It sometimes means toughing it out quite a lot when Sascha Schmitz once again throws aside a manhole cover or opens a sewer shaft. Flushing, cleaning and vacuuming sewers and shafts are all part of the daily tasks carried out by the trained professional driver from Aachen in Germany. His days rarely smell of roses!
Sascha Schmitz has been employed at Arei Kanal-Service GmbH in Düren/Germany since 2011. Over the years he has gathered together a great deal of experience and expertise. And all the features found on the "equipment" he uses for his work attest to his wealth of experience and know-how. This "equipment", a combined suction and flushing vehicle, is based on a Mercedes-Benz Actros 2551 with over 500 hp, a vehicle boasting a large Gigaspace driver's cab. In the last two and a half years, Schmitz has covered an incredible 220,000 kilometers with his truck.
An elaborate and complex special vehicle
Such a special vehicle costs a good 400,000 euros when it is so lavishly and indeed ingeniously constructed. But its service life is also designed to last for a good 15 to 20 years. During the conversion process, this three-axle Actros stood for almost two months at the firm of Müller Umwelttechnik GmbH & Co KG in Schieder-Schwalenberg/Germany. The specialists from the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia installed remote-controlled vacuum suction and high-pressure flushing pumps. Schmitz can also control all the hydraulic functions of the Actros, such as opening and closing the rear cover, swivelling the hose reel and moving the emptying piston, by remote control. Only the hose box cover on the driver's side is pneumatically opened and closed by a lifting cylinder. This is a distinct advantage when unappetizing substances have to be dealt with.
Lighting perfection guaranteed, too
Many jobs are performed when there is no daylight, in other words when companies, businesses and towns are less frequented. Sometimes our driver also has to manoeuver his way into really narrow corners that are poorly lit. That is why Schmitz places the same high demands on the lighting equipment of his vehicle as on all the other aspects of his truck. Enter HELLA. This is the company he relies on for good lighting. "Adequate ambient lighting is essential in my job," underlines the waste disposal professional as he describes the perfectionist lighting equipment with all the extras. And the idea of paying attention to detail has also provided the vehicle with one or two small lamps, which perhaps are really only "cosmetic" but which nevertheless succeed in at least improving general visibility. The key word here is perfection: All appliance cabinets are equipped with bright LED lights linked up to motion sensors. And that really is something.
"The wide range of rotating beacons, work lights, interior lighting, equipment cabinets and also rear and side marker lights can be found almost anywhere thanks to the extensive and well-developed sales network," explains Schmitz.
The Actros is probably unique in Europe in the way highly technical working equipment is married together with deluxe features and furnishings. In actual fact, it is not so unlike a comfortable motor home. Microwave, blu-ray player, refrigerator, running hot water and a mobile outdoor shower provide a feel-good ambience. Even a heated wardrobe is on board. When needed, it can be supplied with warm air from the parking heater.
A huge variety of customers
Schmitz's customers include companies and private individuals, but also local authorities and district councils. Which all goes to show that this specialist covers longer distances than you might expect. Anyone travelling through the western federal states of Germany, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate or the Saarland, may very well come across the 36-year-old Rhinelander opening the lids and shafts to the underworld, aided and assisted by the brilliance of his truck's glittering technology.