Friday, May 17, 2013

Port of Poole Solves Freight Handling Dilemma with New Fork Lift Truck Technology

New Smaller Machines Can Carry More Weight on Less Chassis
Shipping News Feature

UK – Any experienced fork lift truck driver will know the problems associated with trying to negotiate in tight spaces and although sometimes the problems can be relieved by exchanging for shorter forks as necessary this is not a solution that works with larger trucks carrying variable loads. The Port of Poole faces the common challenge that although freight commodities are becoming larger and heavier, the need of larger capacity lift trucks was compromising space in storage areas when manoeuvring cargo throughout the port and turned to handling specialist Cooper SH to resolve the logistics problem.

Cooper SH supply the Konecranes range of trucks with machines up to 33 tonnes already in situ and the solution came in the form of two further trucks, as part of a three fork lift deal with Poole Harbour Commissioners, both with 10 tonne capacity yet having only the same wheelbase as a traditional 8 tonne machine, at 2,800mm fully 200mm shorter than usual. While a previous short wheelbase version utilised the standard chassis for smaller machines, the new version represents a first in having a unique chassis length and also sitting comfortably within the 8 to 10 tonne range. Chris Barnes, General Manager, South for Cooper SH explained:

“The 8 tonne mark is generally a watershed where many suppliers will complete their range, while others, such as SMV, start their range at 10 tonnes. Until now, it was believed that the two-tonne jump in capacity was also a determining factor in physical size. Whilst this remains true in respect of height and wheel size, we can reduce the machine's length yet retain capacity to 10 tonnes at 600mm load centre or even, if required, 12 tonnes at 600mm centre.”

Konecranes last year supplied 18 short-wheelbase machines to Sapa Aluminium in Sweden rated 10 tonnes at 1,200mm load centre. However, as Barnes explains, there are compromises to be made.

“Typically, SMV machines of this size will have a Volvo 6-cylinder, 7 litre engine developing 185kw power with a corresponding transmission. This is too long for a short wheel base configuration so it is replaced with a Volvo 561-VE, a 5 litre, 4 cylinder engine which still delivers a powerful 155kw.”

200mm may not sound a lot to anyone not familiar with negotiating a path on a large forked machine using rear wheel steering but in practical terms it can make a very big difference. Paul Gillingham, Engineering Manager of the Port of Poole, obviously appreciated the advantages, commenting:

“The Konecranes machines are well established within the port and the addition of short wheel base technology has provided us with a new storage dimension that was not there previously. Other than the size, the machines share all of the other idiosyncrasies of the rest of our fleet.”