"The push for low environmental impact keeps driving the market in the sector, and it involves both chassis manufacturers and bodywork outfitters, who are generally responding with great attention, as in our case" AMS Sales Director, engineer Lorenzo Lotti, comments with satisfaction. "The new alternative power engines are taking hold, while, in parallel, there is a growing demand for constructive solutions aimed at achieving energy recovery with lower emissions and environmental impact, along with a greater respect for the environment.” He adds. “Not to mention lower noise emissions, an extremely important feature, especially at certain times and in urban contexts with a higher housing density. The ever-increasing fleet of AMS electric side-loaded vehicles fitted on Iveco chassis with methane-powered engine is a tangible proof of this."
But what are the difficulties to be tackle in engineering this kind of solutions? "Well, first of all, let's say there are two studies: the first is related to the electrical equipment, the second to the natural gas powered (NGV) chassis. Then, the two aspects must be integrated and made to work perfectly. As for the equipment we developed, the biggest technological problem concerns the great compaction power that must be expressed in a few minutes of work. This is why we decided to optimize the vehicle’s power requirements by distributing the workload along the path. "Let me explain: while in the traditional devices the compaction system works only when the vehicle is stationary, in our case we have balanced the distribution of energy in such a way that the work takes place between a dumpster and the other, and this required an important work for us to fine tune all the parameters. Moreover, we tried and maintain a good level of charge, reducing battery consumptions to a minimum, which is another key point of the system: those are in fact lithium batteries, much lighter yet also more expensive than traditional ones, and they require a special management and design. On the other hand, I can say that the first batteries of this type that we delivered in Spain in 2012 are still perfectly operational. And this is a key point, otherwise the investment would have no longer been sustainable”.
Another peculiarity of the batteries is that they are recharged with the use by means of a special on-board generator, without the need for chargers and loading points except for equalization and periodic maintenance, which only occur occasionally. For the rest, the machine in operation recharges the batteries on its own, and another challenge was to make sure that they do not wear out drastically, reducing their life cycle. A final observation concerns the side loading system, which is coming back into vogue after a period of "disaffection", not only in Spain but also in Italy. In this regard, the opinion of Lotti is quite interesting: "Many companies are realizing two things: the first is that once the recycling culture has been established and consolidated, it could be both useful and profitable to go back to a container-based system, since in many cases it is not so inconvenient for the user to reach the relevant container for conferment. On top of that, the operators are experiencing a constantly increasing number of health issues: in the long run, full-fledged door-to-door collection proved to be very wearisome. That being said, and indeed for this very reason, AMS is also committed to study new efficient, safe and ergonomic types of equipment also suitable for door-to-door collection, as the many customers who use our lowered rave rail solutions, just to give an example, could testify".