High and mighty

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The large truck market is awash with innovation. And while companies in some sectors might have shied away from launching new products during such tumultuous times, the likes of Cargotec, Hyster and Konecranes are bucking the trend.

“The time to invest is when the market is low,” says Mikael Persson, vice president of reachstackers and empty container handlers at Cargotec. “Because while things are quieter you can use that time to look into new products so you’re ready for when things pick up again.”

Cargotec has just launched the Kalmar DFR420-450L range of reachstackers, which are designed to provide cost effective, flexible container handling at terminals with medium capacity and average operational requirements.

Persson says Cargotec launched the range because as containerisation continues to grow new customers and new markets are opening up for container handling equipment.

“Some of our new customers do not have the operational requirements that we offer with our current models, and some new applications will not need heavy and intensive usage of their machine… That’s why we present the Kalmar DRF L reachstacker – a streamlined machine with increased customer value. Its performance and functions have been specially developed for the day-to-day reality at terminals that form part of the continental distribution chain.”

The reachstackers are designed to allow handling of loaded containers in narrow spaces, while ensuring the driver has optimum visibility.

Lifting capacity of up to 45 tonnes can be achieved for first row picking, while 30 tonnes can be lifted in the second row and 15 tonnes in the third row of containers. It can lift containers up to five high, and can pick up and drop off containers from any angle up to 90 degrees.

Also hot on the development trail is Hyster which has launched the H25-32XM range of heavy duty forklift trucks, comprising nine new models with lifting capacities from 25 to 32 tonnes.

Antoon Cooijmans, big trucks product manager for Hyster Europe, says: “They are all designed to offer a unique blend of high productivity, reliable proven components, fuel efficiency and outstanding driver comfort in the ports or in heavy industry.”

The range includes four standard forklift models with a 1.2m load centre lifting capacity, along with three ultra-compact models with wheelbases of between 3.655m and 3.935m, which are designed to assist in operations where space is at a premium. In addition, there are two new container handlers, with a dedicated carriage for the container spreader.

The mast incorporates a six-roller construction for extra strength enabling it to handle lift heights up to 6.2m, while the dual-function carriage has a quick-disconnect feature for fast interchange between forks and a coil ram, or an alternative handling attachment.

Hyster also claims maintenance requirements should be kept to a minimum thanks to oil-immersed brakes, while increased service intervals of 500 hours will help contribute to lower overall operating costs. The H25-32XM range also features a tilting cab offering easy access to components to complete any servicing it does require more easily.

The machines have been designed for use in all environments and can operate in ambient temperatures from -18 to 50 degrees celsius. They all feature the QSC8.3 Cummins diesel engine with low exhaust emissions and conform to EC tier 3 NRMM emissions standards.

As lift trucks use a major portion of the engine power for hydraulic lifting functions, Hyster has equipped the H25-32XM with load-sensing “power on-demand” hydraulic pumps, which are adjusted by the actual load weight lifted. This helps make lifting easier, decrease wear on hydraulic components and the engine, as well as boost efficiency.

David Cooper at Cooper SH, which is the UK’s sole distributor of Konecranes Lift Trucks, says using on-demand hydraulic functions can also create fuel savings. “Big trucks means big engines and big engines means high fuel consumption. By employing a load-sensing variable displacement hydraulic pump, these fuel costs can be reduced significantly.”

In conjunction with that, Cooper reckons adding an eco-drive system to measure individual driver fuel consumption and productivity can together reduce fuel consumption by 20 – 30 per cent, which can equate to a saving of more than £100,000 over the life cycle of a vehicle.

Despite NOx levels being 85 per cent lower than they were ten years ago, Cooper says there is still a shift in design parameters across the industry. “For the past 20 years the market has been driven by performance and comfort – this will change however with environmental factors becoming the dominant criteria. This is a market-led initiative that big truck manufacturers will need to be prepared for and respond to.”

“Fuel consumption remains a big factor in both environmental and cost terms,” continues Cooper. Konecranes has recently launched an HLL hydraulic filter that can extend oil life to 12,000 hours, compared to a standard oil change which occurs at 4,000 hours, meaning it can consume 1,000 litres per service. Consequently trucks will consume less oil and there will be less waste oil to dispose of.

The manufacturer has also launched a new 28 to 60 tonnes range, which integrates Step 3a engines, ZF transmissions and features a restyled ballast area to enhance rearward visibility. In addition, Konecranes has relaunched its midi reachstacker with a nominal 25 tonne capacity for dedicated 20 ft box handling.

Cargotec’s Persson believes one of the simplest ways to drive down fuel consumption, as well as reduce tyre wear, is to train drivers properly. “Driver training is key,” he says. “Fuel savings and tyre wear are both heavily dependent on the driver, so it is very important they are trained correctly. Cargotec has a department dedicated to driver training and can offer training as part of any deal.”

When handling such big loads safety, of course, is also a big concern. A new directive to co-ordinate machinery safely in every country within the European Economic Area (2006/42/EC) was introduced on 29th December 2009 with the main objective of saving lives and minimising accidents.

In line with this, Hiab, the on-road load handling systems provider, which is also owned by Cargotec, has implemented a number of new features and technological advancements on its cranes and demountables with a view to making them more productive and reduce work site accidents.

One such feature is the Variable Stability Limit which is designed for loader and recycling cranes to help operators improve stability and optimise crane capacity. It allows users to have a crane with increased capacity in some working areas by refraining slightly from capacity in others.

The increase in world trade and containerisation has meant that the growth in container handling machines has been sizable over the past 25 years and, while the current economic climate has obviously had an effect on uptake within the market, David Cooper expects growth trends to return.

In fact, throughout the downturn sales of used trucks has remained high. “Used large machines have always been a strong market,” says Cooper. “Scandinavian origin machines especially enjoy high values and supply can never satisfy demand. The difficulties of the shipping lines in the past 12 months have only just recently seen a fall in demand of used machines generally.”

Customers are however looking for more value, and according to Thomas Malmberg, vice president of forklift trucks at Cargotec: “customers are much more careful in investing now than they were previously and are looking for cheaper solutions. They want machines to do more.

“Enquiries are picking up but we’re still not on the high levels we were before the recession hit. I expect we will see a change in order patterns after quarter three this year though.”

On the container side, Persson concludes: “Just before the recession we were at an all time high when it comes to container volumes and traffic down to growth in trade, but that has dropped a significant amount during the past year.

“Maybe it’s too early to say, but the general feeling is we have reached the bottom and we’re now bouncing around there waiting to go back up. Things can only get better from here.”

Pipe dream
Cargotec has customised an order of seven Kalmar reachstackers to improve pipe handling for Norwegian logistics firm NorSea Group.

The company supplies base services and integrated logistics systems to the Norwegian oil and gas industry and has boosted its fleet of Kalmar trucks for handling gas pipeline sections designed to supply Europe with additional gas from Russia.

Rather than using a slave attachment connected to the spreader, which is more commonly used for handling pipes, Cargotec has modified the equipment with a fully integrated attachment to increase reliability and safety.

NorSea expects to move some 126,000 pipe sections with an average weight of 23.6 tonnes and will be transporting them from Mukran in Germany and Kotka in Finland to Karlskrona and Gotland in Sweden and Hanko in Finland.

The Norwegian logistics company is responsible for the loading, offloading and interim storage of the pipe sections at these three temporary sites. The pipes will then be shipped out by supply boat to a barge that will lay the pipe sections on the Baltic Sea floor.

Electric heavyweight
Toyota Material Handling has added a high tonnage electric forklift to its Traigo counterbalance range.

The Toyota Traigo HT range offers load capacities from 6.0 to 8.5 tonnes with lift heights of up to 6.5 metres and is designed to provide a heavy-duty electric alternative to engine-powered forklifts.

Dave Rylance, counterbalance product manager at Toyota Material Handling UK, says: “We believe that the addition of the Traigo HT to our range should encourage heavy truck buyers to reconsider their fuel options, as we can now offer them a wider choice in an arena where gas and diesel have been the traditional option.”

Toyota developed 80-volt motors and controllers specifically for the HT to ensure full compatibility and deliver class- leading lift and drive speeds.

The fully enclosed electric motor allows the truck to be used indoor and out and is emission-free, which is particularly good for operations where goods are susceptible to damage from exhaust particulates.

The truck is designed to accelerate smoothly and has a top speed of 16km/h. Every time it decelerates or the brakes are applied energy is regenerated and reused to extend the time between recharges.

The Traigo HT range also incorporates the Toyota System of Active Stability, which uses technology to support safe operating practices, while improving productivity and lowering costs related to accidents, injuries and damage to goods, which according to Toyota can collectively account for more than 70 per cent of the truck life cycle cost.

Features include the SAS Active Mast Function, which helps reduce the risk of dropped loads and forward truck tip over by limiting the mast tilt angle and tilting speed at height.

Toyota is also able to supply the truck with any tyre type, including non-marking.

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