Refuse Collection Vehicles, Waste Compactors & Hooklifts

IN DEPTH: Italian Style, Global Potential at Busi Group

Malcolm Bates reports from Brescia, Italy on developments at Busi Group
– OMB refuse collection vehicles and containers, BTE waste compactors and MEC hydraulic hooklifts and loader cranes.

Ready to go. This completed Mercedes Benz ‘Antos’-based RCV is ready for delivery to Italian environmental services contractor Tekra. 

There are three brands within the Busi Group
– OMB refuse collection vehicles and containers, BTE waste compactors and MEC hydraulic hooklifts and loader cranes. Together, they form a formidable ‘one stop shop’ capability. You might not have heard of the Busi Group before now. But as Malcolm Bates reports from Brescia, Italy, that should soon change...

Before we get too far into the story, we need to understand that the name ‘Busi’ is pronounced ‘Boo-zee’ – not ‘Biz-zee’. So no clever headlines along the lines of ‘Busy Bees Busi’ then!

Instead we need to find another starting point – not that the Busi Group isn’t ‘busy’, you understand. Let’s start on the basis that this family-owned business has the potential to become far more prominent than it currently is. True, the Group already exports products to Spain, the UAE and several South American countries including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay, but it’s the wide spread of products over three complementary

brands that we need to look at in more detail – because that’s where the potential is for further market share expansion and new business relationships.

The three brands – OMB, BTE and MEC – all produce specific products in their own right, but together provide an impressive portfolio of products and equipment that, until now, hasn’t been widely known to the waste and recycling industry outside Italy.

That could be related to the fact that the Busi Group is still quite a young organisation – having been founded as recently as 1991. But having said that, OMB came into being in 1961 – coming into the Group in 2014 – while MEC was founded in 1966 and became part of the Group in 2005.

This combination of brands provides an excellent opportunity to supply complete ‘turnkey’ packages of collection vehicles, containers and other equipment to the global waste and recycling sector as all three brands really do complement each other to give a true ‘one stop shop’ capability.

Offhand, I can’t think of many other manufacturers that can supply everything from humble waste containers to the actual collection vehicles and bulk waste handling systems required to load or transport them. And I’m not just talking about ‘waste’ in the context of refuse (garbage) either – the product lines cover recycling, foodwaste, scrap and demolition waste as well.

Let’s start with refuse collection vehicles (RCVs). At the 2017 ‘Ecomondo’ event at Rimini, Italy, in November, OMB will introduce the ‘Quick’ – a new 10 cubic metre ‘through-the-hopper-discharge-type’ compact RCV that has the body and hopper built as one unit, thus eliminating leachate issues.

Also on show will be the new ‘Legend’ range of high-performance rear-end loading compaction RCVs with capacities up to 23 cubic metres, suitable for chassis up to 26 tonnes gross weight, which were previewed at Ecomondo last year and are now in production.

With these new additions, OMB can now supply a complete range of rear-load ing RCVs starting at the open-bodied ‘Viper’ satellite units (at 5 and 7 cubic metres capacity) and the 5, 7, 8 and 10 cubic metre capacity ‘T-Rex’ range of covered compact satellite units – which feature an internal top-hung compactor plate – right up to fullsize compaction machines.

But OMB also manufactures a range of side-loading compaction RCVs suitable for both two and three-axle chassis – as well as a demountable waste collection and transfer system (the ‘CWS B2’) which enables loaded side-loader bodies to be demounted and replaced with empty units working in conjunction with a hooklift truck/trailer combination.

Body capacities from 14 and 16 cubic metres (on two axles) and up to 27 cubic metres on three axles can be catered for. Not big enough? There’s also a 30 cubic metres side loader for four-axle chassis.

As I was able to discover firsthand the latest OMB units feature easy-to-use, fully-automatic cycle loading with ‘cross-hair’ CCTV container location and a clean-action telescopic arm to reach containers not located close to the kerbside. The ‘power-on-demand’ function should help reduce fuel costs further – this speeds up the packer plate cycle, providing extra power only when needed. I hadn’t operated a sideloader for some while, but would have happily started work the next morning confident that the OMB control system would soon help get me up to speed.

Talking of hooklifts, the MEC brand includes four ‘series’ of hooklift (Ro/Ro) units from 3 tonnes capacity right up to 35 tonnes. The articulated-arm ‘SCA Series’ (from 3.5 up to 26 tonnes), the low-profile telescopic arm ‘KT Series’ (up to 35tonnes), the ‘KT FBS Series’ with telescopic, articulated arm and self-tilting facility (up to 35 tonnes), the ‘SC Series’ with telescopic arm and rear container locking and the ‘SCK Series’ with hydraulic arm extension and articulation designed to load containers of unstable site debris and sludge. That’s a pretty comprehensive range.

That’s not all. MEC also produces hydraulic lorry loading cranes. Two series are available – the ‘S-Series’ and the folding ‘Z-Series’ – the latter designed specifically for waste handling applications where the crane has the dual role of crushing the load into a container body, or handling heavy loads such as scrap metal.

Next, we get to the BTE range of hooklift-demountable waste compactors. With three series (‘CMP’, ‘CMPU’ and ‘CMPV’) and over forty different models in the range, there is a BTE compactor for just about every application – even on sites with no power supply. BTE has pioneered static on-site compactors powered by solar energy obtained from solar panels on the roof of the unit, making them entirely self-contained. The units feature a 3 kW 48-volt electric motor and lithium-ion batteries and were initially tested in Dubai.

This takes us to the final link in the product chain – waste and recyclable materials bins and containers. OMB specialises in metal bins and containers – although plastics materials can be supplied through partners if re quired.

The range includes containers suitable for OMB side-loaders and rear end loading RCVs, but an equally wide range of roll-on/roll-off containers suitable for scrap, waste or recyclable materials applications is also manufactured by Busi Group sister company, BTE – including containers with GPS data tracking exchange, vandal-proof/resident-only access and selective waste-stream capability.


To get a closer look, I recently visited the OMB plant at Brescia where both RCV production (and chassis mounting) and the manufacture of metal waste bins and containers for rear end and side-loading applications takes place. The containers are produced on a moving production line and feature pressings made on site. The level of investment is impressive with both modern computer-controlled presses and robot welding ensuring a high quality product with a long service life. I asked export manager Patrik Borgatti about that – the secret, he tells me, is the profile of the pressing that forms the ‘rave’ at the top of the container.

“This is what gives our containers their strength,” he informs me. But there’s more to it than that – high standards in container design is also helping expand the business horizons of the Group. For example, certain OMB containers are also marketed by the UK-based Egbert Taylor Group on a global basis. So could such ‘partnerships’ include other products from the Busi Group, like completed vehicles for example?

To get a clearer understanding of the possibilities, I met up with Mirko Busi, the Group CEO. Yes, he confirmed, the Busi Group is looking to expand further outside of the Italian home market as the continuing economic situation in Italy, although better, is still not buoyant. Clearly such factors – as well as limited further growth potential in the fiercely competitive home market – could hold back investment in new models without further expansion. And the Busi Group wants to expand.

Well established relationships in Spain, the Middle East and South America illustrate that the Busi Group can work well with local partners, so Mirko Busi and Patrik Borgatti see no reason why this policy cannot be extended more widely. “We are equally able to work with local distributors, or end users such as municipalities, contractors, or rental companies di

rect,” Patrik Borgatti explains.“Buying a range of equipment from one source can have obvious operational benefits, makes finance easier and offers potential savings due to an economy of scale.”

So how does the future look? It looks pretty good from here in Brescia. Mirko Busi has one more ace up his sleeve. Being a privately-owned business, the Group can spot gaps in the market and innovate more quickly than many larger competitors. The solar-powered waste compactors are one excellent example. Also,

OMB has already delivered a number of natural gas-powered Iveco-based RCVs and is now working on a brand new compact ‘zero emissions’ lithium-ion battery-powered compact refuse collection vehicle designed for inner-city zone operations, as you read this. Based on a modified Iveco chassis, it is hoped that a trial vehicle will be ready for demonstration shortly. You read it here first.