Unimog U 216 to Unimog U 530 Implement Carriers Now More Powerful

Words Jim Davis | April 19, 2013
The U 216 & U 218 are entry-level, the U 318 & U 423 have 4-cylinder engines, the U 427, U 430, U 527 & U 530 have 6-cylinder units
Words Jim Davis April 19, 2013

The second generation of the Unimog implement carrier, originally launched in 2000, was unveiled this morning with a new arrangement and new designations. The U 216 and U 218 are the entry-level models and the U 318 and U 423 are fitted with four-cylinder engines, the U 427, U 430 and U 527 as well as U 530 are more powerful with their six-cylinder units. Thanks to very intensive design engineering, the Unimog implement carriers are more efficient, more environmentally acceptable and more cost-effective than their predecessors.

New exterior: Panoramic cab with a modern design

The panoramic cab presents itself in a new and modern design. Here the optical and functional effect of the short bonnet is emphasised even more by LED lamps including daytime running lamps integrated in the bumpers. To improve visibility, the windscreen wipers have now been fitted on the roof over the windscreen giving a superb view of both road and implements, and improved even more through the new front camera monitor system. Typical for the Unimog: The front power take-off reveals its powerful technology and power-hungry implements.

New interior: Operating concept provides the best working conditions

Multifunction steering wheel, adjustable steering column and stronger heating and cooling system with improved air flow make both drivers and co-drivers feel happy. The operating controls have been improved so that there is now a steering column pitman arm to operate driving functions such as gear changing or engine brake. The instrument cluster for driver information is new and has a large, light display; the joystick for operating implements can be removed and held in the hand; the uninterrupted view of the front implements – which is also important when attaching or removing them – is made safer with the monitor and front camera; and all this adds up to an appreciable lightening of the driver’s load. Using the central tire inflation system “Tirecontrol Plus” (optional) is now much easier via the display as it gives the user the choice between pre-programmed modes “road”, “sand” and “bad surface”.

New work hydraulics – more sensitive than ever

The new work hydraulics set to precisely and without making any jerking movements – with at the same time about 30 percent increased hydraulic performance. This makes is possible to control the implements more sensitively than ever before. The work hydraulics is completely proportional when working and allows two movements to be performed at the same time via the joystick. The multifunction keys on the steering wheel and the display allow the output to be limited. The hydraulics works with two circuits, whereby Circuit I provides 200 bar system pressure with hydraulic oil flow of 32 l/min, together with Circuit II it adds up to an additional 55 l/min with up to 240 bar. And here the implement drive has been improved even further as the front power take-off now gives a performance of a maximum of 160 kW (up to now 150 kW).

Unimog U 216 to Unimog U 530 Implement Carriers

New compact entry models: Unimog U 216 and Unimog U 218

The two entry-level models U 216 und U 218 are completely new. They replace the previous Unimog U 20 and are now very little different from the bigger implement carriers above them starting with the U 318. Models U 216 and U 218 also have the same panoramic cab including the adjustable steering column and the other innovations, as well as the well-known unique VarioPilot where steering wheel and pedals can be moved to the other side of the cab when the operator needs to work from the co-driver’s seat. The great advantage of the new models is their size with extremely compact dimensions. The wheelbase is only 2800 mm and is thus 200 mm shorter than the U 318, the turning circle is only 12.6 metres in comparison with 13.7 metres – by the way both of these turning circles are what are to be expected of passenger cars. Power is provided by the four-cylinder engines with 115 kW (156 hp) and 130 kW (177 hp). With three different load ratings from 7.5 to 10 tonnes, the payload of the U 216 and U 218 can cope with a great variety of tasks and applications.

Unimog U 216 to Unimog U 530 Implement Carriers

Unimog U 318 to U 530

Even greater performance, more manoeuvrable, more agile and able to do many more different kinds of job: such an all-round increase in efficiency is the trade mark of the Unimog U 318 to U 530. The engines produce a new peak performance as the 220 kW (299 hp) in the U 430 and U 530 provide the strongest hp output ever realised for a Unimog. The advanced work and power hydraulic systems profit a great deal from the engines. Greater efficiency is also provided by the greater payload. Here it was possible to reduce the weight by making savings on the frame and using aluminium wheels. It was also a brilliant feat to be able to shorten the wheelbase by 80 mm in comparison with the former U 300 despite the complicated components needed for Euro VI (U 318 and U 423). Because of this and with the help of a greater turning angle when steering, the turning circle is clearly smaller than that of its predecessor.

New power hydraulics replaces power take-off pumps and special purpose body engines

Power hydraulics VarioPower – for a long time this name has been behind the extremely powerful implement drive in the Unimog. Now it is even more efficient. Two circuits, each with 125 litres of hydraulic flow and 280 bar pressure can perform, if required, several different kinds of job at the same time or one especially sensitive operation – up to a top performance of 58 kW per circuit. This advanced design replaces pumps attached to the power take-off or diesel body engines, for example for mounted sweeping machines and this saves fuel, space and weight. And if the power hydraulics is not needed, then the Unimog can save weight in the vehicle frame – it can simply be removed from its installation location to increase the payload. This new system is operated using steering wheel touch-keys and its data can be read in the display in the new instrument cluster. The power hydraulics is available in Unimog models from U 318 on.

The new synergetic traction drive

The innovative new hydrostatic traction drive for the Unimog implement carrier is also a world premiere and it opens up a whole new range of possibilities for using implements. The combination of hydrostatic and manual transmission allows the driver to change smoothly from one mode to the other while driving. Up to now it was necessary to halt briefly before changing systems. The new comfortable Drive-Work-Mode can be used to advantage, for instance, when mowing grass verges and the work is interrupted by a long noise barrier. The new hydrostatic drive now allows speeds up to 50 km/h (31 mph) and the hydrostatic performance has been increased by 20 percent. Whereas infinitely variable driving and working reduces wear on the clutch and increases work performance, driving with the manual transmission saves fuel because of its increased efficiency. When using the electronic pneumatic power shift (EPS), the driver starts the changeover by pressing the clutch and so starts the optional automatic electronic drive control (EAS) to complete the changeover automatically. This new synergetic system is easily operated by using the steering column control switch, hydraulic joystick or alternatively the accelerator.

Unimog implement-carrying design: More than a 1000 different possibilities

The versatility of the Unimog implement carrier is legendary. In the meantime, more than a 1000 different possibilities are registered. Implement manufacturers worldwide work together intensively with Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks at the Wörth plant – where the Unimog now has its base – to expand the range of operations. The great advantage of the Unimog product range from U 216 to U 530 is its ability to use implements four-fold. There are three attachment points – front, rear and between the axles – as well as the space for mounting bodies and equipment on the chassis. The implements and equipment can be supplied with energy hydraulically, mechanically and electrically. The range of users includes Local Authorities, the energy sector, forestry workers, agricultural logistics, the construction industry or road-rail operators, but the list is long and includes many others. Whether it is working at the airport, cleaning solar parks or clearing snow across the mountains, virtually nothing is foreign to the Unimog and that it is exactly what makes it unique in the world of commercial vehicles – as a versatile implement carrier with the driving qualities of a truck. It also proves its value as a tractor unit with a 40 tonne combination and its technical top speed of up to 90 km/h (56 mph) is absolutely suitable for motorways.

Safety as top priority

Directional stability, precise steering and the use of ABS are responsible for the high level of safety provided by the Unimog. In addition, the extremely good axle load distribution and four same-size wheels have a positive effect on the vehicle’s handling qualities. And the Unimog sets its very own standards with the panoramic cab. The panoramic front windscreen, deep drawn down side windows and short bonnet give a very wide view of driving and working areas. What is quite new is the front camera system with a monitor which makes things easier for the driver as it shows him the area directly in front of the vehicle which makes it easier to attach implements.

And last but not least, it is the good off-road mobility of the Unimog which speaks for itself: portal axles, high ground clearance, differential locks, single tires and the ability to rock out of dips (Electronic Quick Reverse).

As far as servicing, trouble diagnosis or repairs are concerned, the Unimog is well provided for with over 650 service stations in more than 130 countries worldwide where competent Unimog Dealers are ready and waiting with special service offers as well as financial services to round off the entire package.