Cleaning the German Autobahn A61 with Allison Fully Automatics

Cleaning and sweeping highways in busy traffic and unpredictable weather conditions is very challenging. For almost two years the DAF 340 FA with Bucher bodywork and Allison fully automatic transmission has successfully been operating on the Autobahn 61 in Germany.

MAINZ/MENDIG, Germany, July 2021 – Due to a sudden breakdown of the previous road sweeper, the Autobahnmeisterei Mendig (highway maintenance department) in Rhineland-Palatinate urgently had to find a replacement to cover the stretch from Meckenheim to the Koblenz/Metternich interchange on the busy A61. This section of the Autobahn A61 in Rhineland-Palatinate is familiar to most visitors to the Nürburgring, the world-famous motor racing circuit in the Eifel region of Germany. DAF partner Wietholt Nutzfahrzeuge and Thome-Bormann, Bucher Municipal's German distributor, together with Drazan Bunoza of Autobahnmeisterei Mendig, very quickly specified a vehicle with an Allison fully automatic transmission, that is safe, easy to operate, low-maintenance and cost-effective.

This has resulted in a single-engine large sweeper on a DAF 340 FA 4x2 chassis with a 10.8-liter MX-11 engine with Euro 6 emission standard, 251 kW (341 hp), Bucher V80 body (formerly Johnston V 802) and Allison 3200 Series™ fully automatic transmission. The DAF 340 FA has a total gross vehicle weight of 18 tons.

By combining an Allison transmission with a hydrostatic transmission, the transportation mode and operating mode of the sweeper are perfectly aligned. In transportation mode, the Allison transmission enables the road sweeper to travel at a conventional driving speed of up to 90 km/h (about 55 mph). In this mode, the mechanical switchover gearbox with integrated hydrostatic drive for stepless speed control in sweeping mode, which is integrated into the drivetrain, is switched straight through and is thus bridged during transport position.

For sweeping operation, the hydrostatic transmission is switched to working mode and the two-stage working drive now allows infinitely variable speed control from zero to 40 km/h for fast gear and 0.1 to 16 km/h for sweeping mode. The hydraulic drive of turbine, water pumps and brushes is done by hydraulic pumps, which are mounted on the hydrostatic transmission.

The DAF road sweeper is used for routine cleaning of traffic lanes, hard shoulders, central reservations, and service areas on the highways. The removal of oil residues and spillages from accidents is also part of the job. Calls can come in from the police 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the vehicle must be ready at a moment’s notice. Regardless of whether it is an accident involving hazardous material such as glue, animals or food, operator Christian Gaßmann has seen his fair share of incidents. Most recently, 20 tons of bananas and melons had to be cleared from the road. Allison transmissions' easy operability and excellent maneuverability pay off on such challenging jobs. In addition, Gaßmann praises the DAF road sweeper for its super-suction performance. "It has the best suction power I have come across so far," said Gaßmann. And he has been driving sweepers for 17 years.

"The speed of the vehicle can be adjusted seamlessly, independently of the suction power. As a result, the job can be tailored to the circumstances on the freeway at any given time," said Torsten Bettac at Thome-Bormann. When cleaning oil residue, for example, the vehicle travels at walking pace. The oil is then removed using a 100-bar, 30-liter high-pressure cleaning system - without chemicals, just water.

The vehicle configuration also offers advantages in terms of fuel consumption and emissions. “The Allison 3200 fully automatic transmission features special fuel-saving technology. It automatically selects the ideal gearshift strategy depending on the work cycle and road conditions. Furthermore, thanks to the efficient alignment between the Allison 3200 Series™ fully automatic and the hydrostatic transmission, an additional on-board combustion engine is no longer required. Consequently, emission levels are reduced and the sweeping capacity can be increased due to the lower vehicle weight,” said Stephan Marker, Market Developer at Allison Transmission.

“We have a policy of only specifying vehicles that offer our customers a high degree of value throughout their entire life cycle. Our experience with Allison transmissions has been excellent. The customers are very satisfied and so are the drivers. Their ease of usability and reduced downtime are highly appreciated by our customers - it makes Allison the number one choice when it comes to offering an optimal total package,” said Torsten Bettac, Thome-Bormann.

Jul 09, 2021


Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is a leading designer and manufacturer of vehicle propulsion solutions for commercial and defense vehicles, the largest global manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty fully automatic transmissions, and a leader in electrified propulsion systems that Improve the Way the World Works. Allison products are used in a wide variety of applications, including on-highway trucks (distribution, refuse, construction, fire and emergency), buses (school, transit and coach), motorhomes, off-highway vehicles and equipment (energy, mining and construction applications) and defense vehicles (tactical wheeled and tracked). Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. With a presence in more than 150 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil, manufacturing facilities in the USA, Hungary and India, as well as global engineering resources, including electrification engineering centers in Indianapolis, Indiana, Auburn Hills, Michigan and London in the United Kingdom. Allison also has more than 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit