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Automated side loader
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Rear loader

Because every community is different, the process for specifying refuse collection vehicles should start with an evaluation of your municipality's needs. Information to consider includes street layouts, population density, services provided, distance to disposal site, and number of workers per vehicle.

When evaluating rear loaders, there are three components to bear in mind: tailgate, body, and chassis. When considering automated side loaders, there are also three components to think about: the automated arm, compacting body, and truck chassis. Automated side loader productivity is often measured in terms of how many homes per hour or day the vehicle can collect.

Equipment that is well-suited to the environment in which it's used will enhance productivity. A few rules are universal for equipment selection:

  • Research all available products. Investigate manufacturing processes; other communities' experiences with the products; and the suppliers' financial health, industry experience, and long-term stability.
  • Test the products in your own community.
  • Look beyond initial purchase price to the total cost of ownership. Analyze the life-cycle costs of the equipment, including acquisition costs, maintenance projections, longevity, and resale value.
  • Consider the suppliers' warranty policies, the availability of local service and support, and methods for handling training, parts orders, and maintenance issues.
  • Evaluate the benefits of standardizing the fleet to minimize parts inventories, technician training, service requirements, warranty claim negotiations, compatibility issues, and appearance concerns.
  • Photos and text courtesy of Heil Environmental.