A very narrow alleyway, on the right a garage and a high hedge, on the left a garden fence and a house wall. A few metres further on there is an almost right-angled bend lined with parked cars. Driver Jürgen Neff of Zellinger GmbH and his Antos 2536 L waste collection vehicle have to negotiate this every day, also in reverse gear.

Mercedes-Benz Antos 2536 L als Müllsammelfahrzeug im Einsatz bei der österreichen Zellinger GmbH.

With his eyes alternately on all the mirrors, the reversing camera monitor and the hand directions of his colleague Josef Hofstätter, Jürgen Neff skilfully manoeuvres his nine-metre-long three-axle truck along almost the last nook and cranny in Ottensheim. He drives his orange-and-silver 26-tonner as close as possible, so that his colleague does not have to pull the sometimes heavy waste bins and containers so far. “I find the manoeuvrability of the Antos absolutely marvellous thanks to the steered trailing axle. The previous model from another brand was not so flexible, although it was a more compact two-axle truck“, says the 42 year-old as he spins the wheel.

Although progress is slow, all the driver’s concentration is required. Cars, pedestrians, cyclists and of course the next full waste bin – nothing must be overlooked by Jürgen Neff. Start/stop is not only inscribed on the button for the automatic ignition system of the Antos, for go-and-stop also seems to be the only driving mode possible throughout the small town. This is where the automated twelve-speed G 211 Mercedes-PowerShift transmission comes into its own for the driver: „I think the automated gear shifting is really well-honed and practical. If I had to operate a clutch all the time in this job, I would have severe knee pain at the end of each day. By the way, I also keep the crawler gear mode ‘on’ all the time“.

The waste bins suspended in the tipping mechanism at the rear of the truck make their upward journey and the compacting screw begins to revolve in the waste collection body. Therefore the power take-off is engaged and the 265 kW (360 hp) OM 470 Euro VI engine of the Antos gives a throaty roar. But Jürgen Neff is happy: „On the move, and when the PTO is not in action, the engine has a very pleasant sound“.

Spaciousness and technical features tailored to the driver
A pleasant working environment is the order of the day for the Antos. Not just because the smaller brother of the Actros is specially designed for heavy distribution and short-range operations with a wide range of body variants, but also because it places the focus on the driver. Jürgen Neff agrees: „We may hardly cover 100 km in a day depending on the run, but I still spend nine to ten hours in the cab. So the truck must be right“.

The air-sprung luxury seat for the driver is just one of its positive attributes. The workplace provides adequate freedom of movement while having clearly arranged instruments and controls. Everything is within easy reach, and there is an easily accessible space for the body control console on the right, next to the seat. „There is an extensive adjustment range for the seat and steering“, explains Neff approvingly.

He also thinks that the spaciousness of the medium-long ClassicSpace M-cab is perfect. As the Antos was crewed by three men until recently, it has a third seat and was also required to accommodate the day-to-day items of the three-man crew. „Anybody who thinks that we only carry a sandwich box and thermos flask in short-range operations is definitely wrong. Especially during the less comfortable seasons of the year, my colleagues who spend all day outside dragging the waste bins to the vehicle need a change of clothing. Thick jackets, trousers and damp or wet clothing. It all has to go somewhere. That’s why I find the stowage space and clothes hooks behind the seats so useful“. The standard stowage compartment on the left, which is accessible from outside and inside, provides further stowage space in the Antos.

Apart from stowage space for warm clothing and warm drinks, the Antos has another technical feature that ensures additional comfort in the autumn and winter: „The residual heat utilisation system, which uses the heat from the engine, keeps the cab wonderfully warm for me during breaks, and the windows don’t mist up“. But it is not only the residual engine heat utilisation system that pleases the driver during the colder months of the year: „The Antos is a good climber – also in winter, when I often have to fit snow-chains. Because some runs take us to altitudes of over 1000 m, into the surrounding hills. It has never let me down once“, Neff states further.

Antos impresses as a well-conceived overall package
With a width of 2.30 m and a lower entry, the cab is precisely configured for distribution work, while the good aerodynamics save fuel. With four ultra-modern in-line six-cylinder engines in 16 output classes from 175 kW (238 hp) to 460 kW (625 hp), the available engine range for the Antos is very wide. The driver’s work is made considerably easier by the fully automated Mercedes PowerShift 3 manual transmission with eight or twelve gears, and as special equipment with 16 finely graduated gears, and by numerous available assistance systems. In addition to the standard Stability Control Assist, customers can configure their Antos to suit their personal preferences with Proximity Control Assist including stop-and-go function, Lane Keeping Assist, Attention Assist and Active Brake Assist 3. As a specialist for heavy distribution operations and complete all-rounder, it stands for high class, efficiency and good handling.

Jürgen Neff considers his Antos to have a reassuring overall concept: „For me it’s a very well conceived vehicle. I’m glad that I have it“. When the last collection point on the first run has been cleared, the next trip is to nearby Herzogsdorf and the Zellinger company. In addition to over 40 years of operation in municipal and commercial waste disposal, the family-run company also operates a modern waste recycling centre. The adjacent eco-park includes a biogas generating plant, numerous recycling facilities and an environmentally friendly vehicle wash for trucks. In a large warehouse the domestic waste is compacted into larger bundles so that the specialist vehicles do not make unnecessary empty trips. The environmental aspect plays an important role in all activities of the Zellinger company, as general managers Peter Zellinger and Jürgen Humer are quick to emphasise. Another reason why the Antos, with its economical Euro VI engine range, was the vehicle of choice. „Naturally fuel consumption is higher in our segment than in long-distance transport. But as we are able to use a vehicle for many years thanks to the low operating mileage, meeting the highest emission standard for the longest possible time is still essential“, says Jürgen Humer, who is also responsible for new additions to the fleet. The Zellinger fleet with 78 vehicles, 45 of which are from Mercedes-Benz, has now been strengthened with a second new Antos, soon to be followed by an Actros with Hydraulic Auxiliary Drive (HAD) – the first in Austria.

Source: Daimler AG