Autostrade per l’Italia is one of the leading motorway operators worldwide. In Italy alone, the company is in charge of more than 3,100 kilometres of motorway and again relies on the quality of Schmidt products, just like it did last year with Schmidt’s spreaders and sprayers. In 2014 alone, 66 new winter service vehicles were ordered. In 2015, another 60 vehicles will be added to the pool of more than 150 Schmidt vehicles that have been employed by Autostrade per l’Italia in the motorway network for several years.
If vehicles are selected and purchased exclusively based on the price, major damage and repairs are often inevitable, according to the experience of the management of Autostrade per l’Italia. This is why the long-established Italian company was one of the first customers to take into account not only the purchase price but also the maintenance costs incurred during operation in order to be able to estimate the machine’s reliability. This is the only way to avoid expensive machine downtimes and performance failures that ultimately entail poor road conditions and road safety, putting a burden on drivers. The persons in charge of the respective motorway sections also had a major share in the decision-making: They provided a list of the maintenance costs as well as a list of the defects occurred during the operation of the service vehicles at that time.
The next step was the performance of precise comparison tests with Schmidt winter service vehicles to ensure that the performance parameters stated in the technical specifications are fully met. An important factor is spreading accuracy, i.e. the lowest possible deviation between the values entered by the operator in the driver’s cab and the material actually spread on the road – as regards both its amount and its even distribution over the entire spreading width. Of course, it is important to spread a sufficient amount of salt to prevent the formation of black ice while also ensuring not to use too much material, which would put a burden on the soil and the environment and cause additional costs. The analysis of all these aspects has shown to Autostrade per l’Italia that Schmidt was the supplier offering the best price-performance ratio.
The vehicles delivered in 2015 also include the new Schmidt Stratos III spreader, the most advanced form of winter service vehicles available in the market: It stands for an improvement in terms of sturdiness and reliability, highly intuitive operation and the renowned efficiency offered by Schmidt. Both the support, which is now fixed in a broader mount on the carrier vehicle, and the hydraulic system (much more efficient in this version) have been redesigned. The exceptionally powerful and reliable Kubota auxiliary engines have been maintained in the special versions for winter service operations, whereas the entire pre-wet system has been modified – ranging from the side-mounted tanks (now reinforced) to the way how the brine solution captures and encapsulates every single grain of salt. A focus was also put on the control panels in the driver’s cab, from the electronic CL control system (now even more efficient) to the use of graphic displays that can be read off more easily. The practical layout and the selection of rotation commands via arrows (highly appreciated by drivers for its easy handling even when wearing thick winter gloves) have been maintained without any changes: In this case, innovation is based on tradition!
The Schmidt Straliq sprayer chosen by Autostrade per l’Italia is also powered by a Kubota auxiliary engine and features a system for quick mounting and demounting.
The machine boasts modular tanks for the brine solution with a capacity of 2,500 l per tank made of reinforced polyethylene as well as a high-performance centrifugal pump with a capacity of 700 l/min, which meets the required level of performance without any problems.
The rear-mounted spray bar permits a spraying width of up to 10.5 m (three lanes), with the nozzles being also capable of working asymmetrically. The special nozzles deliver constant pressure and have an adjustable spraying distance, producing a particularly accurate, cylindrical jet which is not affected by speed and weather factors. This guarantees a level of performance that cannot be achieved using conventional technologies.
In addition to 42 Stratos III spreaders with a capacity of 9 m2 and 18 Straliq spreaders with a capacity of 10,000 litres, two F40 Integral special spreaders with a twin-auger system specifically designed for Unimog trucks will be delivered as well. The special thing about the F40 Integral is that it replaces the carrier vehicle’s loading platform instead of being mounted on it. This provides a great deal of benefits, including the machine’s low centre of gravity and the increased maximum load resulting from the elimination of the loading platform.
To us as the manufacturers, being given the trust of such an important customer is a clear acknowledgement to be proud of: It is the proof that professionalism and passion – which are inherent in every Schmidt product – are recognised and appreciated by customers even in a highly competitive market. Quality just pays off!