Cleaning up Buenos Aires

Cleaning up Buenos Aires

With new technology and a fleet of 64 Scania trucks, refuse collection company Cliba in Buenos Aires has set a new standard for urban waste handling in Latin America. “Robust vehicles and a superior service network provide us with the lowest total cost,” says Guillermo Virano, Contract Manager for Cliba in Buenos Aires, praising the solution from Scania.

With an area of 202 square kilometres and more than 20 million inhabitants, Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires, cannot take waste handling lightly. To manage the challenge the city has organised its waste collection into seven geographic regions.

Scania’s automated ­bilateral ­collection system features a robot lift that can handle waste containers from both sides of the truck – an important feature in Buenos Aires’ narrow streets.

Scania’s automated ­bilateral ­collection system features a robot lift that can handle waste containers from both sides of the truck – an important feature in Buenos Aires’ narrow streets.

Waste collection company Cliba was been assigned to clean up the streets of Zone 2, which includes the world-famous neighbourhoods of Belgrano, Palermo and Recoleta. The zone has more than 800,000 inhabitants and produces 368 million kilograms of waste per year.

Cliba is part of Benito Roggio Ambiental, BRA, an Argentinian business group specialised in infrastructure and services with a national and regional management capacity. Alexandros Polijronopulos, Planning and Projects Manager for BRA, describes the purchase process in which Cliba was awarded the 10-year contract for Zone 2.

“The most professional solution”

“A prerequisite was that all waste collection had to be done with automatic container side loaders,” Polijronopulos says. “We also had to have equipment that would minimise maintenance expenses and provide a competi­tive edge. Meetings were held with all major truck companies, and Scania presented the most professional solution in terms of technology and services – even beyond their given responsibility.”

However, the board of directors needed more persuasion to choose Scania over the truck brand traditionally awarded these kinds of contracts in Argentina.

Guillermo Virano, Contract Manager for Cliba in Buenos Aires, says Scania’s services extend the vehicles’ life by 50 percent.

Guillermo Virano, Contract Manager for Cliba in Buenos Aires, says Scania’s services extend the vehicles’ life by 50 percent.

“Scania provided technical, economic and financial support to tip the purchasing decision in their direction,” he says. “The choice of Scania was also influenced by the prestige of the Scania brand and the strong after-sales service.”

Until recently, Cliba used three methods of garbage collection: the classic manual method, with collectors picking up bags from the sidewalk; the typical container method, where­in containers were emptied into the back of the trucks; and a solution that involved side-loading containers.

A bilateral collection system

But Scania offered a fourth method – a new fleet of Scania waste collectors that fea­ture a bilateral collection system. This involves a set of screens in the cab by which the waste collection crew controlled a crane with robot arms that extends to the containers. The arms can lift and empty containers of waste from both sides of the truck – a particularly ­important feature in Buenos Aires’ many narrow, one-way streets. After being emptied, the containers are automatically returned to the street.

Guillermo Virano, Contract Manager for Cliba in Buenos Aires, says there’s no way back from this fully automated bilateral ­collection system.

“A few years ago waste collection was more or less about trucks and people – period,” he says. “Now, with new demands on efficiency and sustainability, our industry is more complex. Caring about people, our employees, is still very important, but we also need to be in the forefront when it comes to new technology.”

Tough on the vehicles

“To manage that, we need partners who can supply new, much more technological solutions to us,” he says. “We now have an excellent partnership with Scania, because they can provide exactly the right state-of-the-art vehicles and solutions for these tough operations.

“One very important aspect of this is the service of our vehicles,” Virano explains. “Waste handling and recycling is usually very tough on the vehicles, but Scania came up with a fantastic solution. Three days a week a technician from the Scania dealer is stationed in our workshop, providing value-added ad­vice while informing on possible deviations. He takes care of both the Scania chassis and the complex bodyworks. We also have our own stack of Scania spare parts.”

Virano gestures to one of the trucks on Cliba’s yard. “Look at this truck,” he says. “Who can believe it has been used in waste handling for two years already? It still looks brand new to me. This is the result of the service from Scania and our very strong policy of taking care of our vehicles. Usually waste-handling vehicles must be replaced after five years. These vehicles from Scania will last seven to eight years at least!”

Trained 200 employees

Scania’s solution for Cliba also includes driver training and financing. In total, Scania Argentina and the local dealer have trained more than 200 employees, including supervisors, drivers and service personnel.

But, says Virano, the main reason for Cliba to continue its partnership with Scania is the strength and robustness of its vehicles. “I would say that’s 70 percent of our decision,” he says. “These vehicles are almost tailor-made for our type of tough operations. The rest [of the decision] comes from the services that Scania offers, as well the lowest total cost of our operations.”

In city with a population of 20 million, sustainability has to be a cornerstone in waste-handling operations. Together with Scania, Cliba is developing a project to run its vehicles on biodiesel. “Our plan is to start using these trucks in waste handling at hospitals and other more sensitive environments,” Virano says.

Scania’s bilateral collection system involves a joystick and a set of screens by which the driver controls the robot arm to empty containers.

Scania’s bilateral collection system involves a joystick and a set of screens by which the driver controls the robot arm to empty containers.