Need a lift? 07 March 2013

Several new arrivals are providing more choice for fleet managers needing vehicle cranes and loaders. John Challen casts his eye over some of the offerings

Although demand from the commercial vehicle industry for loaders and cranes is relatively small, it is growing. Operators looking for cost-effective and safe solutions for loading and unloading vehicles are also considering their options more carefully – many choosing to shun standalone equipment in favour of integrated, vehicle-based systems. So it comes as no surprise to see more entrants into the sector, as well as upgrades to current models and the technology behind them.

In the loader area, Moffett has, historically, enjoyed the lion's share, with its forklifts regularly seen mounted on the back of trucks. But now, Terberg DTS – typically a supplier of maintenance and parts support services – has seen an opportunity with its own equipment.

Robin Johnson, head of rental and special products at Terberg DTS, has high hopes for his Kinglifter brand, despite being keenly aware of the competition. He says it was recently relaunched in Germany, and says the company is now looking for similar success in the UK with three models: Kinglifter S, M and MC.

"Our S model is compact, and typically used for brewery and low weight applications,"" he explains. "It comes with fixed or retractable legs and several options. The M and MC are the main movers, though – the former powered by a base 31bhp engine, and featuring one- or three-wheel drive. These trucks can work with sideloaders, and provide a lifting capacity of 2—2.8 tonnes with a lifting height of 2.8m."

In operation
Johnson believes that material choice and payload could make the difference for fleet managers deciding between forklifts. "Moffett models have a lot of GRP [glass reinforced plastic], which can be prone to damage, whereas ours use stainless steel," he explains. "Unladen weight is critical but we are competitive there, too, as well as offering higher horsepower option, and more mast and fork reach variants."

One development, expected by the end of this month, from Terberg is a new mast design – a clear-view pantograph, which allows unobstructed user vision. "There are safety advantages," explains Johnson, "but it also helps stability and is lighter, so it can work at higher speeds, meaning a potential for extra efficiency."

Meanwhile, in the truck-mounted cranes arena, Ingimex has recently introduced a model that offers a hydraulic boom extension reach of 3.2m, and the ability to handle loads to one tonne. Among highlights are stabiliser legs that cut imposed loads on the vehicle chassis, reduce chassis movements and increase operator safety.

Again, Ingimex says it paid close attention to that all-important payload. Thanks to developments, such as integrating the crane support structure into the body's subframe (instead of requiring a complete new subframe), the unit tips the scales at 390kg.

The company also confirms that the crane installation is compatible with many of its existing add-ons, including tow bars, tool boxes, work lamps, reversing sensors, cab-mounted rotating beacons and sideboard-mounted footsteps.

For operator safety, the installation is tested to the requirements of EN12999. This standard requires that the crane incorporates features such as audible and visual warning, if the boom is not correctly stowed, and a cut-out so that the crane cannot be operated when the stabiliser legs are retracted.

Back at Terberg, there is a word of warning about getting the best out of your vehicle loading specification. Johnson asserts that, while cranes and loaders might not be central to fleet engineers' concerns, they do need suitable maintenance.

"We are quite happy to quote R&M packages for the Kinglifter range, because sometimes we see them as the forgotten piece of kit," he reasons. "It might just be attached to the back of the vehicle, but it works in an arduous environment and still needs to be professionally maintained."

John Challen

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Related Companies
Ingimex Ltd
Moffett Engineering Ltd
Terberg DTS (UK) Ltd

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