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Stepping up to the plate with Combilift

11 January 2019

Dutch steel stockholder has doubled storage and handling speeds with a highly customised, remote controlled Combi-SC Straddle Carrier.

Lifting and moving 35t loads of steel plate efficiently and safely is a tough job at wholesale distributor De Boer Staal, and one that, Operations Manager Rico Honselaar knows only too well. Having looked at various methods for handling these extreme loads at the site near Amsterdam, he found the solution with a 35t Combi-SC which, he says, is “ideal, flexible and cost effective.”  

A highly customised Combi-SC was developed which includes features such as a hydraulic spreader with clamps which independently clamp the front and rear of the load when it is lifted. The dimensions were also tailor made for De Boer Staal - the machine is 1.3m wider in the load area than standard, at 4.3m, and the height is 4.25m compared to the standard 4.95m to accommodate the size of the plates and to enable the machine to go inside without needing a telescopic facility. The light own weight of the Combi-SC compared with that of other heavy duty forklifts is also an advantage as there was no need for any ground reinforcement.

The machine’s small turning circle and manoeuvrability enable it to go anywhere on site and space utilisation has been optimised. Rico reckons that 50% more stock can now be accommodated as plates can be stored closely together with just a couple of metres width between each stack- this would have been impossible with a heavy duty forklift which needs large areas for manouevering. At busy times the Combi-SC is on the go for 10 hours a day, moving 10,000t of plates and significant time savings have also been achieved when it comes to loading and unloading trailers: the Combi-SC can unload ten loads from one trailer a day compared with five using a crane. 

De Boer Staal chose a remote control model for a number of reasons: the relatively compact size of the premises makes it suitable for pedestrian operation for a start, and it can be operated by one employee without the need for a banksman. All round visibility of the working environment together with a lack of manual handling guarantees a high level of safety for all personnel involved.

“Our Combi-SC gives us the independence to offload and move our loads whenever and to wherever we want and we have maximised our space utilisation so we can order in volume and stock larger quantities of plate than before”.