www.mercedes-benz.com June 2010
The magazine for multi-functional applications.
Unimog U 20 Special
1 | 2010
Unimog U 20_The most compact Unimog model is a big hit: Wide-ranging examples of practical
applications demonstrate its strong performance capabilities and high degree of flexibility.
U 20 on fire-fighting duty | Multi-talent: U 20 carrying out public works |
Power pack: U 20 in pipe-laying operations
2 EDITORIAL • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
I am delighted to present to you this latest
issue of Unimog Magazine. On scrolling
through, and on closer reading, you will
notice that we have made some changes
to the layout – and also that we have
added this Editorial section. I will from
now on be taking this opportunity, as
head of Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks
and plant manager in Wörth, to address you twice a year through this channel.
I was appointed to manage the world’s largest truck assembly plant in 2009. A key
aspect of my role, however, is in heading the Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks division
– the home of the Zetros and the Econic, and of the Unimog range, from the
U 20 up to the U 5000. We established this unit within Daimler AG in order to meet
the special requirements of customers in the segment. With a dedicated team of
specialists in development, production and sales, we are able to create tailored
system solutions which are greatly appreciated by our customers. That is true even
in difficult economic times confronting the world as a whole, as were seen last year
especially. Our legendary Unimog, the “universal motor machine”, has proved more
than a mere survivor in such times. Indeed, it was the only production unit in the
entire commercial vehicles industry not to be affected by short-time working during
At INTERSCHUTZ, the international rescue, fire prevention, disaster relief, safety
and security fair in Leipzig, the spotlight on the Mercedes-Benz stand will be on the
Unimog U 20. This issue of Unimog Magazine likewise focuses its attention on the
Unimog U 20. This Special provides extensive coverage of the most compact unit
in the universal implement carrier range, featuring operational reports from its work
in Winter service in St. Moritz and helping with pipe-laying in Luxembourg. We also
take a look across the Alps, where Italian power company Enel recently ordered
50 Unimog U 20 vehicles.
Despite the diversity of these applications, users of the Unimog U 20 are united in
their pleasure on discovering product advantages which the model’s “big brothers”
cannot deliver: The U 20 scores particularly thanks to its compact size and slim
design, allied to a short wheelbase of just 2.7 metres, providing for a turning circle
of just 12.6 metres, enabling it to work in locations which larger vehicles have no
chance of reaching. Those attributes are brought to bear in the fire-fighting segment,
for example, where the vehicle is attracting great interest. In fact, the Unimog U 20
in its tank tender specification even conforms to the fire service standard TLF 10/20
currently still in preparation, and as such is fully eligible for the relevant subsidies.
The U 20 thus represents a genuine Unimog at an attractive entry-level price.
I would be very pleased to see you at INTERSCHUTZ or to welcome you on some
other occasion to our headquarters.
I very much hope you enjoy reading your new Unimog Magazine.
Mercedes-Benz Wörth Plant Manager and Director of
Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks Division
08 A little power pack with
manoeuvrable and powerful: the
Unimog U 20 is popular among
fire services all over Europe.
04 Once Unimog, always Unimog_The compact U 20 scores heavily in many
different segments. Now the multi-talented unit is becoming even more variable.
06 Genuine, traditional, modern_Interview with product manager Wulf Aurich.
08 A little power-pack with life-saving qualities_Fire services in many countries
across Europe are deploying the U 20 in fire-fighting and rescue operations.
11 Fire-fighting professionals at work_Unimog, Zetros and Econic
at INTERSCHUTZ 2010 in Leipzig.
12 Local hero_The U 20 offers many benefits specifically for public works
applications. Six practical examples.
16 Ice-cold efficiency_In St. Moritz a U 20 clears the way in Winter and in Summer.
18 Top performance in the pipeline_Luxembourg pipe-laying contractor
Sewerin Schiltz Rohrleitungsbau relies on the U 20 when carrying out its
highly demanding work.
20 Test passed – bravissimo!_Italian power company Enel subjected the U 20
to thorough testing. And then ordered 50 vehicles.
22 Building on the right basis_Alfred Söder offers specially tailored body
constructions; the U 20 is proving a highly popular base unit for them.
24 500 “marriages” a day_A visit to the Special Trucks division at the Wörth plant
is a real eye-opener: Precision hand skills are essential.
26 Stand still? Not at all!_Special exhibition at the Unimog-Museum.
Unimog on the victory podium_Off-road vehicle of the year 2010.
27 Enthusiasts’ club_The Unimog-Club Gaggenau e. V. in profile.
Publisher: Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, Sales Marketing, D-76742 Wörth
Responsible at publisher: Benjamin Syring, Special-Purpose Vehicles Product Division
Editorial committee: Benjamin Syring, Marion Weisenburger, Dieter Sellnau
Authors: Gerhard Grünig (4 ff., 12 ff., 24 f.), Kai Kalbitz (11, 22 f.), Susanne Löw (26 f.), Ralf Maile (8 ff.),
Ute Risché (18 f.), Tanja Strauß (20 f.), Jürgen Zöllter (16 f.)
Photos: Daimler AG (miscellaneous), Michael Ehritt (14 bottom), Gerhard Grünig (15), Julius Spital (14 top),
Kai Kalbitz (22 f.), Susanne Löw (27 top right), Morlock Fotografie (3 no. 3+4, 8 f., 16 f., 18 f., 20 f.),
RKF-Bleses (12), Sietrac (13), Tanja Strauß (14 middle), unimog-club-gaggenau.de (27 top),
Unimog-Museum Gaggenau (26 top)
Production: Verlag Heinrich Vogel, Springer Fachmedien München GmbH, Corporate Publishing, Aschauer
Straße 30, D-81549 Munich, Tel.: +49 (0)89 203043-1122; Springer Fachmedien München GmbH is part of
the Springer Science+Business Media specialist publishing group; Art Direction/Graphics: Dierk Naumann
Editorial staff: Susanne Löw, Thomas Maier (Editor-in-chief); Project management: Susanne Löw,
Printed by: F&W Mediencenter GmbH, Holzhauser Feld 2, D-83361 Kienberg
Translation: beo Gesellschaft für Sprachen & Technologie mbH, Freischützstraße 9, D-81927 Munich
Unimog Magazine is published twice a year. All rights reserved. Reproduction and electronic
processing are only permitted with written authorisation from the publishers. No liability can
be accepted for any unsolicited articles and images sent to us.
Printed on paper bleached without chlorine • Printed in the Federal Republic of Germany
UNIMOG 1 • 2010 • CONTENTS 3
4 COVER STORY • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
Once Unimog, always Unimog
Since October 2008 the traditional Unimog model range has been expanded to include the front control cab U 20.
The “small” Unimog provides the missing link between the original 2010 model and the attractively priced modern-day
all-purpose unit. And in the current model year it is getting better still.
“I WAS THRILLED WITH IT RIGHT FROM THE START!”, “This product
is the one everybody needs!” – These were the kind of appraisals
of the U 20 being heard in mid-April as the Wörth plant played
host to the Unimog U 20 Sales Conference. Some 200 visitors from
18 countries – sales executives, sales managers and business owners
from all across Europe – spent the
day being shown the latest public
utility, transportation, energy and
fire-fighting appli cations. The excitement
generated by the smallest member
of the Unimog range was palpable
throughout the day.
Back in the day when the originators
of the “universal motor machine”
which was to become the Unimog
came up with their revolutionary
concept, it was likewise a time of
great excitement and inventiveness.
They conceived of a vehicle which
would have to handle many more
tasks than the conventional tractors
of the time. As well as towing agricultural
machinery, it was also intended
to provide its occupants with protection against the elements, to move
at speed, and to offer its own load space.
The sum of all those features ultimately led to the creation of the
comprehensive Unimog design concept which is still in use today: four
wheels of equal size, with single tyres and all-wheel drive, and built on
a chassis which offers maximum traction and good off-road capabilities.
Other specifications included a comfortable cab, and powerful and
torquey yet economical and low-emission engines. A key factor in its
design was the now legendary diversity of machines which could be
built on and attached to the Unimog to make it an essential tool for any
agricultural or public utility jobs. That versatility was demonstrated
clearly to the participants at the Unimog U 20 Sales Conference in
Wörth, where no less than 16 partner firms presented their range of
Some 200 Unimog sales executives, sales managers and business owners from
all across Europe gathered in Wörth in mid-April to attend the Unimog U 20
UNIMOG 1 • 2010 • COVER STORY 5
The continuous growth in size of the Unimog up to the present-day
U 300/U 400/U 500 series of high-efficiency implement carriers led to
a gap at the lower end of the size range. That gap was closed just under
three years ago by the U 20 – a compact, low-cost implement carrier
used primarily by local public utilities and in gardening and land -
scaping. Indeed, the U 20 is
the most compact all-wheel
drive implement carrier in the
weight segment from 7.5 to
(since recently) 9.3 tonnes. In
line with the philosophy of its
creators, it combines the benefits
of advanced engineering
seen in its “big brothers” with
light weight, great manoeuvrability
and an attractive price.
Its chassis and drive train are
A robust ladder frame and
portal axles for good off-road
performance in combination
with a special cab mounting.
the same as those of the larger
models. But with its wheelbase
of just 2700 millimetres, the
U 20 is more compact and much
more manoeuvrable. The fourcylinder
feature BlueTec ® exhaust cleaning technology, enabling them to conform
to the Euro 5 emissions standard. Power transmission is provided by an
eight-speed manual gearbox, which also incorporates a reducer unit
providing the driver with a further eight working gears and enabling
speeds ranging from a 1.1 km/h minimum up to a top speed of 90 km/h.
This means the U 20 is fully equipped for motorway driving. In addition
to its attractions as an implement carrier and light truck, it can
also be used as a tractor unit for trailers pulling up to 18 tonnes.
A new feature seen for the first time in the U 20 is its front control
cab constructed entirely of steel. The cab – part of the Group’s
com ponent kit – offers space for two to three occupants, is light and
airy, and features wide-opening doors for ease of access. The first
update to the U 20 model saw the addition of an optional air-sprung
swivel seat which provides very high levels of ride comfort. A stowage
box located behind the cab is a useful option for all the things for which
there is no room inside. Implement carrier features fitted as standard,
in addition to the conventional single tyre specification, include a dualcircuit
utility hydraulics system, front power take-off gear, auxiliary
drive from the gearbox, as well as an optional front mounting plate.
Of course, the participants at the Unimog U 20 Sales Conference were
already aware of all those features. There were, however, a number of
improvements and additions launched in April enabling the latest U 20
model to adapt even more efficiently to its operating conditions. A major
new addition was a new engine developing a hefty 130 kW (177 hp) of
power output and 680 Nm of torque. This provides operators who frequently
need to make use of the full towing capacity, or who deploy their
U 20 in hilly areas, with an extremely powerful new engine variant.
This higher-powered unit is also ideal for fire service applications,
in which the U 20 is becoming ever more popular. As in the case of the
6 COVER STORY • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
Popular – not just among public utilities – thanks to its numerous attachment variants:
the U 20.
Genuine, traditional, modern
With the U 20 Mercedes-Benz is for the first time moving away from the classic
design philosophy of the “universal motor machine”. Product manager Wulf
Aurich explains why the smallest model in the range is still a “genuine Unimog”.
Unimog Magazine: The original Unimog was a compact, manoeuvrable
all-purpose unit which combined the benefits of four equally
sized wheels, a protected cab and a load space. To what extent is the
current U 20 model still in line with the traditions of its forefathers?
Wulf Aurich: The U 20 has all the classic Unimog features: all-wheel
drive, portal axles, differentials, and attachment and drive options
such as a front power take-off shaft, front mounting plate and utility
hydraulics. In short: the U 20 is a 100 percent Unimog! An innovative
feature is the state-of-the-art three-seat front control cab. The massproduced
cab from the Group’s component kit enabled us to develop
a Unimog which is both compact and manoeuvrable as well as being
very attractively priced.
Unimog Magazine: What differentiates the U 20 from its “big
brothers”? Where are there parallels between them, and what are the
primary applications for the U 20?
Wulf Aurich: Alongside the other cab design philosophy, the U 20
represented a less complex concept. That is related to its public utility
applications, for which it was primarily developed. The U 20 is optimised
for use by the municipal utilities of small and medium-sized
local authorities, for classic universal implement carrier applications
– that is to say, snow-ploughing and road-salt spreading in Winter,
road transport, cleaning operations using front-mounted sweepers
or high-pressure jet washers, as well as occasional mowing work.
existing drive unit, the new, higher-specified OM 904 LA, available from
the beginning of 2011, also delivers its full power at the power take-off
shaft. A dual-circuit hydraulic system is not essential for many users.
For less demanding applications, such as simple tipping hydraulics or
operating winches on fire service vehicles, a lower-cost single-circuit
system is often sufficient. From the beginning of 2011 this simpler
variant, featuring two cells and four connection points at the front
(with no snow-plough load relief) will be available in addition to the
standard dual-circuit hydraulics.
Many operators deploy their U 20 units on unstable ground, but must
nevertheless ensure that the vehicles do not cause lasting damage while
at the same time generating sufficient traction. Consequently, by thirdquarter
2010 the use of 405/70 R20 size heavy-duty tread tyres with
traction profiling, such as the Michelin XM 47 or the Conti AC 70, will
be approved. Despite the reduced axle loads of 4.4 tonnes, the payload
Wulf Aurich, Unimog product manager.
This means the U 20 has no need for components such as a torque converter
clutch, right/left variable steering, hydrostatic drive or power
hydraulics. As a result, it is a very attractively priced product! In addition
to the applications mentioned, the U 20 is becoming increasingly
popular as a base unit for cranes or as a lifting platform, and recently
also once again for fire-fighting applications.
Unimog Magazine: How can you keep the U 20 fit for the future?
Wulf Aurich: True to the motto: “Nothing is so good that you can’t
improve on it”, we are continually endeavouring to make our products
more attractive and user-friendly. Despite the shortage of resources
in tough economic times, we have bundled an extensive package of
measures into the latest U 20 – including changes to its engine range
and tyres, as well as a new single-circuit hydraulic system.
Unimog Magazine: The U 20 has lots of competition in its segment.
Why is the Unimog still the most successul model?
Wulf Aurich: The success of the U 20 is founded on three factors: It is
a 100 percent Mercedes-Benz Unimog in the compact 7.5 to 9.3 tonne
class, at a highly attractive price. This means it has the potential
to serve as a replacement for the many “old” Unimog units of the
U 900 to U 1400 series. The equipment mounting options and system
expertise of the U 20 make it a unique vehicle product, able to transport
loads like a truck and work like a tractor. r
A total of 16 partner firms presented their latest attachment solutions at the Unimog
U 20 Sales Conference in Wörth in mid-April.
Road maintenance equipment for Unimog U300 - U500 and U20
UNIMOG 1 • 2010 • COVER STORY 7
capacity will remain adequate thanks to the low unladen weight.
Details of potentially necessary modifications to units already in
operation and of how to procure suitable tyres can be obtained
from Unimog dealers.
Last, but not least: Mercedes-Benz will be adding to the list of
optional extras for the U 20 with effect from June 2010 by introducing
an all-wheel drive parking brake, which couples together the service
and parking brakes electro-pneumatically as a standing brake while
the engine is running. Unimog thereby complies with the European
fire-fighting vehicle standard EN 1846-2 for off-road vehicles
(Operation on inclines up to 23° when laden) and optimises stability
and strength when winching. White wings, bumpers and grilles will be
available in future as a special option for fire service vehicles.
A long-standing and essential product concept
With its latest developments, Mercedes-Benz had advanced a
long-standing design concept stretching back almost six decades. The
Uni mog remains an essential all-purpose product for local public
utilities, agriculture and other applications. The verdict from the Sales
Con ference reaffirmed those qualities: The U 20 is a full-spec Unimog
at an attractive entry-level price. So for many users the motto will
doubtless remain: Once Unimog, always Unimog! r
Our comprehensive range
of front and rear mounted
mowing equipment with a
versatile range of working
attachments is the optimum solution for an allyear
use of the Unimog. Please ask for our general
folder about professional mowing equipment.
International Unimog System-Partner
Innovation and quality –
we are committed to
8 FIRE-FIGHTING • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
A little power-pack with
Flexibility and compact dimensions make the U 20 an attractive option for fire-fighting and
emergency rescue operations. Many fire services in Germany and other European countries agree.
THE UNIMOG U 20 is currently making a
name for itself as an economical and ecofriendly
operational vehicle in service with
fire departments all over Europe. As well
as in Germany, it is already operational in
Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy and France.
It is in no way a “slimmed-down” version
of the two heavier Unimog model series.
Quite the contrary: it combines the attributes
of an all-wheel drive truck with the
acknowledged performance capabilities of its
“big brothers”. This highly manoeuvrable
and compact vehicle offers a whole range of
additional usage options, while at the same
time making use of tried and proven components
from the Unimog modular kit.
What exactly makes it such an ideal tool
for fire services? Its primary benefit to fire
services lies in its flexibility. With an engine
developing 110 kW of power output, and
reaching a top speed of 90 km/h, the U 20 is
able to get where it is needed quickly. Once
there, its compact dimensions – including
its slim width of just 2.15 metres – enable it
to get to even the tightest spots. This might
mean negotiating its way around narrow
inner-city streets, for example, where it can
make use of its manoeuvring speed down to
just 1.2 km/h. The extremely short 2.70 metre
wheelbase of the U 20 means it has a very
tight turning circle of just 12.60 metres.
“It means we can get to fires where normal
fire tenders mounted on truck chassis
struggle to reach,” is the unanimous verdict
from the enthusiastic members of the
volunteer fire brigade in the southern
German town of Esslingen on the river
Neckar. A further boost to the manoeuvrability
offered by the compact U 20 is provided
“It means we can get to fires where normal
fire tenders mounted on truck chassis struggle
Unanimous verdict from the members of the volunteer fire brigade in Esslingen/Neckar
by its Telligent ® gearshift, with 16 forward
and 14 reverse gears, enabling it to reliably
reach any destination, out of town or off-road,
even when mounted with heavy implements.
It is the ideal “helper” in such situations,
always providing just the functionality needed
when space is tight and there is not much
room to move around.
U 20 masters even the toughest off-road
The U 20 shows the full extent of its capa -
bilities when working its way along narrow
The U 20 can reach any working location,
even on unmade tracks in difficult
to access forest areas.
unmade woodland tracks or up steep vineyard
slopes to reach its working location. It is
on just such difficult terrain that the U 20
really demonstrates its ability to handle even
the most challenging of operating conditions.
It comes fully equipped with all the typical
Unimog features. Its highlights include
permanent mechanical all-wheel drive,
portal axles with differential locks on all four
single-tyred wheels, together with impressive
slope angles of 30 degrees at the rear
and 27 degrees at the front – allowing it to
overcome even steep slopes and steps. In
UNIMOG 1•2010 • FIRE-FIGHTING 9
Vehicle type Variable loader vehicle WLF
Body builder KomTec
Operating location Germany
Special features Versatility based on
quick-changing of various body structures
Vehicle type Tank tender
Body builder ZHT
Operating location Bulgaria
Special features 1,400-litre tank capacity
and 135 litres of foam
Vehicle type Tank tender TLF 10/20
Body builder Schlingmann
Operating location Germany
Special features Highly compact, 2,400-litre
tank capacity, roof jet and front-mounted spray
beam for forest and open-space fire-fighting
10 FIRE-FIGHTING • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
Vehicle type Forest fire-fighting engine
Body builder Giletta
Operating location Italy
Special features Interchangeable system
permits cost-effective all-year-round operation:
Forest fire-fighting (Summer), municipal works
Vehicle type Group fire-fighting vehicle
with all-wheel drive LFA
Body builder Nusser
Operating location Austria
Special features Self-recovery winch and
space for up to 1 + 8 crew
Vehicle type Forest fire-fighting engine CCFL
Body builder Massias
Operating location France
Special features Self-protection system, anti-roll
cage and 2,000 litre tank capacity
Vehicle type Tank tender TLF 10/20
Body builder Ziegler
Operating location Germany/Croatia
Special features High-pressure pump and roof
jet for use in town centres and in off-road situations
really challenging off-road conditions, the
anti-lock braking system can be switched to
The fire-fighting crew (1/2) is provided
with a modern-style, comfortable front control
cab made entirely of steel, featuring good
ergonomic characteristics and offering optimum
visibility. Optional mounted implements
can be practically handled using a joystick,
fitted conveniently in the centre console complete
with all the other key controls. The U 20
also features an economical and environ -
mentally friendly engine conforming to the
Euro 5 emissions standard. The tight-knit
global network of Mercedes-Benz service
centres will ensure the units remain continuously
and cost-effectively operational.
Body styles of all kinds
A wide variety of fire-fighting vehicle bodies
can be mounted on the U 20 in line with
the requirements specified by the operators.
Options already in practical use include
tank tenders, specialist forest fire-fighting
engines, group fire-fighting vehicles, variable
loader vehicles, dry-extinguisher
vehicles, rescue vehicles and other specialpurpose
vehicles. The U 20 provides the
necessary high axle loads – and thus
payloads – capable of handling gross vehicle
weight ratings from 7.5 to 9.3 tonnes. This
means, for example, it is capable of carrying
more than 2,000 litres of water, enabling
Even narrow city streets cannot stop the U 20 getting through.
units also to be deployed on forest fire-fighting
The body design also allows for an extensive
range of fire-fighting equipment to be
carried. The U 20 nevertheless retains its full
manoeuvrability, making it ideal for challenging
fire-fighting tasks even in the toughest
of conditions. Numerous attachment options
can also be mounted by way of the front
power take-off shaft and a highly efficient
hydraulic system. Two independent hydraulic
circuits are available to control the necessary
positioning movements and separate operation
of a continuously consuming unit.
This permits convenient and safe mounting
and operation of a wide variety of equipment,
including winches, power generators,
compressors, or snow-ploughs in Winter.
There is also a high-power auxiliary drive
which can be used to operate equipment
such as a centrifugal pump for fire-fighting.
One key component of the U 20 is of
special note in terms of the demands of the
German fire-fighting market: Thanks to the
combination of features outlined above, it
fully conforms to the DIN EN 1846-2 and
14530 standards within the framework of
the new formulation of the specific standard
relating to fire engines of type TLF 10/20.
Consequently, the U 20 fire-fighting variant
is fully eligible for the applicable subsidies
when procured by fire services and local
professionals at work
Fire services need special-purpose trucks such as the Unimog, the Zetros or the Econic.
Alongside the highlighted Unimog U 20, they are all to be seen at INTERSCHUTZ 2010.
the off-road Zetros
WHEN THE FIRE BRIGADE is called out to
handle incidents in difficult terrain, the highperformance
Unimog U 4000/U 5000 off-road
units shine where other vehicles stumble. The
U 5000 (UHN), the complete forest fire-fighting
professional, featuring high-level off-road capabilities
to handle even the toughest of missions,
will be on show at the INTERSCHUTZ fair in
Leipzig. Its specialist attributes are founded on
its compact design, its flexible frame design,
its all-wheel drive set-up, its differential locks
and its portal axles, which provide for high
In early 2009 the Mercedes-Benz product
range was expanded to include the Zetros.
The key feature of this heavy-duty vehicle is its
combination of high payload and large equipment
mounting capacity with optimum offroad
capabilities and good on-road driveability.
The all-wheel drive vehicle comes in a two-axle
variant weighing 18 tonnes or a three-axle
25-tonne variant (where
permit). That means body
manufacturers have some
10 tonnes of flexibility for
the two-axle variant. The
three-axle variant still has
around 14.5 tonnes for the
body and payload.
The smooth frame helps
partners turn the Zetros
into a forest fire-fighting engine. The vehicle
additionally features a gearbox auxiliary
drive. Its wading depth of up to 1.195 metres
also makes it ideal for dealing with flood
The Econic sets new standards in the
low-slung fire-fighting vehicle segment. Its
low-floor design, with a very low-set frame, in
combination with a low-mounted driver’s cab
and turntable ladder, permits a total height
of some three metres. The special-purpose
vehicle chassis is able to negotiate most
under passes with ease. Another advantage of
the Econic’s low-floor design is its very low
centre of gravity, providing safe, stress-free
driveability. A short wheelbase allied to an
electrohydraulically controlled trailing axle
and precision power steering make the Econic
so manoeuvrable that it can even be moved
easily around tight spaces in city centre courtyard
areas for example. The cab can accommodate
up to four crew. Body
of the Econic:
The U 5000:
options which have proved
popular for the Econic twoaxle
or three-axle chassis
variant include rescue lift
platforms, turntable ladders
and telescopic mast
platforms. As a specialpurpose
vehicle the Econic
is deployed primarily by
industrial companies as a
works fire tender. r
UNIMOG 1•2010 • FIRE-FIGHTING 11
r TECHNICAL DATA
•2733 6x6, red MB 3534, single tyres 395/85 R20
•Gearshift, wading depth to 1,195 mm, circular roof
flap, tyre pressure control unit
•Auxiliary gearbox drive NF-2 for driving the water
•Ziegler Tank tender TLF 30/90-5
•9,000 litres of water, 500 litres of foam,
centrifugal pump for fire-fighting Ziegler
•Roof jet, fast-attack unit
•In-line 6-cylinder engine
•7.2 litres displacement, 240 kW (326 hp)
•Econic 1833; 18 tonnes GVWR
•Low-mounted driver’s cab FH8
•BlueTec ® 5 emissions standard
•5-gear Allison automatic transmission
•Wheelbase 4,500 millimeter
•Metz B32 feat. 32 metres of working heigth
•Fully-automatic rescue lift platform
•Rescue or work cage, max. cage load of 400 kg
•A choice of three six-cylinder diesel engines
(175 to 240 kW), or alternatively a gas-powered
engine (205 kW), is available
•Automatic transmission as standard
•High-performance off-road chassis U 5000
•Long wheelbase (3,850 mm), GVWR 14.1 tonnes
•Heat shield + mechanical protection (ex factory),
tyre pressure control unit, wading depth to
1,200 mm, circular roof flap, enlarged cab,
automated manual gearbox
•Off-road compatible single tyres
XZL 445-64 R22.5
•Gimaex-Schmitz (D), forest fire-fighting tank
•3,300 litres of water, 200 litres of foam and
300-litre self-protection system
•One-seven high-pressure system
(Compressed Air-Foam System CAFS)
•Roof jet, fast-attack unit
12 MUNICIPAL WORKS • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
The compact U 20 rounds off the Unimog range in a big way. Users among municipal
utilities, in particular, are finding it highly flexible, efficient and comfortable.
The U 20 is finding favour among many local
authorities. Users of predecessor models
affirm that it represents a technical step
forward. And those with experience of
competitor products usually attest that the
suppos edly “mini” option is a step ahead in
terms of engineering, flexibility and ride
comfort. Customers readily accept that the
U 20 costs more, “because the Unimog can do
much more, compared to its many competitors,
than is reflected by the difference in
price”, as one user points out.
For many local authorities the U 20 is
replacing a predecessor model. Although
there is barely room in their budgets for
a Unimog, municipal utilities and gardening
and landscaping companies, as the classic
users, are choosing the U 20 as a safe bet and
as a means of fending off rising repair costs.
Just how flexible the compact unit can be
in municipal works applications, especially,
has already been demonstrated in a wide
range of applications. Among its outstanding
attributes are its high payload and axle load
THE PIPELINE SPECIALIST
frequently carries out work for
the petrochemicals industry. It
operates a total of four U 20 units
fitted out with the Hiab 99 crane
body, deployed in plant construction
and as tractor rigs.
Frank Seidel is a driver with
Hera Maintenance. “I am happy
with how the Unimog drives,” he
states. It is a vital point, as his
U 20 spends 60 percent of its time
driving on the road. And he
reveals one special tip: “If you’re going to be driving a lot, in the Summer, you really need
In fact, Frank has made a number of modifications to adapt the U 20 to his
par ticular needs. He explains: “I have had some extras put on, including an additional
step on the ladder up to the load space. The step fitted by the crane manufacturer is a
bit high.” r
District of Born
OPERATIVE Günter Falk reports on
his experience with the U 20, which
is deployed on wide-ranging work
in the rural district of Born: “The
air-sprung seat now offered as an
option is a further improvement to
the U 20 in terms of ride comfort.”
Günter admits that he has been
surprised at how powerful the mini
Unimog is. As an example, he cites
what happened during the recent
harsh Winter: “Our snow-plough
simply could not keep up with the
reserves that the U 20 still had to
offer!” To expand the applications of
the U 20, the Born municipal utility
had a Palfinger crane mounted on it. As a result, Günter Falk also arranged for an extended
dumper to be fitted. “That provided with enough space for the work cage,” he explains.
He describes the height of the crane – 3.6 metres – as relatively large, though the interchangeable
system chosen by the municipal utility, whereby the crane and dumper can be
completely removed and replaced by a spreader unit for Winter service operations, means
that there are quite a few centimetres to add on to that at times.
“Of course the U 20 does not offer the same space as a truck,” Günter Falk concludes.
“But in relation to the price, and in view of the wide-ranging equipment mounting
options, the U 20 is definitely the best choice for us. And we have also been very satisfied
with its quality so far.” Then Günter reveals an extra little touch: “Actually, I’ve
already started customising the Unimog a bit visually, with additional trim strips and
the like ...” r
UNIMOG 1 • 2010 • MUNICIPAL WORKS 13
capacity. That is one reason why many local
authorities greatly appreciate the U 20 as a
reliable partner in their Winter road clearing
It is able to carry a three metre wide
snow-plough plus a two cubic metre spreader
unit with ease. High front-end load capacity
permits front mounting of equipment such as
slope mowers weighing as much as a tonne.
The full engine power is delivered to the
mechanical front power take-off shaft, which
means equipment with high power demand
can also be operated. With its low unladen
weight and axle loads of 4.8 tonnes (up to
around five tonnes in the heavy-duty version
with 9.3 tonnes gross vehicle weight rating),
the U 20 is ideal for front mounting of work
equipment. Light-weight implement carriers
often have problems with the uneven
distribution of load which occurs in such
cases, but the U 20 has no difficulties in
that respect thanks to its high load reserves
and its robust axle suspension and spring
The primary applications of the U 20 are
in areas where an all-wheel drive truck does
not offer enough but the higher performance
of the other two Unimog models is not
needed – that is to say, where versatility is
key. And all at an attractive price. So it’s no
wonder that users around Germany – from
Chem nitz, to Gilching, to St. Katharinen – are
so pleased with their “local hero”. r
14 MUNICIPAL WORKS • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
Julius Spital vineyard, Würzburg
STEEP SLOPES with narrow, snaking paths are the working
environment of the U 20 operated by the Julius Spital vineyard in
Würzburg. The vineyard employs the all-wheel drive unit both for
pulling duties and as an implement carrier. Fleet manager Lothar
Flösser likes the Unimog, and is “very pleased” with its handling
and comfort on the road and on the difficult terrain. “When working
in a vineyard, compact size is key,” he explains. “So a truck or a
big Unimog would be no good to us – which is why we have been
using compact Unimog models for decades now.” In addition to the
engineering quality, the fleet manager appreciates the high standards
of service and expertise of his Unimog partner, who “carries
out all service and maintenance work utterly reliably”. The U 20
is used as a tractor unit to pull up to two trailers full of vines into
District of Gilching
THE DISTRICT of Gilching in Bavaria began using the U 20 back in
2008, and now has a second in service. Because the vehicles are
often loaded by hand, the Gilching U 20 is equipped with a special
loading platform, set about 100 mm lower, from manufacturer
Söder. One vehicle also features a Söder cutter which the local
authority uses to trim the borders of the district’s many rural pathways.
Gilching also uses the U 20 in Winter: for towing purposes
and for drain cleaning.
“The U 20 is unmatched in our view,” states fleet manager Anton
Promoli. “Of course, a truck would be cheaper, and a Unimog U 300
could do more. But for our purposes the U 20 is a low-cost alter -
native which satisfactorily handles all the jobs expected of it.”
City of Chemnitz
THE CITY OF CHEMNITZ deploys a U 20 all year round, fitted
respectively with a Mulag mower and with a Winter service combination
unit. Its driver is René Rösler, who has been operating
Uni mogs for many years and is an enthusiastic devotee. “It was not
easy at all to get a new Unimog,” René reports in relation to the
city’s latest acquisition. “Even though the Unimog is capable of
much more, local authorities are having to keep a tight rein on
their finances. We did ultimately succeed in getting the requisition
through – primarily because of our good experience with the
predecessor unit, a U 90.”
René Rösler cites the advantages of the U 20 over that
prede cessor as being, among others, its higher payload. “And the
Würzburg and also
within the vineyard
itself to spread compost
or to apply plant
protection in conjunction
with a built-on
sprayer unit. “For crop-spraying, it is advantageous that we can run
the U 20 at low speed using the off-road reduction gear.”
Like many other users, Lothar Flösser also highlights the adequately
sized cab, the good engine performance and the high-grade
look and feel of the interior. “And an even more vital aspect is that
the U 20 has to date never broken down – reliability is of great
importance to us!” r
Advantages he highlights
include the high
level of comfort and
the user-friendly gearshift,
“We are also very
pleased with our Unimog service partner. And the fact that we are
pleased with the vehicle, and regard it as the way forward in meeting
our needs, is also reflected by our recent acquisition of a second
one,” Promoli affirms. r
U 20 is more powerful
too.” The municipal
describes his job
as challenging and
demanding high quality. He also has some experience with competitor
products, and considers them adequately suited for a variety of
road work. “But in Winter service the U 20 is quite simply the
better alternative in terms of performance and handling.”
Features which René particularly likes include the efficient air-conditioning
system, the extra freedom of movement inside the cab, the
clear instrument panel layout, and the partially automated gearbox. r
Rural district of St. Katharinen
IF ANY USER takes the “universal” element of the name Unimog
literally, it is the rural district of St. Katharinen. The list of implements
mounted on the U 20 in performing its multifarious tasks
around the district reads like a “Who’s who” of accessory manu -
facturers: Dücker boom mower, including flail head and a branch
and hedge cutter; Pavement cleaner; Gmeiner spreader; Schmidt
snow-plough; Söder rear power lift; and not forgetting, a Dücker
Driver and works foreman Josef Schmitz is thrilled by what his
universal machine can do. “The engine power of the U 20 is very
satisfactory, and the gearbox is a dream!” He also likes the general
ease of handling. “The longer I drive it, the more the U 20 impresses.”
And he has a lot of driving to do, because the U 20 – alongside a
flat-bed Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van – is the locality’s only public
works vehicle. Josef Schmitz has no worries about the upcoming
seven weeks of non-stop cutting and clearing of greenery: “The
U 20 has been running smoothly and with absolutely no problems
UNIMOG 1 • 2010 • MUNICIPAL WORKS 15
to date. It also delivers plenty of power at the power take-off shaft.
Even equipment items with high power demand, such as choppers
and mowers, produce good results thanks to the high PTO shaft
HS - Reliable machines for urban and rural areas
Clearing, de-icing and cleaning of circulation areas; we offer innovative and
tailor-made system solutions for every purpose of application.
Schmidt –your partner when it comes to safety on our roads!
Schmidt Winterdienst- und Kommunaltechnik GmbH
Albtalstraße 36, 79837 St. Blasien
Phone: + 49 7672 412 0, Fax: + 49 7672 412 230
16 WINTER SERVICE • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
A U 20 is helping to keep the roads clear in St. Moritz.
Unimog Magazine accompanied driver Corado Pool at his work.
ST. MORITZ IS SLEEPING, but Corado Pool and his Unimog U 20 are
already at work. At five o’clock in the morning he heads out from the
local authority depot. His mission demands a great deal of skill and
experience, allied to a machine capable of working with the precision
of a Swiss watch. Their shared job is to clear roads of snow and ice.
Their working environment is around the narrow streets of the exclusive
Swiss winter sports resort located 1,850 metres above sea level
– St. Moritz. Because many of the town’s visitors are unable to find
garage parking overnight, there are many cars lining the roads as the
early morning worker begins his shift. Avoiding damage to parked
cars while still managing to clear the roads effectively demands
extreme precision and a calm, assured approach. Corado Pool is a
master in both respects. And his verdict on his high-tech helper is
thoroughly positive: “Well designed, with clear visibility, safe to
handle, and it does exactly what you tell it!” We accompany him on
his day’s work, and learn that snow-clearing demands a great deal of
precision motor skills – from the man and the machine.
Up and down hill with a hydraulically controlled ice-scraper
Fabio Valmadre, manager of the St. Moritz public works vehicle fleet,
summarises the qualities of the versatile implement carrier U 20:
“Robust in construction, manoeuvrable, and multi-functional. It’s an
unbeatable design concept!” Reto Dosch from Ring Garage Chur,
which handles the servicing of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the
St. Moritz fleet, adds: “As a compact working machine, the U 20 is a
genuine Unimog!” We take our seat next to Corado Pool in the cab
The U 20 offers not only manoeuvrability and performance, but also a high degree of
flexibility. In the Summer, the snow-clearing unit is easily turned into a mower thanks
to the quick-change mountings.
mounted ahead of the front axle and take in the unrestricted view
of the road it provides. “It’s a so-called front control cab,” Corado
explains, which is why the vehicle is so compact. The U 20’s wheelbase
of just 2.70 metres means it is highly manoeuvrable, with a
turning circle of just 12.6 metres. That’s almost as tight as a fourwheel
drive car. And it is why the U 20 is able to negotiate extremely
tight bends on steep hills without having to back up. The villas of
St. Moritz cling to these slopes, and the streets become as narrow as
a donkey’s back.
Corado steers the U 20 skillfully along, passing within millimetres
of cars and stone walls. The blade of the 850 kilogram plough cuts firmly
through the snow and, when the Unimog encounters a layer of ice,
Corado swiftly lowers the rear-mounted Söder ice-scraper, controlled by
the second of the vehicle’s two hydraulic circuits. It’s a good idea for
the local residents to keep their windows closed when this is happening,
because scraping ice from a tarmaced road is a noisy business!
Clearing in even the tightest gaps
As the U 20 is just 2.70 metres high, it can pass under any bridge.
And it is also able to negotiate the trees overhanging the villa gardens
without damaging them. The vehicle’s narrow construction – just
2.15 metres wide – is a particularly impressive feature. It helps Corado
to get into even small gaps between parked cars to clear way the
snow. To do so, he folds in the left-side wing mirror, uses the joystick
to guide the snow-plough, threading it precisely into the gap and back
out again. We wait with baited breath, relaxing only when the
Unimog is once again following the course of the road.
“An area like St. Moritz needs manoeuvrable machinery,” explains
Fabio Valmadre. “They must not be noisy, and must not pollute the
healthy mountain air.” And indeed, the 4.3 litre 150 horsepower
UNIMOG 1 • 2010 • WINTER SERVICE 17
Driver Corado Pool appreciates the benefits of the U 20 when clearing snow from the
streets of St. Moritz.
four-cylinder direct-injection in-line turbodiesel engine in the U 20 is
economical and very quiet. Its 16 forward and 14 reverse gears shift
smoothly, thanks to their pneumatic assistance. All Corado has to do
is tap the shift lever. The Telligent ® intelligent transmission system
only changes gear when he engages the clutch however. As a further
benefit, AdBlue technology helps minimise nitrogen oxide and diesel
particulate emissions. Consequently, the U 20 meets the stringent
requirements of the Euro 5 emissions standard, allowing it to operate
in designated town centre eco-zones.
Another key argument in favour of the Unimog U 20 is its versatility
based on standardised interfaces. Mountings at the front and rear
allow for quick-changing of various equipment combinations. The
mounted equipment is operated by a user-friendly joystick control.
There is even a built-in snow-plough load relief system. Variations in
engine speed, such as under varying load applied to a snow cutter
mounted on the PTO shaft, are kept very low. The cutter is used wherever
Corado is unable to simply sweep deep snow drifts aside. To do
this, he lifts the plough out of the front mounting plate and replaces
it with the cutter, assisted by the hydraulics. The change-over is
That evening, we ask Corado when he is intending putting the
Unimog U 20 away for the Summer. After all, even St. Moritz rids
itself of Winter at some point. He merely laughs, and points to an
array of mowers and hay-loaders. “In the Summer we trim the greenery
along the roadsides. The U 20 is narrow enough to operate on
walking paths too. It enables us to keep them open.”
With the Unimog U 20, St. Moritz has at its disposal a compact allpurpose
machine which ideally complements its larger U 400 and
U 1000 sister models in the fleet. And Reto Dosch knows very well:
“Once you’ve used a Unimog, you never want to be without it!” r
18 ENERGY • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
The portfolio of
company Sewerin Schiltz
laying of gas, distant
heating and water pipes.
Top performance in the pipeline
Up high and down deep – Luxembourg’s market-leading gas, distant heat and water pipe
laying contractor Sewerin Schiltz Rohrleitungsbau places its faith in the Unimog.
IT ALL BEGAN with a visit to the Unimog
Museum in Gaggenau. It was in early 2009,
when undergoing a driver training course on
the museum’s outdoor circuit, that CEO and
museum member Klaus Pichota discovered
his love for the U 20. So it’s no wonder that it
didn’t take long – in October of the same year
in fact – for him to add to his Luxembourgbased
company’s fleet by acquiring a Unimog
U 20 fitted with a Palfinger crane.
Even before that decision, the 40 staff of
Sewerin Schiltz – from welders to certified
pipeline layers – had for some time been
operating a number of Unimog units, including
a Unimog 437/2450 with a Hiab crane
and Werner front-mounted winch and a
Uni mog 435/1300 with fire-fighting attachments,
a built-in 2000-litre tank and welding
machine, complete with accessories. “The
new Unimog is the ideal addition to our exist-
ing fleet, comprising four Unimogs, two
trucks, eight welding carts and seven assembly
carts, nine cars and six trailers,” Klaus
Pichota explains. The manoeuvrability and
compact design of the Unimog U 20 make it
ideal for the often tight and difficult to access
locations in which Sewerin Schiltz works –
especially around the narrow, winding
streets in the old city of Luxembourg.
Thanks to its all-wheel drive and selective
differential locks, the U 20 can negotiate
even rough, unsurfaced construction sites.
Moreover, it can be driven quickly and efficiently
from one location to the next even on
the motorway. With its 18-tonne trailer load
capacity, it can also tow pipe-carrying trailers
with ease. “Its manoeuvrability, narrowness
and short wheelbase enable it to carry
out lifting work in tight spaces – something
that was previously not possible, or only
with great technical complexity,” says Klaus
Pichota, underlining the performance boost
delivered by the U 20.
Edwin “Edi” Schüller, recruited by
Sewerin Schiltz specially to drive the U 20,
enthusi astically praises the good all-round
visibility in the cockpit and the semi-automated
Telligent ® gearshift. The other staff too
– and the company’s customers – are
surprised by the versatility of the vehicle.
Customer service a plus-point
The Palfinger PK 12001 crane has a boom
range of 10 metres and a capacity of 12 metric
tonnes fully laden. Working overhead – that
is, over the cab – the crane is capable of lifting
a tonne. “That is important for us, because
the crane boom is subject to heavy weight
loading when laying pipes in excavation
pits,” Pichota explains. The crane – equipped
UNIMOG 1 • 2010 • ENERGY 19
The Palfinger crane’s 10 metre boom range and 12 metric tonne capacity delivers the necessary performance (left). The U 20 permits working even in narrow city centre streets.
with radio remote control – was mounted by
Mercedes-Benz partner Werner based in
nearby Trier. “We were impressed by the
competitive price and the versatile mountings
of the U 20,” reports Pichota.
Sewerin Schiltz is also very happy with
the backup provided by the Mercedes-Benz
agent in Luxembourg, particularly the
Get more information here:
Winterdiensttechnik · Germany
Daimlerstraße 18 · 92533 Wernberg-Köblitz
Uni mog service team headed by Joachim
An sorge. It operates a two-shift system
which means service work can be carried
out overnight, so as to avoid vehicle
downtimes during daytime working hours.
“The vehicle is outstandingly practical,
especially due to its manoeuvrability and
short length” is CEO Klaus Pichota’s verdict
Your partner for winter road
Telefon: +49 (9604) 93267-0
Fax: +49 (9604) 93267-49
after a year and a half operating the Unimog
U 20. The system advantages, combined with
the attractive price, make it the ideal
addition to any fleet operating in urban
So it is no wonder that Pichota’s agenda
for 2011 includes the acquisition of another
U 20 with a built-on crane … r
20 INTERNATIONAL • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
Test passed – bravissimo!
Enel staff spent a month testing a Unimog U 20 under extremely tough conditions – and they were delighted with the results.
The Italian power company has now ordered 50 of the all-purpose units.
STAFF FROM Enel, Italy’s largest power company,
spent a month subjecting a Unimog U 20
to some thorough testing. The prototype had to
withstand some tough challenges on a daily
basis, over rough terrain, on unsurfaced roads,
up and down hill, on motorways, around narrow
urban streets and through thick forest.
Enel was looking to make absolute sure that
by choosing the U 20 it was acquiring a robust,
efficient and above all safe all-rounder. After
four weeks of continuous and tough trials, the
Enel, Italy’s largest power company, needs reliable
service vehicles. Its staff tested the U 20 for
four weeks under extremely tough conditions.
result was clear: the Unimog U 20 had passed
with flying colours.
“Happily, the testers were very pleased with
the U 20,” reports Guido Corradi, head of the
Special-Purpose Vehicles and Engineering
departments of Mercedes-Benz Italy and the
man responsible for the Enel project. After the
successful test phase, the power company has
now ordered 50 of the vehicles. They are all
fitted with Oil&Steel lift platforms – a vital
component for the vehicles’ future work on
The lift platform from Oil&Steel
has a 15 metre lift range
– ideal for working on
high-voltage power lines.
high-voltage power lines. The all-rounder
units will lift the Enel staff safely to their highlevel
workplaces, enabling them to carry out
repairs or clear tree branches from them as
Certified Alpine quality
Staff from Mercedes-Benz, Enel and Oil&Steel
worked on the prototype for a year. Every detail
on the vehicles was tailored specifically to the
difficult operating conditions it would have to
face. “Enel placed enormously high demands on
the U 20. The top priority was the safety of its
own staff,” explains Corradi. The overall package
proved just right: a vehicle of outstanding
quality, with a high-performance engine, custom
modification, air-conditioning, and space
for three people in the cab. Enel was particularly
keen for the vehicles to be all-wheel drive.
“After all, they are scheduled to operate in
mountainous terrain such as the Alps and the
Abruzzi region. So they have to be able to han-
UNIMOG 1 • 2010 • INTERNATIONAL 21
“We worked on the solution for about a year –
and the results are impressive.”
Guido Corradi, head of the Special-Purpose Vehicles and Engineering departments of Mercedes-Benz Italy
Battling against forest fires and snow
Guido Corradi, manager of the Enel project, about working together with Enel,
and why the U 20 is so successful in Italy.
Unimog Magazine: Mr. Corradi, in Enel you have
won Italy’s largest power company as a customer.
How did you do it?
Guido Corradi: We have had close contacts with
the company for a number of years. When Enel put
the contract out to tender in 2007 it was clear that
we would bid for it. And we are of course delighted
to have been awarded it.
Unimog Magazine: How long has Mercedes-Benz
been operating its own sales organisation in Italy?
Guido Corradi: Since as far back as 1973. We now
have some 650 local staff. I myself have been with
the company 30 years.
Unimog Magazine: What functions within your
company were involved in building the test vehicle
Guido Corradi: The Mercedes-Benz Sales and Development departments
were heavily involved. After all, we were looking to provide
dle severe slopes and tough weather conditions
with ease.” In view of those demands, the
off-road capabilities of the U 20 were subjected
to particularly close analysis by the Enel
testers. In addition to the general performance
of the U 20, they also tested its manoeuvrability
as well as the operation of the lift platform
in the wide variety of off-road scenarios it
would encounter in practice. Thanks to the
telescoping of its support struts, the U 20 can
be raised by a maximum of 50 centimetres,
Guido Corradi, Enel project manager,
has been with Mercedes-Benz for
enabling it to keep level at all times when on
uneven ground or across slopes. The 15 metre
maximum height makes working on high-voltage
power lines safe and convenient. The first
10 units of the U 20 order are scheduled for
delivery to Enel as early as October 2010. More
than half of the ordered total will be operational
by the end of the year, and the last batch
will be delivered in February 2011. Following
its month of testing, Enel is convinced that the
U 20 is a thoroughly safe choice. r
Enel with a vehicle tailored perfectly to its needs.
We also of course maintained close links with Enel
itself, and with Oil&Steel, which supplied the lift
platform for the vehicle. We worked together on
the solution for about a year – and the results are
certainly impressive. The main reason is that the
collaboration both within Mercedes-Benz and with
the customer was extremely well managed.
Unimog Magazine: Enel Italy is not the first
Italian company to opt for the Unimog …
Guido Corradi: No, certainly not. We sell an
average of 80 Unimogs a year in Italy. They are
deployed mainly in Winter service and in fighting
forest fires. The Unimog U 20 is very popular in
Italy, because it is powerful and safe.
The vehicle’s tight turning circle also enables it
to work in areas few others can access – in the narrow streets of
towns, cities and villages, as well as on unsurfaced tracks in forests,
or in the mountains. r
22 IN PROFILE • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
the right basis
AS Baugeräte, a qualified Daimler AG partner company, builds
attachment units for the Unimog. The U 20, too, is fitted with
working equipment for use by construction contractors and
public works depots.
HE IS A SKILLED WORKMAN. An acknowledged expert in his field.
Over the years, Alfred Söder has become widely known and respected
as a source of know-how and wisdom in relation to construction and
public works engineering. Söder’s company is based in Wildflecken near
Fulda. He explains: “We make everything from power lifts to big verge
The powerful compact
In detail, the production range of his company, AS Baugeräte, comprises
road maintenance and repair machinery as well as equipment used
for all-year-round public works. Of course, every construction contractor
and depot has its own ideas. AS Baugeräte turns them all into well engineered
solutions. They adapt their ongoing developments to the Unimog
range. The implement carriers are finished off at the factory (a former
army barracks site), from where they are delivered to construction
contractors and machinery depots complete with the custom-mounted
ancillary equipment required.
The most compact unit in the Unimog family is filling the order books
particularly well. A grand total of 60 U 20 units have been fitted out by
AS Baugeräte in the last two years. The latest variant carries a lowered
dumper platform (type KP 20 T) with a lift-load platform (type HLB). The
high, shelf-topped front bulkhead protects the multi-function box
located behind the cab. Front or rear mounted power lifts can be
mounted as additional extras. The standard configuration is rounded off
by a ball-head trailer hitch.
“The Unimog is an outstanding carrier vehicle,” Alfred Söder enthuses.
He is familiar with the arguments in its favour: its all-round visibility;
integrated hydraulics; its range of mounting options; and its handling.
“It is always the best choice for our market segment. Other vehicles just
can’t match it,” Söder concludes with a dismissive gesture.
The links with Unimog were established “quite simply”, as the company
founder recalls. In 1991 he was employed by a company to develop
a between-the-axles grader – a machine to scrape off the grass from
roadsides. It is used to ensure precipitation can drain away properly.
The design enabled him to start his own business. At a meeting of the
And the company has plenty on its hands: 60 U 20 units with custom equipment
mountings have been shipped out of the Wildflecken factors in the last two years alone.
Managing director Alfred Söder shows the multi-function box providing stowage space
behind the cab. It is protected by the shelf-topped front bulkhead.
construction machinery engineers’ and foremen’s association VDBUM
in Gaggenau, Alfred Söder showed pictures of his first ever design to
the then Unimog product manager Johann Lautenschlager. Unimog was
very interested. And so it was that a Unimog with a between-the-axles
grader mounted on it was shown at the 1992 “bauma” construction
machinery fair. A plate compactor was subsequently exhibited at the
“I was fortunate to get a demonstrator model from Unimog,” Alfred
Söder recalls. When starting a new business, it creates a more professional
impression if you can always demonstrate your products mounted
on a new vehicle. And that is still true today. In front of the factory
shed stands a U 400. The 60-year-old Söder has nothing but the best
to say about his long-standing collaboration with Unimog. He quickly
got to know the Unimog sales staff, who readily took him on-board
and opened up the export market to him. Unimogs carrying implements
earing the AS Baugeräte logo are currently in operation in 37 countries.
The company exports to virtually every country in Central Europe, as
well as to Russia, Korea and Madagascar. Cutters are making a valuable
contribution to rebuilding in Iraq, while gravel ploughs made in Wild -
flecken are being employed by railway companies in the UK.
The family business based in the Franconia region of Germany today
employs a staff of 20: technical draughtsmen, painters, welders, agri -
cultural and construction machinery engineers, all contributing to the
high-quality equipment mounted on Unimogs. And that remains true
even in difficult times. “We have not felt the impact of the economic
crisis at all actually,” reports Barbara Söder, Alfred’s daughter. “The
reason is primarily because the benefits of the economic stimulus
programmes are now being felt in the construction industry,” she adds.
A staff of 20 currently works on outfitting
Unimog vehicles at AS Baugeräte, producing
intelligent solutions for construction and
public works applications.
Barbara handles all the company’s office administration together with
her mother Christine.
Clear answers that you can build on
Both daughter and father believe the greatest technical innovation
achieved by the business so far is the large verge finisher used to
construct the unsurfaced roadside verge. It is a custom solution for the
Unimog U 500.
What the customer specifies is turned into reality at the factory. Four
to five vehicles at a time can be outfitted in parallel. When asked to
predict what the market will be looking for in future, Alfred Söder
considers carefully: “Probably more flat-bed body constructions. But in
fact, everybody asks for something different.” From AS Baugeräte, based
in the town of Wildflecken in Franconia, you are certain to get clear
answers you know you can build on. r
24 IN-HOUSE • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
500 “marriages” a day
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth is the largest truck assembly plant in the world. Its Special Trucks division
produces the three Unimog models alongside the Econic and the Zetros.
FOR HUMANS, a marriage usually signals the start of a new phase of
life. For a Unimog, however, the combination of the cab and chassis
– symbolically also referred to as “marrying” – represents the final
Anyone visiting the special truck production facility in Wörth has
to revise quite a few prejudices in fact. Instead of thumping hammers,
flashing welding torches and the nasty odour of paint vapour, all
is busy but quiet and calm. Powerful hydraulic machine help with
physically difficult work. Assembly of the total of five vehicle models
– the Econic, the Zetros, the U 20, the U 300/U 400/U 500 and the
U 4000/U 5000 – brings variety into everyday production operations.
With their colleagues in the truck plant, a staff of 11,000 produces as
many as 500 vehicles a day. In addition to complete vehicles, large
numbers of CKD (completely knocked down) kits are made from
which Uni mog, Actros, Axor and Atego units will be assembled at
plants in nine different countries across Africa and Asia. In boom
times well over 100,000 units a year are produced.
Unimog production, traditionally based in Gaggenau, underwent
a major change in 2002. On August 26th of that year, after half a
century, the assembly line of the “universal motor machine” was relocated
to Wörth. In retrospect, it can be seen that this step was the
only sensible one to take. Wörth offers ideal conditions for production
of the three Unimog models. The facility makes the public works specialist
U 20, the professional implement carrier U 300/U 400/U 500
and the heavy-duty off-roaders U 4000 and U 5000 based on group
working in so-called mixed production mode. Production starts on
with the frame and chassis being made in parallel in one shed, while
the cab is being made on a second production line. Only at the “marrying”
stage are the two components combined, and the ready-to-run
Unimog is carried on one line towards its completion.
The Unimog shares many components – including engines, gearboxes,
electrics and electronics, as well as key controls – with its truck
brothers. So it makes perfect sense to build it on the same assembly
lines as the Zetros and the Econic. The extremely wide variety of
Uni mog models demands highly flexible production. It is unlikely that
two identical vehicles have ever been shipped from the plant to differ-
UNIMOG 1 • 2010 • IN-HOUSE 25
The quality must be right, in spite of wide-ranging diversity.
The ambitious goal is zero defects.
Quality claim of Daimler AG
Cabs for the Unimog, Econic and Zetros (left) are built on a dedicated production line at Wörth. Top quality is the benchmark at all stations along the line. Right: U 5000 and
ent customers! Following assembly of the supporting structure – a
high-rigidity ladder frame with welded tubular cross-beams – comes
the assembly of the typical Unimog portal axle with differential locks,
reduction gear, as well as transverse links, the thrust tube, helical
springs, telescope shock absorbers and stabilisers at the front and
rear. The all-steel cab, on a torsion-optimised three-point mounting,
completes the ready-to-run Unimog utility vehicle.
In parallel with the production line, busy hands add components
such as wiring harnesses, compressed air and hydraulics units. Miles
of electrical cable, dozens of connectors, lines and wires of all colours
and vast numbers of valves are turned into component assemblies
tailored to each individual vehicle which are then fitted at the appropriate
locations according to a strictly timed feed sequence. Here, too,
it never gets boring, as it is a rare occurrence for two wiring harnesses
to be the same. This makes the skills of the fitters all the more
appreciable in identifying the right configurations without error from
millions of possibilities.
Many components originate from suppliers located on-site at the
factory location. The components are delivered “just in sequence”
ready for assembly from other areas of the over 5,000 square metre
industrial estate, directly to the production line. The plant relies on
some 1,000 component suppliers: just under 800 from Germany,
almost 200 from other EU member states, and a number of all over
the rest of the world. Over 550 trucks bring deliveries to the plant
The quality of supplied components must be exactly right, in spite
of their wide-ranging diversity – that is a strict demand in Daimler’s
truck business just as it is in its car production. The ambitious goal
is zero defects. The “100 percent vehicle” can only be realised on the
basis of a highly developed and sophisticated production process.
When carrying out critical screw fittings, such as mounting the steering
bracket or attaching the steering spindle to the frame, fitters must
adhere precisely to the specific rotation speed and torque specifications
of the tool and maintain the exactly correct angle of tool to fitting.
Numerous “quality gates”, at which specific assemblies and ultimately
the complete vehicle are checked, safeguard maximum production
quality. All critical mounting points are recorded on an electronic
vehicle map. This checklist is passed through the factory with the
Unimog from the frame production line to the final acceptance test
station, by when it has become the size of a thick pad. All operatives
sign off their work personally. This means that the person responsible
for fitting the engine in a specific vehicle can be identified even
years later, for example.
Mobile power station for the staff
The staff – most of whom are skilled workers possessing extensive
know-how – shoulder their responsibility with great confidence. They
identify absolutely with the zero-defect goal in the production process.
And as motivation is considered highly important in Wörth, the
production groups organise their own work routines – and holiday
planning – themselves, managing working times jointly across all
shifts. Another special feature is the “mobile power station”. This
fitness aid can be rolled to a workplace as required, where staff can
then conduct specially tailored exercises to build and maintain their
health and strength. It is a neat idea, for workers who themselves are
creating a “mobile power station” in the Unimog. r
26 UNISCOPE • UNIMOG 1 • 2010
Stand still? Not at all!
The Unimog-Museum in Gaggenau is hosting a special exhibition illustrating
the role played by “The Unimog with the Military” since 1949.
A TRIP into the Unimog’s military past is
offered by a special exhibition being hosted
by the Unimog Museum in Gaggenau
throughout October 3rd, 2010. This for the
first time places the spotlight on engineer
corps vehicles with built-on equipment
normally seen in operation on construction
sites: a Unimog 406 (Bundeswehr variant), a
SEE tractor fitted with extensive tooling, and
a latest-model U 400 intended for export.
Changing exhibits make the presentation
even more attractive.
Visitors can discover – based on historic
film clips, documents, artefacts, drawings,
brochures and models – how the Unimog
grew out of its initial development as an agricultural
or forestry industry tractor rig after
the Second World War, and how its progress
can also be traced to both the Swiss Army
and Germany’s Bundeswehr. There is a dedi-
cated children’s tour to entertain the young
ones. And an artistic approach to the depiction
of history is conveyed by the threedimen
sional images of the Unimog working
on military assignments created by Belgian
Unimog on the victory podium
The Unimog came out on top of the special-purpose vehicle category in a reader poll organised by
OFF ROAD magazine. It was in fact the sixth time in a row that the Unimog had won the award.
IT’S DONE IT AGAIN: The Unimog has taken
first prize in the “Special-purpose vehicles”
category of the OFF ROAD reader poll 2010,
gathering 37.9 percent of the votes cast.
This continued the Unimog’s triumphal
series of victories in the contest, marking
artist Toon Versniock. As an added attraction,
from July there will be a special 1:87 scale
model WIKING available in the museum
shop. As you see, there are lots of reasons for
taking a trip to Gaggenau … r
Guaranteed mobility even under extreme conditions – a powerful argument for military use of the Unimog.
For the readers of OFF ROAD magazine the Unimog
is the all-terrain vehicle of the year 2010.
its sixth consecutive OFF ROAD AWARD.
The award is especially valuable as it is
based on a poll among readers of OFF ROAD
The Unimog stood out in the off-road
category covering vehicles used for transportation
to remote areas or serving as base
units for special body constructions, scoring
primarily thanks to its outstanding allterrain
capabilities, allied to supreme
Anyone with a passion for the Unimog should not
miss out on the Unimog-Club Gaggenau e. V. (UCG).
THE FIGURES SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES:
6,000 members in 30 countries; 27 regional
groups around Germany; almost 200 events
held every year. The self-proclaimed largest
motor vehicle club in Germany is enthusiastically
devoted to the phenomenon that is the
Unimog. That is the bond that links all the
members of the UCG, who do not necessarily
have to own one themselves in order to become
part of the community.
The club was founded on May 15th, 1993 in
Kuppenheim near Gaggenau, though it quickly
became clear that enthusiasm for the Unimog
know no regional boundaries or national
borders. The club’s meetings are also widely
Tell us what you think!
HOW DO YOU LIKE the latest issue of
Unimog Magazine 1/2010? Do you maybe
own a Unimog which you are looking
to test under extreme
conditions so that we
can report on it? Do
you have photos of
Unimogs? Or do you
have any suggestions
varied, featuring live demonstrations; model
collectors’ meets; film evenings; factory tours;
driver training sessions; model differentiation
tutorials; trials; restoration courses; a parts
market; and DIY builders’ get-togethers, to
name just a few aspects.
If you are interested in the UCG, the best
way to find out more is to visit its website at
www.unimog-club-gaggenau.de. The site
provides all the latest news and lots of useful
information, hints and tips relating to the
Unimog, as well as the online version of the
quarterly club magazine “Unimog Heft’l”. It
also features a diary section linking directly to
the schedule of upcoming events. r
The editorial staff of Unimog Magazine
look forward to reading your letters – either
by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by conventional post to the following
Springer Fachmedien München GmbH
Verlag Heinrich Vogel /Corporate Publishing
Unimog Magazin /“Leserbriefe”
Aschauer Straße 30
81549 Munich, Germany
UNIMOG 1 • 2010 • UNISCOPE 27
Regulars’ night out: Rund um den Unimog
July 5, 2010
Dreieich (Tel.: +49 (0) 6103 51466)
11th INTERFORST 2010
July 14 to 18, 2010
Regulars’ night out: Müller-Mitteltal-
July 15, 2010
Gaggenau (Tel.: +49 (0) 7841 7178)
Stromberg tour by Unimog
July 17, 2010
Hotel Lindner (Tel.: +49 (0) 7263 911375)
25th International ADAC Truck Grand-Prix
July 23 to 25, 2010
Unimog tour (Alsace, Strasbourg)
July 24, 2010
Start in Kehl/Rhine (Tel.: +49 (0) 7841 7178)
August 25 to 28, 2010
August 26 to 29, 2010
August 28 to September 5, 2010
IFAT ENTSORGA 2010
September 13 to 17, 2010
September 15 to 18, 2010
September 21 to 24, 2010
63rd IAA Commercial Vehicles Show
September 23 to 30, 2010
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