28 May 2020 15:48
Thanks to TailGuard, Mathias Volkmann is even safer when on the road with his Actros
Vehicle & Technology
Lobbe, a family-run company, is making the tours of its waste disposal vehicles even safer with a clever retrofit solution.
A clear warning tone sounds – driver Mathias Volkmann has engaged reverse gear and is now reversing into the narrow entrance to a residential area. Normally, apart from the postman and courier services, only residents drive here. It is 10 a.m.. Volkmann has been on the road since 6.30 a.m. Just as he does every day. Come rain or shine. He collects the contents of yellow recycling bins in and around Iserlohn with his Actros 2533. The 35-year old is a driver for Lobbe Entsorgung West GmbH & Co KG.
As soon as reverse gear is engaged, the TailGuard reversing assistance system is also activated and additional reversing lamps light up at the rear of the Actros. With a visual and acoustic warning anyone behind the truck should now be aware of the danger zone. If the system’s ultrasonic sensors detect an object behind the vehicle, the driver can estimate the distance to it using the green, yellow and red bars of the Trailer Remote Control. And if Volkmann drives too closely to the object with his Actros, TailGuard automatically brakes the truck. “Then I can go no further, even if I depress the accelerator. For us drivers the function is a real help.”
The system has already prevented an accident twice. “For example, TailGuard braked the Actros when a car appeared behind me so quickly that I had no time to realise it was there,” Volkmann tells us. In the dark and bad weather in particular the reversing assistance system is of great advantage in comparison to a camera.
As safe as possible.
Lars-Uwe Thiessen is responsible for logistics at Lobbe. “Our trucks are often driven in residential areas,” says Thiessen. “So we want to be as safe as possible.” That is why the routes are planned such that drivers use the reverse gear as seldom as possible. “But of course that can’t be avoided completely,” says Thiessen.
The technology is also a great help when manoeuvring in the company’s own sorting facility where Mathias Volkmann’s tour ends. To unload, he reverses the Actros with ten tonnes of collected recyclable materials into the sorting hall.
Initially the TailGuard technology was only available for trailer vehicles. However, as an increasing number of companies showed an interest in a suitable solution for chassis with bodies, Wabco and Mercedes‑Benz Trucks pressed ahead with development and are now offering the system for this type of truck as an installation kit via Mercedes‑Benz service partners.
“Our trucks are often driven in residential areas. So we want to be as safe as possible.”
– Lars-Uwe Thiessen
For Thiessen, who is responsible for logistics, it is clear that the vehicles need to be gradually retrofitted with the assistance system. “For us, the focus is always on protecting people; both other road users and our own employees.” In case of questions, his contact in Key Account Management at Mercedes-Benz Service & Genuine Parts is available.
Trucks from Mercedes‑Benz Trucks have a great advantage as they are fitted with Wabco brakes from the outset. Ideally conversion only takes a day. “That is also important for us of course,” says Lars-Uwe Thiessen. “The trucks are back on the road fast.”
The Wabco TailGuard system increases safety and in turn reduces repair costs and non-operational times.
The system can detect objects in the blind spot behind the vehicle and if necessary stop the vehicle.
TailGuard is available as an installation kit from Mercedes-Benz service partners.
Mercedes-Benz Service & Genuine Parts Trucks can answer any questions regarding retrofitting the safety systems.
Photos: Sebastian Vollmert