Heil Environmental’s maneuverable full-size refuse collection vehicle has been updated to offer better durability, easier maintenance, smoother operation, and greater flexibility. The latest STARR (Semi-Trailer Automated Rapid Rail) automated side loader is said to be the only such semi-trailer refuse and recycling collection system.

To strengthen its automated arm, Heil designed a tapered cross-section main lift beam to better match the stresses imposed on the lift’s backbone. The teeth on the arm’s grabber gears have been made 80% larger. And the limit switches that formerly regulated the arm’s hydraulic controls, which needed regular adjustment, have been replaced with proximity switches that demand minimal maintenance. Heil also smoothed out the arm’s motion by replacing its original electric shift valve with a new ‘soft shift’ valve metered by advanced controls.

The STARR system consists of an automated ‘Rapid Rail’ arm mounted on a tractor plus detachable, semi-trailer packer bodies with 18 tons of payload. This configuration is said to create a tight 42-ft curb-to-curb turning radius, and Heil says that’s 40% better than a standard straight-frame truck. That means this side-loader has an easy time of it in cul-de-sacs, alleys, and tight corners, without risky reversing.

When a STARR body is full, the operator can simply detach it, hook up an empty one, and continue on his route. With no need for a transfer station, the full trailers can be parked at a yard, serving as ‘mini transfer trailers’ until it’s convenient to take them to the disposal site. At that time, two trailers can be attached to a standard tractor and pulled in tandem, meaning half as many trips and reduced operating costs, as well as less wear and tear.

First introduced in 1995, the STARR was designed for easy maintenance, Heil says. And all the new parts were designed to retrofit to existing STARR side loaders in the field. Retrofit kits are available through Parts Central, a Heil company.

STARR System trailers are available in 33- and 37-cu-yd capacities. Double-trailer systems are available with 66- and 74-cu-yd capacities. 

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