Plans Become Reality for Wales & West Utilities

Following its three-plus two year supplier agreement with gas distribution company, Wales & West Utilities, signed in 2008, MAN has delivered two new MAN TGS 26.440 6x2-4 BL chassis with ground-breaking suction excavation equipment from TT-UK and German design partner RSP.

These are the first two vehicles of their kind purchased by WWU and are used for below ground gas-pipe maintenance and replacement work. Surrounding ground, including broken concrete, is sucked up and deposited in a chassis mounted container.

Chassis equipment includes a manual ZF 16S252 OD gearbox, an NMV 221 engine-driven PTO to power the suction fans, an uprated 9,000kg front axle and a lifting / steered trailing axle.

MAN worked closely with TT-UK to ensure that the chassis specification met the demanding requirements of the unique suction equipment. The MAN engine drives the powerful fan units that generate an airflow of 22,000 cfm.

This creates a negative pressure to lift the excavated material from the ground without causing damage to underground services near to gas pipes.

“We were delighted to get on board with MAN back in 2008,” said WWU’s Transport Manager, Andrew Pettiford. “and, since then, we have formed a real partnership, particularly with Adam Marchant, who has worked tirelessly to ensure we get an exacting chassis specification – I really don’t think we could have done it with any other manufacturer”.

He added, “The result is a truly bespoke vehicle, and one that brings both increased efficiency and safety on site.”

The new units follow an initial order for 12 TGM 26.280 6x4 BB 26 tonners, four 12 tonne TGL 12.220 4x2 BBs and eight TGM 26.340 6X 4 BB 26 tonners delivered over the past 18 months. These initial reinstatement trucks were also supplemented by three further 7.5 tonne 7.180 4x2 BBs with a specialised ‘workshop station’ body including a bench, welfare facilities, racking, tooling, on board power and a mini-tipper body.

Wales & West Utilities, with its main offices based in Newport, South Wales, is a regulated gas distribution business with around 35,000 km of gas distribution pipelines located in Wales and the South West of England. Covering 1/6th of the UK, WWU serves a catchment area with a population of 7.4 million.

The company’s primary role is to transport gas to the meters of homes and businesses from the Northern Welsh border to Cornwall. WWU does not sell gas but instead ensures that it is piped in a safe and efficient way. The company is also responsible for dealing with gas escapes, laying new gas pipes and replacing and moving pipes and meters.