Unimog is building the U500 adapted for the U.S. market, using the Swiss Pocket Knife Principle. In this development, Parker is supplying, for the first time in Europe, the complete connector package for the braking system of a DaimlerChrysler vehicle.
|The UGN U500 is something entirely new for the American market: for the first time, users can take advantage of a multi-purpose machine for universal use.||
The logistics expenditure is considerable. Hoses and fittings, manufactured by Parker in the U.S., are delivered to Europe, where they are preassembled by the Hose Divisions. The customer is DaimlerChrysler Unimog Product Division. For the first time in Europe, the company is obtaining all the connector parts for a braking system from Parker FluidConnectors.
From the outside, the Unimog UGN U500 implement carrier strongly resembles the European model. It is hidden factors that really make the new Unimog different. A glance under the chassis reveals the first clues to this special design for the American market. Because of U.S. regulations, about a third of the vehicle had to be re-developed as part of an inter-disciplinary project.
The U.S. model is not only different in terms of standards and characteristics. Individual customer requirements also have to be taken into account.
We chose Parker components for the air-brake lines because these parts are always available in the U.S., says Rainer Sontheimer, Director of Chassis Development for the equipment carrier, and manager of the development project. Also, our sales partner and leading truck manufacturer, Freightliner, uses Parker parts, he adds.
Over one million load changes
Type 273 rubber hoses proved their reliability on a test stand that simulated the connection between hoses and fittings. Over a million load changes were imposed at the most extreme steering range possible for an axle.
The pre-assembled connector system is delivered by the Hose Products, Tube Fittings and Polyflex divisions. Teflon and thermoplastic hoses are supplied to the new Unimog production facility at Wörth, near Karlsruhe, as hose bundles. Hose bundles are something new for the U.S. market, where hoses are usually drawn directly into the vehicle from a drum.
Volker Seitz, Project Manager for Unimog North America, points out that the conditions a U500 could be exposed to in Alaska are very different to those it would meet in, say, California. Hoses and fittings must resist extreme environmental influences, says Rainer Sontheimer, neatly summing up the challenge for the Parker components. They must remain totally unaffected even at double-digit minus temperatures, and on ground with high salt and sand content, he adds.
Biggest export market for the Unimog
The DaimlerChrysler Unimog Division is now delivering the first vehicles overseas. Were expecting it to be our biggest export market, enthuses Volker Seitz. The model series is classified as an off-road implement carrier, and the standardised quick-change mounting plate, combined with standardised hydraulic push-in fittings, means that equipment can be changed very quickly indeed. Equipment that can be carried by the quick-action fit-and-remove format ranges from skip loaders to winter service combinations.
Seitz claims that a vehicle like this is something entirely new in the USA. Up to now, users have only had single-purpose machines at their disposal, designed for just one application. Having a large number of vehicles with only one use makes many fleets uneconomical, he adds. Unimogs success will come from the vehicles multi-task universality and its low lifecycle cost.