Tankers tailored to fit all needs
While safety is top of the list when specifying municipal tankers, big is still beautiful in the private sector. Whale Tankers has supplied a variety of customised vehicles to meet the increasingly demanding needs of the industry. Dean Stiles reports.Full compliance with safety legislation is the main factor in local authority vehicle and equipment specification, says Mark Warmington, managing director of Whale Tankers.
"We are seeing an increasing emphasis on environmental issues, such as noise abatement, LEZ [low emission zones] and an ever-stronger focus on health and safety matters, which is having specification implications." he says.
Typical chassis configuration in the sector is an 18 tonne, Euro4 chassis with low entry cab, says Warmington. With water tankers, changes in legislation are encouraging the use of new materials.
Typical water utility specification is for a 316 stainless-steel tank of 9,000l to 14,000l capacity on a semi-trailer.
But Severn Trent Water's (STW) recent experience in Gloucester, when 140,000 homes lost water for 17 days, shows the benefits of using two- or three-axle rigids.
"We couldn't get artics down the small roads, and our two-axle tanker fleet proved very handy," says Mike Hayes, workshop controller at United Utilities.
Severn Trent deployed in excess of 1,300 bowsers, with more than 100 tankers refilling them up to three times a day. Six rapid response vehicles also proved useful.
These vehicles are based on Dennis Eagle chassis fitted with a 4,546l water tank and platform for plastic, static and road-side tanks, which are craned off and filled.
Improving payload in order to increase productivity continues to dominate specification, says Hayes. The specialist nature of much of the work can make "for unique vehicles", even if chassis are standard.
Devon-based Bale Group had a fleet of 54 waste tankers and 37 artics and rigids. Its latest edition is a four-compartment sewer jetter. It is a Volvo FM-400 Euro5 6x2 rigid with rear-steer, factory-fitted in Sweden.
Bale claims the vehicle is as manoeuvrable as a four-wheeler. It is used for floodwater clearance, sewer jetting and for pumping out ships.
With four compartments and the ability to work to a depth of 40m, the Volvo does the work of three vehicles, says Bale.
In the private sector, there is a growing trend for larger machines, says Warmington, citing the Mega Whale and Kaiser Whale products.
Industrial Water Jetting Systems (IWJS) has four Kilo-Whale high volume combinations, for deep sewer cleaning and maintenance operations. The Kilo-Whale can remove waste materials from up to 30m depth.
It operates in combination with a Pratissoli MS50 high-pressure water-jetting pump, giving 190l/m at 2,000psi.
The 11,820l capacity mild steel tank has an internal moving partition enabling the waste compartment size to increase as the clean water is used for the jetting operations.
A front-mounted three-stage hydraulic ram tips the tank barrel for discharge. The stainless steel tank lining also aids discharge, particularly of heavier and drier waste.
Whale says the Kilo-Whale is also quieter than other tankers, an important
consideration when working in residential areas.
Safety features include pump controls at the rear of the vehicle, hydraulically-operated rear door and door clamps, air operated manhole lifter and reversing camera.
Anglian Water has recently taken delivery of the first of four of Kaiser-Whales.
Developed by Whale Tankers in partnership with Kaiser, the vehicle is a sewer cleaning machine with continuous water recycling.
The machine is mounted on a Volvo FM9 6x2 chassis operating at 26 tonne gross. Recycling water during jetting increases time spent on site.
A Kaiser KDU 148 high-pressure water pump is fitted. Instead of adding additional filtration to a traditional unit, the KDU pump operates 50 times slower than a
typical triplex pump, reducing wear and making it quieter.
The pump delivers up to 500l/m at 2,900psi on the Anglian machine. As a fully integrated assembly, weight is significantly reduced, with payload advantages.
Hydraulically driven and controlled, water pressure and flow is independently adjustable, with a pressure accumulator maintaining a constant water pressure.
Hydraulic load sensing means that when jetting stops and pressure is reached, the pump stops until water demand is reinstated, improving efficiency and fuel consumption.
The aluminium vacuum pump keeps weight down and allows the unit to be positioned at the front of the vehicle.
The unit is submerged in the front sealing water, reducing the amount of pipe work on the vehicle, and providing cooling and noise insulation.
The Kaiser-Whale uses a single stage filtration system, reducing weight and making filter cleaning easier. The design of a special wedge-shaped 500 micron stainless-steel mesh in a large circular shaped filter drum means that a high volume of water can pass through the filter thanks to the large screen area.
A low-pressure flushing system provides continuous filter cleaning, with an external centrifugal pump drawing water through at a rate of 800l/m.
The constant clockwise to anticlockwise rotation of this Rotomax filter reduces the possibility of blockage.
For Anglian Water's vehicles, Whale fitted a spiral-disc cassette type of boom. In addition to a 300° rotation, it gives the machine the ability to reach depths between 6m and 7m without extension, reducing the amount of manual handling required, as well as the need to carry extension pipes.
The Whale control panel, featuring programmable logic control (PLC) has all the controls for jetting, vacuum and water recycling on a single panel.
Clearly and logically set out, this facilitates efficient and safe day-to-day operation.
With Whale's PLC, all values are controlled pneumatically from a single point, eliminating the need for manual operation.
Safety interlocks, timing and sequential operations are controlled automatically, greatly simplifying the operation of the vehicle.
All four of the Kaiser- Whale vehicles are working on sewer maintenance throughout the Anglian Water region.