Home: Issue 1 2011 › Future challenges

Future challenges

Future challenges

01/02/2011 | Channel: Manufacturing, Automotive

2010 was a very exciting year for Dennis Eagle, a leading refuse collection vehicle manufacturer

Providing clients with a complete refuse collection vehicle (RCV) solution to all their individual needs, Dennis Eagle currently strives to develop quality products that exceed expectations in terms of performance, value for money and delivery.

The company has spent many years researching and developing complete refuse collection vehicle solutions designed specifically for the wide range of recycling initiatives that make up this rapidly expanding market.

Dennis Eagle entered 2011 on a high note, following a year of significant progress and developments. These included the celebration of 25 years in business at its Warwick headquarters, and an expansion of this site. Furthermore, the company’s ‘Olympus’ vehicle saw unprecedented success and was shortlisted for Vehicle of the Year at the Chartered Institute of Wastes Managements Awards for Environmental Excellence. The company was awarded several significant contracts both in the UK and abroad, and finally, Ethan Flynn, one of its second year apprentices, was awarded the Mechanical Apprentice of the Year accolade at the MGTS Annual Award ceremony.

One of the most exciting of these developments was the completion of the new facility - E3000 - in July. The new building is situated next to the company’s existing property in Warwick and creates a dedicated facility for chassis assembly, chassis painting and pre-delivery inspection.

Spanning 3000 square metres, the space was transformed from an empty shell into a fully functioning factory space, which comprises office space for the parts and service department, training section and human resources as well as the chassis production line.

Richard Taylor, head of sales and marketing for Dennis Eagle comments: “The decision to open E3000 was based on improving Dennis Eagle’s environmental performance and quality of the vehicles that we build. Additional new, specialist facilities such as the shot-blasting section has meant that we can offer a better all-round paint finish on our vehicles which lasts longer, thus improving the performance for our customers and increasing the life of Dennis Eagle trucks.”

In order to improve on its environmental impact, Dennis Eagle has taken special measures in E3000 to save as much energy as possible. Low energy lighting has been installed throughout and the new, modern paint booth uses a forced air drying system which has reduced gas consumption by 45 per cent, compared to its predecessor.

E3000 will also enable Dennis Eagle to manufacture more product variants. This is particularly important as the number of vehicles destined for international markets increases, as many require differing specifications in order to meet legislation.

It will also be beneficial to have all vehicles produced entirely in one location, as previously vehicles were transported to the company’s Aldridge Service Centre facility to be painted.

Norman Thoday, managing director of Dennis Eagle commented: “The new facility is vital in the continued growth of Dennis Eagle and underlines the commitment made by Ros Roca to our customers. We must be able to accommodate our customers’ increasingly varied needs and continue producing vehicles that are of the highest standards.

“We have had a great reaction from all visitors who have had the opportunity of walking the footprints of E3000 so far. Both UK and export customers have viewed the site, including guests from Australia, France, Holland, Poland, Spain, Czech Republic, Brazil and Denmark.”

The focus on the environmental agenda continued with the announcement that Dennis Eagle is to upgrade its Euro 5 engine to achieve Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle (EEV) compliance. EEV is a voluntary code that has been adopted in Europe and compliance is achieved via a simple software upgrade that can be made to new Euro 5 engines from 2011 onwards.
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The company also achieved Environmental Management System ISO 14001:2004 certification at its Blackpool cab production facility, reinforcing the company’s ongoing commitment to improving its environmental performance.

Interestingly, managing director Norman noted that although there are sound business reasons for adopting a ‘green’ approach, to assume that all developments are driven by environmental considerations would, however, be a mistake.

He explained: “Technological improvements are the result of many different factors including health and safety, the changing needs of society, legislation and market / country-specific requirements.

“In recent years, the health and safety of refuse vehicle operatives and the general public has rightly increased in importance. Improvements have been driven partly by an increased focus on this area by vehicle manufacturers and fleet operators, and partly by new legislation. This in turn has led to changes in vehicle design including a crumple zone around the B-post panel area, a strengthening plate to spread loads across the cab and upgraded mountings on the front pivot points to cope with the force of an impact in order to meet European crash safety test ECE R29 standards.

“Customer feedback also has a strong role to play in the area of product development and can result in the launch of a completely new vehicle body shape, such as narrows which were introduced in the 1980s, the redesign of the cabs to reduce vehicle injuries and optimise productivity. At the rear of the truck the incorporation of new design features such as access platforms make it easier for workshops to access ‘harder to reach’ areas on a vehicle. 

“Similarly cultural differences are strong drivers of innovation for a business which wants a presence in more than one country. To ensure we meet and anticipate the needs of the countries in which we operate, Dennis Eagle focuses on several areas, one of which is the ability to understand and interpret individual and often unique market requirements that have historically been derived from local suppliers but which are still maintained today.

“International design modifications include: the need to fit extra sound insulation to Spanish vehicles to minimise noise from night collections; the need to build dual steer cabs for the Australian market; and the complete customisation of containers, underground systems and side and rear loaders for use in Holland and Belgium, two of the most complicated markets in the world.

“One thing is clear: in the current climate innovation must play an even greater role in business success and operational efficiencies. This is particularly true, as operators rightly demand greater payback from the new technologies they purchase. However challenging the economic climate, now is not the time for industry to shy away from driving change and, as a manufacturer, Dennis Eagle will continue our commitment to R&D to deliver the new solutions required to face future challenges.”

Dennis Eagle
Employees: 650
Products: refuse collection vehicle manufacture