Unimog U 20 Special - Mercedes Benz


Unimog U 20 Special - Mercedes Benz

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


Dear friends

of Unimog,

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

the crisis.

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.

Yaris Pürsün

Mercedes-Benz Wörth Plant Manager and Director of

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks Division


08 A little power pack with

life-saving qualities_Compact,

manoeuvrable and powerful: the

Unimog U 20 is popular among

fire services all over Europe.

Cover story

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.

Municipal works

12 Local hero_The U 20 offers many benefits specifically for public works

applications. Six practical examples.

Winter service

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.

In profile

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.

Diary_Upcoming events.

Publisher’s data

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,

Matthias Pioro

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






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.


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

ancillary equipment.

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

Sales Conference.


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

Typical Unimog:

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

turbodiesel engines

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.

High-level fine-tuning

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



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


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

our reputation.


A little power-pack with

life-saving qualities

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

to reach.”

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



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




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

off-road mode.

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

authorities. r


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.

Taking aim:

the off-road Zetros

in action.

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

ground clearance.

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

licensing regulations

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

Mercedes-Benz body-building

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

The advantage

of the Econic:

its low-floor


The U 5000:

an absolute


in fighting

forest fires.

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





•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

pump (CTT)


•Ziegler Tank tender TLF 30/90-5

•9,000 litres of water, 500 litres of foam,

centrifugal pump for fire-fighting Ziegler

FPN 10-3000-2H

•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


Local hero

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

Hera Maintenance


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


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



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,

which drivers

particularly appreciate.

“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

works specialist

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



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

output.” r

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

info@aebi-schmidt.com, www.aebi-schmidt.com


Ice-cold efficiency

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


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

Rohrleitungsbau includes

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


- powerful

- reliable

- capable

Get more information here:


Gmeiner GmbH

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

maintenance services

Telefon: +49 (9604) 93267-0

Fax: +49 (9604) 93267-49

E-Mail: info@gmeiner-online.de

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


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-


“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

for Enel?

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

30 years.

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

Building on

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 beginnings

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

1995 bauma.

“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.

Healthy growth

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

production phase.

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.

Tailored manufacture

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

Econic frames.

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

every day.

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

robustness. r

Enthusiasts’ club

Anyone with a passion for the Unimog should not

miss out on the Unimog-Club Gaggenau e. V. (UCG).


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

for us?

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 unimog-magazin@springer.com

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)

Lastbil 2010

August 25 to 28, 2010

Jönköping (S)


August 26 to 29, 2010

Klagenfurt (A)


August 28 to September 5, 2010



September 13 to 17, 2010


GaLaBau 2010

September 15 to 18, 2010



September 21 to 24, 2010


63rd IAA Commercial Vehicles Show

September 23 to 30, 2010



VSL Stability control system

VSL - intelligent stability control up to the limit

HIAB is the fi rst OEM in the world offering the unique VSL stability control

system as an overall load handling safety system!

Hiab on Unimog

The perfect loader crane - Unimog combination from a bodybuilder


Tailormade for every application: lever control, radio control,

platform control, large extension!

Available in front, mid-vehicle and rear-vehicle installation.

Integrated in a demountable body is an option also.

The combined engineering and testing resources ensure the best

quality and tailormade vehicle - loadercrane interface.

A wide spread and competent dealer network with hydraulic

specialists is available to service and maintain the HIAB - Unimog



VSL - Variable Stability Limit

The interface between crane and stabilizers offers a constantly

high load capacity.

Increased health & safety, comfort and load capacity.

Precise capacity control even with 1/2 extended stabilizer arms!

Increased stability by biasing the loadcapacity to the truck

payload parameters.

The permanent stability control reduces the risks of an accident

to a minimum.

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines