Darkness on the streets, then in the distance a hum comes nearer, followed by flashing lights. The blue lights of the police cars combine with the yellow flashing lights of several Mercedes-Benz Sprinters CDI 316 at the front and back of the convoy. This colorful cascade lights up the night. Carefully a Sprinter driver places his vehicle in the middle of an intersection and blocks the road. The reason: The sturdy yellow escort vehicle from the company Kustech Systeme GmbH secures the traffic route for a heavy load vehicle, which is transporting its oversized-load through the narrow city streets. A tricky task, which is subject to numerous requirements. This must be planned down to the last detail and carried out precisely.
The driver of the truck with the oversized load is in good company, because a small fleet of sulphur yellow Sprinters are protecting the heavy-load. On the roof, the escort vehicles have dynamic traffic signs installed with high-quality LED displays. These are remote-controlled and can display different traffic signals. The Sprinters ensure that the other road users are informed of the heavy transport in plenty of time.
The company Kustech Systeme GmbH is behind these dynamic digital traffic signs on the Sprinter’s roof. They specialise in dynamic traffic signs systems for escort vehicles. “We attach great importance to quality,” emphasizes Ilka Manske, the Kustech managing director. Our customers appreciate this. “We escort or equip with our vehicles and dynamic traffic signs, crane companies and, of course, heavy transport firms – all over Europe,” says Manske. “Our escort fleet is considered very innovative and is therefore unique in the industry.”
While other suppliers often rely on standardized solutions for the escort of oversized and heavy transports, the company from Techau in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany meets individual customer requirements, for example, in the form of special interior fittings for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter escort vehicles. In doing so, Ilka Manske and company consciously rely on the vans with the star.
In addition to the handling characteristics, its reliability and efficiency, the Sprinter convinces the Kustech owners with yet another characteristic. “The Sprinter is currently the only carrier vehicle approved for BF-4 systems because of the roof load,” says Manske. “BF” stands for “Begleitfahrzeug” in German, in English that means “escort vehicle” and the number behind it defines the generation. “BF-4” is therefore the fourth and current generation, which can replace police vehicles and thus relieve them.
What is special about the “police replacement vehicle” as it is termed in specialist jargon: The turntable can be oriented in all directions. “This is ensured by our dynamic traffic sign LED matrix, which can be turned 360 degrees at the push of a button,” explains Ilka Manske. “The dynamic traffic sign system fulfills the technical requirements of the BF-3 escort on the motorway as well as the BF-4 escort for oncoming traffic on all other roads.”
Development engineer Jürgen Köpp also knows why the Sprinter CDI 316 is the right choice when it comes to driving safety with the difficult transport of airplanes, ships and other oversized and heavy loads weighing several hundred tons. The Kustech Sprinter has even escorted a space ship on the motorway and into a museum. Due to the high weight of a BF-4 system on the roof, the driving characteristics are significantly different to conventional motor vehicles, he says. For example, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) often no longer works and the total surface area exposed to the wind increases considerably – which in turn can have a negative impact on the driving behavior of the vehicle.
“With the Sprinter, however, these problems can be solved,” says Jürgen Köpp. “We are delighted to be able to offer our customers a BF4 system which allows the handling characteristics to be enhanced even with a system open at the front.” This requirement can only be met by the premium BF4 dynamic sign system in conjunction with the Sprinter carrier vehicle CDI 316, the development engineer also confirms. “Of course, it takes a few different measures, such as lowering the center of gravity to the original measure,” says Köpp. “This is unique.”
Kustech goes with the times. Ilka Manske outlines the objectives: “We have around 500 BF-3 and 50 BF-4 systems on the market. Our goal is to become the market leader in Germany as a premium manufacturer for BF-3 and BF-4-systems. “The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is essential for Kustech and its special orders. Like yellow sheep dogs, the yellow vans guard the heavy trucks – and they always bring them safely and reliably to their destination, as in this night.