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Mercedes-Benz Econic with Allison automatic eases cleaning in Düsseldorf

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DÜSSELDORF, Germany – It isn’t only leaves, pieces of tire, construction materials, and beer coasters, but also wallets, keys, jewelry and other solids that flood into Düsseldorf’s 47,000 gullies along with water. To prevent these channels from clogging and backing up onto the streets, road drains are cleaned regularly by four vehicles from the municipal drainage company. One of these trucks is a new suction and flushing concept vehicle, based on a Mercedes-Benz Econic chassis and developed over a year and a half though the joint efforts of the city of Düsseldorf and Assmann GmbH – a special vehicle manufacturer.

“With regard to our aging employees, we need vehicles which are comfortable to board, offer increased crew safety within city traffic while working in front of the vehicle and are equipped with technical tools which facilitate the physically demanding work,” said Achim Tölle, fleet manager of Düsseldorf’s municipal drainage company.

To relieve drivers, the company decided some time ago that all newly purchased vehicles should be equipped with fully-automatic transmissions, which makes the Econic a great choice, as it is exclusively equipped with an Allison 3000 Series automatic. In addition the Econic offers a low, comfortable entry, as well as a panoramic window.

Vehicles equipped with Allison fully-automatic transmissions are easy to operate. Without the distraction of physically changing gears, drivers can focus on traffic while manual clutch engagement is eliminated, protecting knees and joints from unnecessary strain. Allison’s Continuous Power Technology™ ensures superior vehicle maneuverability and control while inching in congested traffic and on narrow roads. The patented torque converter and uninterrupted power shifts deliver unrivalled startability, and advanced 5th generation electronic controls implement the best shift strategies for optimum fuel economy – an important topic since the vehicles are in continuous use.

An additional driver advantage is offered by the “intelligent” jib-arm with both hydraulic and telescopic capabilities. Once the driver places the arm over a gully via joystick, a magnet automatically raises the cast-iron drainage grate, and then repositions it exactly after cleaning.

“This automatic system saves time and nerves. Our operators do not have to walk to or lift the drainage grate – just to push a button from the truck,” Tölle explained. That removes a significant burden for employees, who no longer have to pry open and lift cast-iron drainage grates with their bare hands.

To keep Düsseldorf road drains and gullies clean, the special equipment features two pumps. A liquid-ring pump (VacuStar WR 3100 from CVS Engineering) is used for suction of solids which accumulate in gully buckets. The vacuum pump has a rating of 94 kW and a maximum intake volume of 3100 m³/h. A high-pressure pump (P45-75/80 from Speck Pumpen GmbH) is used to inject water into the gully for cleaning or maceration of solids. It has a maximum pressure of 80 bar and a rating of 75 l/min.

The bodywork also comes with two tanks, one which holds 3,000 liters of water and another with a 6 m³ capacity for debris.

The municipal drainage company in Düsseldorf also operates five Mercedes-Benz Varios equipped with Allison 1000 Series fully-automatic transmissions. Two of those vehicles are brick-layers, and a third is equipped with a crane for sewer repairs. The fourth Vario features traffic signs for safeguarding, and the last one is equipped with tools for repairing sewage pumps.

“We are very satisfied with the vehicle,” said Tölle regarding the Econic, which has been driven 31,500 km and cleaned over 36,000 gullies since being put into operation in January 2011. “And although it was originally designed for our older drivers, the younger ones are delighted too. The joystick and touchpad used to operate the jib-arm are reminiscent of console games,” he added with a wink.

Econic suction and flushing vehicle


Mercedes-Benz Econic 2633 L/NLA



Engine rating

240 kW / 326 HP


Allison 3000 Series fully-automatic transmission - model 3200

Exhaust emission standard

Euro 5

Gross vehicle weight

26,000 kg


3450 mm + 1350 mm


Assmann GmbH



About the municipal drainage company of Düsseldorf

The municipal drainage company of Düsseldorf is responsible for design, operation and maintenance of the sewage facilities (channels, sewage collection, sewage storage, sewage treatment and sewage treatment plant) as well as flood prevention within the city. It employs 454 employees.


In Düsseldorf 80 percent of the affiliated areas with combined sewer systems and 20 percent with separate sewer systems get dewatered, with a combined total length of 1,550 kilometers – the distance between Düsseldorf and Rome. The municipal drainage company also controls construction, like new pump stations and sewer with storage capacity and overflow. The useable storage volume comprises 268,000 m³. In both sewage treatment plants in Düsseldorf Hamm and Meerbusch Ilverich, about 70 million m³ of dirt and rain water are cleansed every year.


… By the way: If valuables fall into gullies, citizens can call the municipal drainage company to save them. During routine gully cleanings, everything gets sucked away.


About Allison Transmission

Allison Transmission is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, medium- and heavy-tactical U.S. military vehicles and hybrid-propulsion systems for transit buses. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including on-highway trucks (distribution, refuse, construction, fire and emergency), buses (primarily school and transit), motor homes, off-highway vehicles and equipment (primarily energy and mining) and military vehicles (wheeled and tracked). Founded in 1915, the Allison business is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. and employs approximately 2,800 people. Allison has manufacturing facilities and customization centers located in China, The Netherlands, Brazil, India and Hungary, with a global presence, serving customers in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and Africa. Allison also has approximately 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. More information about Allison is available at

More information

Tanja Sellner                                                             Miranda Jansen

geldermannKommunikation                                      Allison Transmission Europe B.V.

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+49 (0)211-384 06 77                                                +31 (0)78-6422 174

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40215 Düsseldorf                                                      3361 GN Sliedrecht – Niederlande

Aug 20, 2013

About Allison Transmission

Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and is a leader in electric hybrid-propulsion systems for city buses. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including refuse, construction, fire, distribution, bus, motorhomes, defense and energy. Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and employs approximately 2,900 people worldwide. With a market presence in more than 80 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Hungary and India. Allison also has approximately 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit