As good as new

Published:  03 February, 2012

An increasing number of local authorities are choosing to use a remanufactured refuse fleet, because a remanufactured vehicle can cost as little as 20% of the price of a new RCV, and has the same same operational life time.

Based in Gloucestershire, Refuse Vehicle Solutions (RVS) specialises in providing remanufactured refuse vehicles directly to local authorities and private contractors.

Spencer Law, owner of Refuse Vehicle Solutions, has been involved in the RCV business for over 25 years, first as a service engineer at Jack Allen and then moving on to set up Wastetec, providing maintenance services to local authorities and commercial businesses. Spencer throws down the gauntlet: “I challenge anyone to rebuild a vehicle as well as we do it. Our team understands all makes and models of refuse vehicles inside and out. When stripping and remanufacturing a vehicle, our approach is unique and our attention to every detail is meticulous.”

The whole process begins with sourcing a vehicle. It doesn't have to match customer's exact specification, because RVS has the inhouse capability to carry out major modifications. For example, retrofitting under-body or bin-lift weighing systems, or changing a bin-lift to meet a customer's requirements. This way RVS can meet tight deadlines by modifying vehicles, rather than being restricted by what is on offer in the market place.

By way of example, RVS recently sourced a fleet of seven refuse vehicles, each with an identical specification, for Pakawaste's new hire division – Pakawaste Municipal Hire, in under six weeks. In most cases a customer would expect to wait 20-24 weeks to receive a new fleet of this size and specification, but RVS did it in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost. The vehicles were presented “as new” and should deliver the equivalent operational lifetime.

Once a vehicle has been sourced, RVS begins by steam cleaning all the parts, chassis, body and bin-lift. This thorough “Super Jack” clean takes on average three working days to complete.

The vehicle is then subjected to rigorous inspection by RVS's qualified engineers, consisting of an MOT standard chassis inspection with an independent brake test, a body inspection, and a bin-lift inspection exceeding even LOLER standards. Every defect, mechanical and cosmetic, is recorded and a work plan drawn up prioritising pre-paint shop rectification tasks. A customer's specifications regarding hoist changes and on-board weighing are also added to the work plan.

Where a fully remanufactured body has been ordered, a host of additional tasks are added to the work plan, including the replacement of all hydraulic hoses, ancillary wiring looms, control boxes and control buttons, all proximity switches and all lighting. The PTO and hydraulic pump are also replaced to remove any trace of vulnerability from the equipment.

RVS only uses the most qualified engineers and welders to carry out the work.

Once this comprehensive process is complete, a second inspection is carried out and any additional tasks added to the work planner before the vehicle is sent to RVS's purpose-built paint facility, based in Warwickshire. Comprising a 350m2 preparation shop and a 200m2 paint shop the facility is designed to accommodate all types and sizes of refuse vehicles, hook lifts, ejector trailers and bin lifting equipment. Equipped with the latest technology, the paint centre includes a drying oven that can produce fully-hardened two pack paint in under an hour.

The re-sprayed vehicle and parts are returned to the depot for rebuilding and a full service before being presented for MOT at the local VOSA testing station. Prior to delivery, the vehicle is inspected one last time and the cab, body and bin-lift are fully valeted. The results are quite startling, and most customers are incredulous that the vehicle is second-hand. RVS also offer driver and operator training for vehicles or equipment.

Spencer ads: “We have a passion for refuse vehicles that goes above and beyond the usual run of the mill refurbished vehicles found in the market place. Our remanufactured vehicles are in a league of their own and we go to great lengths to make sure they stand the test of time. We help our customer get more value for money out of their fleets.”

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