Australia is producing more waste than ever before. Recent statistics show that garbage generation rose 170 per cent between 1996 and 2015, while the nation’s population only increased 28 per cent to 24 million – making for a disproportionately high waste growth rate, according to environmental consultancy firm, MRA.
The impressive growth performance has drawn attention to the waste sector from local communities, putting the pressure on councils to ensure that the increasing number of garbage collection vehicles can perform their tasks quickly, quietly and, most importantly for the local residents, safely.
Longtime producer of safety technology, braking specialist WABCO, has become a household name for its Intelligent Trailer Program, a modular electronic braking system (EBS) for semi-trailers. The technology is widespread and celebrated throughout the industry for its TailGuard system, a rear blind spot detection system with active braking that automatically halts a vehicle when an obstacle is detected.
“TailGuard helps to reduce risks during reversing by detecting small, large, static and moving objects when in the blind spot behind the vehicle, and automatically stopping at a safe distance,” WABCO Product Manager, Blair Rundle, says.
“This provides stress relief for drivers during reversing and helps them avoid collisions with pedestrians, gates, garbage bins and other objects behind the vehicle.”
As a major obstacle for the mounting neighbourhood and metropolitan garbage collection task is people, translating the safety benefits of the TailGuard’s active brake to refuse vehicles was a logical transition of the technology, WABCO says.
“Garbage collection vehicles do a lot of reversing, as it is often necessary to access dumpsters down narrow alleyways between buildings,” Blair says. “As well as the automatic brake, the TailGuard uses flashing side markers and audible warnings to assist the driver, which can also be silenced to be considerate during unsocial hours.”
A distance indicator is also provided on an easy-to-operate remote control – an innovative unit that is mounted in the truck’s cab, displaying the distance between any detected objects and the trailer. A traffic light-inspired colour theme provides real-time details on where the object is in relation to the trailer.
“Our customers of the TailGuard for trailers have provided feedback that the system not only eases the pressure on the drivers during reversing, but has significantly reduced the amount of repairs for the small dings that were once common in tight loading docks,” Blair says. “The TailGuard not only improves safety for the vehicle’s surroundings, but also for the vehicle itself by reducing repair costs.”
With the translation of the reversing technology to suit the growing number of waste collection vehicles necessary to handle Australia’s mounting garbage production, Blair says operators in the sector can have the same safety benefits long celebrated by WABCO’s trailer operator customers.