-steer 26 tonne chassis.
Norfolk County Council has also taken advantage of Econ’s repair and maintenance support service to ensure maximum uptime. Econ was awarded the repair and maintenance contract in 2013 and now covers all 48 of the council’s Econ vehicles on a 24/7 basis from October to March and on a daily basis during the rest of the year.
The 2014/2015 season also saw Econ supply ten 18 tonne GVW 7m3 dry spreaders and three 12 tonne DAF chassis Multispread insulated tipper-spreader multipurpose vehicles to be used on both their day fleet on road maintenance and winter fleet for salt spreading.
The contract followed an order the previous year for 25 dry spreaders via the ESPO special vehicle framework and processed through the East Anglia based DAF dealer, Ford and Slater. Econ fitted the 24 18 tonne and one 7.5 tonne dry spreaders with SPARGO 7 controls as well as front and rear platforms and smooth flow distributors.
Norfolk County Council has announced that more than 2,000 miles of roads will be on its regular gritting routes this year and the local authority’s seven salt domes are stocked with 17,000 tonnes of salt, with the Econ gritters ready to hit the roads as soon as temperatures start to drop.
Adam Fairhurst, Works Support Manager for Norfolk County Council, said: “We have a long history working with Econ, which more recently includes a significant vehicle replacement programme over the last three years. Although the product and after sales service is generally good, it was disappointing that two of these three annual orders failed to meet agreed delivery time-scales. Econ did however provide loan vehicles, which meant we had the necessary resources in place ready for the start of the winter season.”
The BEAR Scotland team is gearing up for winter and its mission to maintain over
1,000 miles of roads in North East Scotland, including the UK’s most northerly
motorway, the M90 from Perth to Dundee, following its contract renewal earlier
The area is known for its harsh winter weather. Blizzards and extreme snowdrifts are not uncommon,
which makes keeping the roads clear for the area’s residents an ongoing challenge for the BEAR team.
The team has been maintaining and managing the area’s road network using a fleet of Econ vehicles
since 2007. Under the terms of the new contract, however, the team needed an additional 11 dedicated
winter vehicles to stay on top of the severe conditions. Once again BEAR Scotland turned to Econ to
supply the extra pre-wet spreaders – knowing that they could rely on its high quality vehicles being up
to the challenge – to join its existing 19, ordered in December last year.
When YPO, the public sector buying organisation based in Wakefield, was looking for a venue for a quarterly meeting of its fleet division in October, it chose none other than Econ’s spreader museum at our headquarters in Ripon.
Econ was proud to launch the ‘world’s first gritter museum’ in 2012 as a showroom for restored vintage road maintenance vehicles, gritters, spreaders and snowploughs, as well as our brand new, state of the art equipment.
The venue was also the ideal place for the YPO Fleet Category Council when they met for their quarterly discussion of specialist and winter maintenance vehicles.
Ian Reed, YPO’s buyer – Fleet and Highways, said: “It was a thoroughly engaging and interesting day for all of us at Econ. As well as the excellent and relevant presentations, it was absolutely fascinating to have a behind the scenes tour of a cutting edge manufacturing facility like Econ and to see the gritters and other winter maintenance vehicles that we know so well actually being built.”
Ian added: “Econ is well-known for its investment in research and development, so it was also exciting to have a glimpse into the nerve centre that has produced the Spargo intelligent salt distribution system and other Econ innovations.”
The high hills of Lancashire proved to be the ideal place to try out the new heavier HD E-Plough from Econ. Lancashire County Council has taken delivery of eight of the heavy duty ploughs, which are particularly handy for deep snow conditions when extra force is needed to deal with the heavier piles of snow that can accumulate when conditions are bad.
Chris Grime, Principal Fleet Engineer at Lancashire County Council, said: “We regularly have some quite serious snow up in the Pennines and we have found in previous years that in certain extreme conditions, the lighter ploughs struggle to clear the bigger drifts. With the new heavy duty ploughs, there is a lot more clout, which, in areas like Pendle and Bacup up on the tops, can make the difference between a safe, clear road and a route that’s still partially blocked by snow.”
The Lancashire County Council team of winter maintenance vehicle operators have also given the new ploughs the thumbs up. “We’ve had really positive feedback from our gritter operators,” said Chris. “The new ploughs are ergonomically designed – as we’d expect from Econ – and they have been useful with this year’s fairly heavy snowfall.”
Lancashire County Council has been working with Econ for over 15 years and has a total of 63 winter maintenance vehicles from us. “We have a great relationship with Econ,” said Chris. “They have always been extremely accommodating of our requirements and have been extremely flexible in meeting our winter maintenance needs every time.”
Econ’s flexibility and innovative approach helped it to win a major order to provide fleet for recently awarded Amey’s STR Contract (Scottish Trunk Roads South East contract).
With the contract not announced until August last year, building the new equipment Amey needed in time for the start of the contract in September was looking doubtful, until Econ stepped in. “We came up with a solution for Amey by offering a temporary fleet of vehicles on a short-term hire basis until new orders could be completed,” explained Steve Sinnott, Econ Sales Manager. “We then committed to turning around the new-build vehicles in as short a time as possible.”
Amey, re-located 3 existing 26 Tonne Econ QCB vehicles to the contract to cover for the short term. Working closely with Econ, Richard Guy, Amey’s Senior Business Development Manager for Fleet and Plant, identified a requirement for six off-QCB combinations, and four off-26 tonne QCBs fitted with Econ’s 9m3 40g pre-wet spreaders to Amey’s own specification. Another two off-tipper bodies and two off – 7.5m3 twin chamber Hotboxes were also ordered, all manufactured at Econ’s North Yorkshire headquarters.
Two further 18 tonne QCBs were fitted with 6m3, 40g bespoke pre-wet spreaders, along with two off-tipper bodies.
Econ also pulled out all the stops to supply seven off – 6m3, 40g pre-wet spreaders, mounted on Mercedes 4×2 chassis, by the end of September, reducing the need for short-term hire and cutting costs for the client. Another 6m3 40g prewet spreader followed in October.
“All the vehicle bodywork is covered by our all inclusive repair and maintenance contract, so Amey has peace of mind that they are covered 24 hrs a day during the winter season,” said Steve Sinnott. “This ensures minimum downtime and maximum uptime, as we guarantee to attend to all vehicles within two hours of getting the initial call regardless of the time, night or day.”
Amey’s Scottish Trunk Roads Unit South East contract covers more than 550 miles of road network running through Central Scotland, the Lothians and Scottish Borders. Edinburgh’s city bypass and a long stretch of the M8 motorway connecting Glasgow and Edinburgh are also included.
The company is responsible for major road maintenance work, as well as inspections, to ensure routes remain safe and well maintained. Salting and snow clearing as well as gully cleaning and the repair of motorway lighting and traffic signals are also major elements of the contract.
Econ would like to thank all those who attended and contributed to a birthday success with a day of celebrations marking the companies 45th year of manufacture.
On thursday 5th of June Econ marked their 45th year of manufacture with a day of celebratiing with our customers, local dignitary’s, suppliers and employees. Our factory site in Ripon North Yorkshire played host to around 150 guests for a full factory tour and Yorkshire lunch followed by sporting activities at local clubs. The factory tour was concluded with the official opening of our new Bystronic BystarL CO2 Laser cutter by Mr Barry Dodd CBE. We would like to thank everyone who made the day a success and look forward to many more years of manufacture.