Unimog, Zetros, Econic: high-performance star-studded specialists for construction

Jan 21, 2016
  • Unimog: the indefatigable all-rounder on the construction site
  • Zetros: the robust cab-over-engine truck for challenging applications on and alongside the road
  • Econic: new career in urban construction transport
Special Trucks – these are star-studded special trucks for equally special applications. All-rounders which can transform themselves into high-performance specialists with individual equipment, bodies and implements. Take the Unimog, for example, the living legend as an extremely versatile utility vehicle and overcomer of everything in off-road terrain – indispens-able for construction. The Zetros as an extraordinarily robust cab-over-engine truck with all-wheel drive, a reliable colleague for the toughest applications on and at the side of the road. And the Econic, which is now embarking on a further career in urban construction transport thanks to its visibility as a major safety factor.
Unimog: the indefatigable all-rounder on the construction site
It is one of the tireless construction workers: in all its guises the Mercedes-Benz Unimog is virtually indispensable on the construction site. The basis for this is its unsurpassed versatility: with permanent all-wheel drive and with generous ground clearance on its portal axles it reaches places where others were forced to give up long ago. With its working and power hydrau-lics plus with power take-off shafts it drives a multitude of implements as required. Whether it is used in road or path construction, hydraulic engine-ering, canal construction, for drilling work in carpentry firms or in the energy industry – with a plate compactor, skip loader, asphalt-laying implement, with a bitumen syringe, auger and cleaning tool, loader and excavator attachment, embankment maintenance equipment and front loader, with a hook-lift system and roll-off tipper, with sweeper implements, crane and as a tractor vehicle, tank vehicle or pump it well and truly lives up to its name – Universal-Motor-Gerät ("universally applicable motorised implement").
Unimog U 216/U 218: compact and highly manoeuvrable implement carriers
The Unimog family is divided into three branches. With particularly compact dimensions the Unimog U 216/U 218 takes on the role of the entry-level models. In technical and visual terms they only differ slightly from the larger implement carriers from the U 318 upwards. However, at 2800 mm, their wheelbase is some 200 mm smaller, and they are also around 50 mm narrower. This means that they achieve a turning circle of 12.6 m, a passenger-car value.
These models also display the fundamental benefits of the entire model series: the high environmental compatibility of the Euro VI engines, the attractive up-to-the-minute open-view cab or the unique transferable steering system for the Unimog implement carriers known as the VarioPilot system – the steering wheel and pedals can be moved from the driver's seat to the co-driver's seat during use. The range of GVWs of the U 216/U 218 spans 7.5 t to 10.0 t, and the four-cylinder engines have an output of up to 130 kW (177 hp).
Unimog U 318 to U 530: extremely capable implement carriers
The Unimog series U 318 to U 530 implement carriers are characterised by their tremendous efficiency. They are extremely powerful, easily manoeuv-rable and there is virtually no end to their possible areas of use. If required, the VarioPower power hydraulics with two circuits are able to perform sev-eral working operations at once, or work together to carry out particularly demanding tasks. If they are not needed for the current application, they can simply be dismantled, which increases the payload. The synergistic traction drive EasyDrive facilitates an immediate change between the drive system via hydrostatic drive and manual transmission whilst driving – an advantage if a stretch of driving interrupts the activity between work processes.
The Unimog is made even more manoeuvrable by the new optional all-wheel steering for the models U 423 to U 530. It facilitates normal steering via the front wheels, all-wheel steering of all wheels with an identical angle, the lateral axle displacement for diagonal driving plus separate steering of the rear wheels. Also new is the load-sensing hydraulic system, which con-sumes only as much energy as is needed at any particular moment when driving the implements.
The Unimog's energy comes from the economical yet high-torque diesel engines. With up to 220 kW (299 hp) and a GVW of up to 16.5 t the implement carrier is as powerful and strong as never before.
The Unimog is most familiar from road maintenance and cleaning work. But it also has other talents: for example, the Unimog is in its element in the new Daimler test and trial centre in Immendingen. This is where a U 430 continuously prepares the soiled rough road track and thus creates repro-ducible unevenness and soiling for test drives. To this end it is fitted with a 4200 l water tank, a grader with a front sprayer plus a cutter on the tail end.
Unimog U 4023/U 5023: the off-road legend
If extreme off-road capabilities and versatile working are called for at the same time, then all roads tend to lead to the Unimog U 4023/U 5023. It is the off-road legend with outstanding handling in all off-road terrain. The extraordinary torsional flexibility of the frame, a huge degree of articulation, portal axles with coil springs, single tyres, the low centre of gravity and outstanding values for angle of approach/departure, slope climbing ability and fording depth are the credentials which make this Unimog the off-road benchmark.
The current model series benefits from the new mid-engine concept. A direct power take-off from the engine is thus possible and implements can work irrespective of driving. Transmission power take-off is also possible as before. The modern cab is more spacious and user-friendly than ever. The seat position behind the front axle and the support facilitate comfortable driving, especially in off-road conditions. Here the driver can easily set a preconfigured tyre pressure at the press of a button and thus adapt the traction and floor pressure optimally to the ground thanks to the Tirecontrol plus tyre pressure control system. "Road", "Sand" and "Rough road" are available for selection.
The all-terrain Unimog enjoys an excellent reputation all over the world. It can be found for instance in crane applications, in pipeline construction and with energy suppliers for cable construction and service applications – predominantly for extreme applications in inhospitable off-road terrain.
With a perm. GVW up to 14.5 t (U 5023), an engine output of 170 kW (231 hp) from a displacement of 5.1 l and up to 16 forward and 14 reverse gears the Unimog satisfies all demands.
Unimog: partnership with bodybuilders and implement manufacturers intensified
Where the Unimog is concerned, Mercedes-Benz traditionally cooperates very closely with bodybuilders and implement manufacturers. With the "It's better together" scheme Mercedes-Benz has taken this working relationship to a new higher level and has launched two new partner levels, "UnimogPartner by Mercedes-Benz" and "Mercedes-Benz Unimog ExpertPartner". They serve as a yardstick and seal of approval for customers.
Throughout the world 270 bodybuilders and implement manufacturers are listed for the Unimog in the bodybuilder portal. At the first stage they can be classified as a "UnimogPartner by Mercedes-Benz". The basis for assessment is a range of requirements which covers sales, service, quality and technology. Being a "Mercedes-Benz Unimog ExpertPartner" involves cooperation even including joint trade fair displays.
Zetros: the robust cab-over-engine truck for challenging applications on and alongside the road
The Mercedes-Benz Zetros combines extreme off-road ability, indestructible engineering and the load-bearing capacity of a truck. It plays out its strengths in the most difficult applications away from surfaced roads. So you are likely to meet it in mining, on oilfields, in quarries or in other tough applications.
A hallmark of the Zetros is its design as a cab-over-engine truck. This results in low contours, easy entry and exit, a level, spacious cab plus equal weight distribution and excellent ride comfort, in particular in off-road use. Permanent all-wheel drive, robust planetary hub reduction axles with high ground clearance and single or twin tyres, up to four differential locks, a two-stage transfer case – the cab-over-engine concept of the Zetros provides the foundation for outstanding capabilities in off-road terrain. As an option a tyre pressure control system offers choices for on- and off-road use, sand and a particularly low air pressure for extreme situations.
The Zetros is available as a two- and three-axle version, in weight variants from 16 to 40 t as a rigid vehicle with single- or twin-tyred rear axles. Over and above all this the Zetros also reacts to special requests: tailor-made by the in-house Mercedes-Benz Custom Tailored Trucks (CTT) division it can also be delivered with a crewcab or as a tractor unit.
There is a choice of two engines. As a two-axle and three-axle model the Zetros is available with the six-cylinder OM 926 LA in-line engine with a displacement of 7.2 l and output of 240 kW (326 hp), and the three-axle version is now also available in conjunction with the particularly powerful OM 457 LA. It achieves 315 kW (428 hp) from a displacement of twelve litres. This variant can be recognised from its cab moved 300 mm to the rear and 120 mm higher, and the wheelbase continues to be extended by 300 mm.
For the 7.2 l six-cylinder in-line engine customers can choose from a nine-speed manual transmission and automatic transmission with a torque converter. In conjunction with the 12 l six-cylinder in-line engine a manual transmission with 16 gears is used. Where service is concerned one advantage of the cab-over-engine concept becomes particularly evident: simply tipping the bonnet forwards suffices to make the powertrain components and maintenance points freely accessible.
Econic: new career in urban construction transport
Born as a highly specialised municipal and distribution vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz Econic is now embarking on a further career as a construction vehicle. In the British metropolis of London the Econic and its safety aspects have been discovered for urban construction sites. The background to this is the desire to significantly reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians. As part of the investigatory commission CLOGS (Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety) the demand arose for commercial vehicles with maximum vision and high ergonomic and safety standards for urban construction transport.
The Econic is predestined to deal with this matter, as its driver benefits both from the conveniently low entrance and from a low seat position and the panoramic glazing of the Low-Entry cab. This includes a folding door glazed to the floor on the co-driver's side – this means an optimum view of pedestrians and cyclists.
Further advantages are the vehicle's low centre of gravity due to the low-frame design with correspondingly safe handling plus the standard equipment including a comfortable automatic transmission with torque converter. The vehicle is powered by the compact and high-torque six-cylinder in-line OM 936 engine with a displacement of 7.7 l in output categories with 220 kW (299 hp) and 260 kW (354 hp). If the focus is on particularly low exhaust gas and noise emissions especially in highly polluted city centres, the Econic NGT with a natural gas engine is ideal.
One of the Econic's further plus points is its versatility: it is available as a two-, three- and four-axle version, also including the high-traction 6x4 and 8x4 variants. There are virtually limitless body variants: whether it is as a concrete mixer, three-way tipper or skip loader, whilst the Econic is indeed a specialist for urban and suburban transport, as a truck it is a generalist there.
The exhibition vehicles at Bauma in detail
The Unimog U 527 with a long wheelbase on display is a versatile skilled worker for road construction. It is a customer vehicle with a front end sweeper for cleaning roads whose surface layers have been removed and a bitumen injector from the implement manufacturer Breining on the chassis. Its spray bar reaches over the entire cab width. Over and above this, the Unimog has a seam bonding device for sealing adjacent road surfaces. All equipment is driven via the efficient vehicle hydraulics with a load-sensing system. On board are 3000 l of bitumen emulsion, a mixture of bitumen and water plus 250 l of thermoplastic adhesive. In this application the Unimog impresses with its slim figure and width of just 2.2 m, the high payload thanks to the perm. GVW of 16.5 t, the outstanding vision it affords, moving quickly and without any problems from construction site to construction site under its own steam and its agility in use through to its fast reverse gear, and at the same time the superb handling whilst at work. Thanks to the trailer coupling the Unimog also pulls utility vehicles to the construction site. With an engine output of 200 kW (272 hp) the U 527's vehicle drive system is powerfully configured.
The combined use of people and material, such as work on oilfields, is the area of application for the Zetros 3643 A on display. The imposing three-axle model is configured for a permitted GVW of 36 t. Alongside the permanent all-wheel drive and engageable differential locks the 16.00 R 20 (front axle) and 24 R 20.5 (rear axles) special tyres ensure it has maximum off-road traction. There is also a self-recovery winch. The cab is converted at the plant by Mercedes-Benz Custom Tailored Trucks (CTT) and is configured as a crewcab with six individual seats. Extending behind them is a drop-side body measuring 4700 mm in length. The drive system is taken care of by the Mercedes-Benz six-cylinder in-line OM 457 LA with an output of 315 kW (428 hp), the finely graduated Mercedes-Benz G 240-16 manual transmission and the two-stage Mercedes-Benz VG 2400 transfer case.
Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 423, Exterior, white, OM 934 Euro VI rated at 170 kW/231 hp, displacement 5.1 l, transmission UG 100/8, permanent all-wheel drive.
Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 527, Exterior, silver, OM 936 Euro VI rated at 200 kW/272 hp, displacement 7.7 l, transmission UG 100/8, permanent all-wheel drive
Mercedes-Benz Benz Unimog U 5023, Exterior, zinc yellow, OM 934 Euro VI rated at 170 kW/231 hp, displacement 5.1 l, transmission UG 100/8, engageable all-wheel drive.