Page 2. Shelvoke & Drewry Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Autumn 2021.
THOSE FABULOUS REVOPAKS.
A 1970/71 TY Revopak. Photo: Courtesy of Classic Refuse Trucks (Jaap Mikkers)
The Revopak was launched at the Torbay Conference in June 1970. In December it was introduced to about 140 people engaged in the refuse collection business in North West England at the Norbreck Hotel in Blackpool. The event was reported in the ‘Public Cleansing’ magazine in February 1971.
The Revopak was demonstrated collecting refuse in the streets of Blackpool. Firstly conventional dustbins were emptied into the 1 ½ cubic yard hopper. Then a selection of cartons were thrown in and in just 3 mins. 10 seconds 15 cu. yds had ben packed into the body. Next it was demonstrated with 140 plastic sacks being loaded in three minutes. ‘Public Cleansing’ commented:- “The two S. & D. demonstrator loaders must be highly commended for their speed of loading, this, however, permitted Mr. Jack Wilkinson to prove his contention that the Revopak can deal with any speed of loading.”
Finally the crushing power of those rotating tines was demonstrated as a four-seater settee, several armchairs and a large sideboard were all easily swept into the body. The final test was to crush two large refrigerators, one at a time, which it achieved with ease as after three passes the pieces were small enough to pass into the body.
The consensus was that S&D had produced another winner to follow in the reputation gained with their Pakamatic.
The Revopak continued in production for a further twenty years and is still remembered with affection. This was demonstrated in May when three members of the SD Enthusiasts’ Club Facebook Group recalled their memories of the impressive power of the Revopak.
Trevor Wood learned that the Revopak wasn’t indestructible when his crew called at a shop and were asked to take away a chiller cabinet. Having struggled through the door with the cabinet the Revopak easily crushed it to pieces. Later in the day the crew noticed that the arm holding the rake in place had fractured. An SD engineer came down to replace the arm with a beefier one.
Trevor recalled that in the 1970’s people were rapidly changing their black & white TV’s for colour ones and up to 10 were put out for disposal every day. The Revopak had a bin lifter fitted so the system devised was to stop the rake, put the TV into the hopper, close the doors and the TV was gone. The spare vehicle was a Pakamatic and here the procedure was to stop the packing drawer, put the TV in the hopper, crouch down and pull the handle to start the packing cycle as bits of the TV flew over your head. Fluorescent tubes were equally a hazard.!
Ben Ivansson commented :-“ I learnt on my the first day that if I saw any fluorescent tubes in the bins then the safest thing was to lift it out and then put it back in with the lid shut and hopefully it would bust the tube, if not just keep doing it till it did! It wasn't too bad on an empty lorry but once it got about a quarter full if you tipped a bin with a tube in it then it would explode when it hit the heap of glass inside, and throw slivers of glass out the top.”
Ben noticed that modifications were carried out to the Revopak tines over time and finally ended up with clear plastic tubes over the tines for some unknown reason. Kevin Murphy-Steele said he believed that this was because there were instances of broken glass or debris flying out from the rubbish as it was being crushed and hitting the workers or pedestrians in the street.