With an engineering heritage that dates back to the turn of the 20th century, Dennis Eagle is one of the world’s most established manufacturers of refuse collection vehicles. Producing both refuse bodies and low-entry chassis, it has a reputation for supplying high quality products that exceed expectations in terms of performance, cost and delivery.
Today, it manufactures over 1000 units per year and boasts 75% of the market share for low entry chassis supplied to UK local authorities and private sector contractors. In addition, the company also has a continually expanding customer base overseas, including in continental Europe, Scandinavia, China and Australia.
The key to success
Dennis Eagle is a forward-thinking business. Research never stands still, and the company is constantly looking ahead to identify future challenges and develop solutions to overcome these. Over the years, it has forged strong relationships with many public and private sector customers, who know they can rely on its products to deliver on quality, reliability and value.
Listening and talking to the people who use its vehicles is also a major factor behind Dennis Eagle’s success. Their feedback plays an important part in shaping many aspects of product design, including comfort, safety and aesthetics, making the brand a firm favourite with many of those working on the frontline of the waste and recycling industry.
New product developments
The Olympus Mini and the narrow Olympus Twin Pack are the latest additions to Dennis Eagle’s product portfolio and have been developed in response to market demand for more flexible and versatile recycling solutions.
Both offer the same features and benefits as their standard-size counterparts, but in a more compact design. As a result, they combine easy operation with exceptional manoeuvrability and adaptability, making them well-suited to any waste collection environment.
With a robust design and lightweight rolled steel construction, the Olympus Mini builds upon the proven success of the company’s existing Olympus range, which was launched in 2010. A brand new concept, it brings the market-leading Olympus brand of refuse bodies into the 7.5t – 15t GVW range.
Its practical features include a continuous packing cycle option complete with optical safety barrier, configurable touch-screen display, LED lights and a complete tailgate seal. At just two metres wide, it is available in capacities of six, seven or eight cubic metres and is suitable for bins ranging from 80 to 1100 litres, providing a versatile solution for smaller spaces.
As with the Olympus Mini, the slim-line Olympus Twin Pack combines high compaction ratios with exceptional manoeuvrability, helping to maximise payload and making it ideal for use in areas with restricted access.
Trials are currently underway throughout the UK, and customers who would like to learn more about the products are advised to contact Dennis Eagle for further details or visit the company’s stand (5Y120-ZZ12) at RWM, where both will be on display.
Staying one step ahead
Dennis Eagle is committed to helping its customers stay one step ahead of changing legislation, and one of the most recent product developments to reflect this is the introduction of Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS) technology on its vehicles.
Using camera and radar technology, the systems help monitor and regulate the trajectory and speed of the vehicles under certain conditions. With optical sensors that distinguish between black and white, the camera is able to detect road markings. If a vehicle moves over a white line above a certain speed and the indicator has not been activated the driver will be alerted by an in-cab warning sound. This is designed to stop vehicles straying across lanes unintentionally, helping to improve safety for other road users and cyclists.
In conjunction with the camera, the technology also incorporates a radar system. This detects objects in the road ahead to ensure a safe distance is maintained at all times. If the vehicle gets too close to an object in front and the driver doesn’t apply the brakes or turn in order to avoid it, the AEBS will automatically be activated, helping to slow the vehicle down to a safe speed and mitigate the risk of a collision.
Developed in close partnership with Volvo Group and Knorr Bremse, the system integrates fully with the engine, brakes and instrument cluster of the vehicles, and was recently put through its paces in a live demonstration at Thatcham Research Centre, a world-renowned facility specialising in vehicle safety technology.
Setting an example
LDW and AEBS is just the latest in a series of improvements designed to drive up safety standards in the industry. In 1992, Dennis Eagle launched the UK’s first low entry cab, the Elite 1, which helped to reduce the amount of leg and back injuries suffered by crews. It also played a role in improving safety for other road users, with its panoramic windscreen providing increased visibility for drivers. Further improvements have since followed, setting a precedent for cab design and safety that other industries are now eager to learn from.
Following the publication of the Transport Research Laboratory’s Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) report in 2013, Transport for London (TfL) was keen to introduce new standards to regulate construction vehicles working in London. It approached Dennis Eagle to take part in efforts to improve construction vehicle safety due to the company’s expertise in developing large trucks with high-visibility, low-entry cabs for use in urban environments.
When it comes to cyclist safety, the issues currently faced by construction vehicles are similar to those Dennis Eagle has faced and successfully overcome. High, raised cabs with three windows provide limited visibility and mean cyclists can easily be missed in drivers’ blind spots. However, as experience with refuse collection vehicles has shown, lower cabs give drivers better spatial awareness.
When cabs are lower mirrors need less distortion to show surrounding traffic and distances are easier to judge. The reduced height means visibility of cyclists won’t disappear between the door or dash lines, the driver’s over-the-shoulder visibility is improved and the panoramic, eye-level view from the cabs mean cyclists and drivers can make eye contact more easily, ensuring they are aware of one another.
Delivering greater efficiency
Alongside safety, another issue that has remained a hot topic over recent years is that of efficiency. Public and private sector organisations alike are under greater pressure than ever to deliver ‘more for less’, and are increasingly turning to partners such as Dennis Eagle to help them achieve this.
Effective vehicle telematics can have a major impact on fleet performance, improving driver behaviour and fuel consumption to result in lower long-term maintenance costs and reduced environmental impact.
Today’s telematics systems are becoming ever more sophisticated, integrating component electronics and wireless communications with services such as the internet or GPS to deliver information and facilitate the use of applications designed to monitor and improve vehicle or fleet performance. As a result, this is helping operators to meet the demands of modern fleet management.
The new DennisConnect telematics system is now fitted as standard to all Dennis Eagle manufactured products and remotely monitors the health of vehicles in the field. Should an issue develop, it automatically transmits fault codes to the company’s technical support centre, giving the location of the vehicle. This allows Dennis Eagle to diagnose the fault, convert the fault code into a list of parts required to repair the vehicle and allocate the closest engineer with the most suitable skills for repair.
As well as providing a better first time fix rate and an enhanced service level, DennisConnect can also identify defect trends and introduce preventative programmes, offering smarter service and maintenance scheduling for refuse chassis and bodies. It also acts as a platform for further operational modules that are designed to increase operational performance, including the Waste Operator module and the Fuel Saver pack.
The Waste Operator module features full vehicle tracking down to street level and management reports for all operator functions. It allows hydraulic pressures to be remotely set depending on the material type and round activity, and features the ability to preconfigure the system to handle different waste stream packing pressures on different dates, helping to ensure that gross vehicle weight is never exceeded. In addition, the Fuel Saver pack enables engine remapping and has a dynamic shift control system and acceleration rate management to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
Investing in the future
The proactive approach Dennis Eagle takes to the development of its products and services would not be possible without continued investment in its people, as well as its facilities.
As an ethical, Midlands-based business committed to the future of UK manufacturing it employs a large
number of local people, investing significantly in their training to nurture a highly-skilled workforce that has helped to ensure the continued success of the brand in the UK, as well as overseas.
It has also recently invested £100,000 in a new 2000m² facility at its Warwick headquarters, providing additional capacity to ensure it is in a strong position to meet future challenges and address the requirements of customers as the waste industry evolves.
The first floor is dedicated to new product development, while a ground floor workshop has been created specifically for fitting OEM bodies to third party chassis. Each job is bespoke, bringing different challenges based on individual customer requirements, and the new site brings the relevant production and engineering teams together under one roof. This enables them to work closely alongside each other to ensure bodies and chassis integrate seamlessly, providing customers with tailored solutions to meet their needs.
In a further development, the company has recently announced the opening of a new service depot in Devon. The facility will initially be working with South Hams, providing maintenance, MOT and field services for the District Council’s fleet. Going forward, the service will be extended to other customers on the south coast and in surrounding regions, delivering a faster and more responsive service.
Dennis Eagle’s presence in this part of the country has grown significantly over recent years, so the new depot will offer customers in the south easier and more convenient access to the company’s aftermarket services going forward.
Sales and Marketing Director Richard Taylor comments: “Here at Dennis Eagle, we are extremely proud of our manufacturing heritage. Innovation has remained a key driving force since the business was founded over a century ago, and we are committed to maintaining the tenacious spirit and can-do attitude that has made the company what it is today.
“Sustained investment continues to drive Dennis Eagle forward, helping us to meet the needs of the market as it evolves. However, this would not be possible without the mutual and trusted partnerships we have formed with our loyal customers over the years, and we would like to thank them for their ongoing support.”
For more information: www.dennis-eagle.co.uk