22/03/2021 - 08:39 am

Combilifts are a highlight for HAI 

Hammerer Aluminium Industries (HAI) employs a workforce of 1600 at its eight sites in Europe, and the company’s activities include supplying high-tech aluminium profiles and finished components as well as employing highly efficient recycling processes. It is now using three multidirectional forklifts from the Irish manufacturer Combilift, which ensure the safer and more efficient handling of extrusion billets at the company‘s HQ in Ranshofen, Austria.

The trucks have been in operation for about six months now, replacing the previous sideloaders, which, according to Christian Ertl, group manager of transport logistics casting, “had not exactly  impressed us with their track record of reliability.” Ertl and some of his team from HAI’s finishing and loading division visited a steel processing plant in another part of Austria where Combilifts had been in operation for some time to check out their capabilities and get the drivers‘ opinions.

“We like to involve those who will actually operate the trucks in the decision making process,” said Ertl, “and after seeing them in action we all agreed that Combilift’s products fitted the bill perfectly. The advantages of the 4-way concept that combines front and side loading technology are significant compared to conventional forklifts. The ability to turn the wheels with just the touch of a button to change the direction of travel is of great benefit, particularly in the packing station, where space is pretty limited.”

Two 14t capacity C14000 models and an 8t C8000 truck, all diesel powered, were chosen as the best solutions for the tough operational requirements at HAI. The 7500mm long and 1200mm deep bundles of billets, which can weigh up to 7000kg, need safe and efficient handling inside in the production area and packing station as well as stable transportation to the interim storage area outside. They also need to be able to cope with an intensive 4-shift schedule and clock up operational hours of around 3000 a year per truck.

Space is not only at a premium in the packing station but elsewhere on the premises, including the outdoor storage area, where the billets are stored on cantilever racking up to a height of 3m, as well as the HGV loading zone. To maximise the available space, a guided-aisle system was implemented between the racking, enabling operational aisle widths to be narrowed down to just 3620mm. Telescopic forks, which can reach across the whole of the trailer bed, were fitted to the C14000 models to enable loading from just one side, once again enabling best use of space.

One of Combilift’s acknowledged strengths is its ability to customise its products according to specific individual requirements, and this was the case at HAI too, to make the daily tasks of the drivers as straightforward as possible. Features included in HAI’s fleet include a reversing and fork camera, air conditioning, hands-free phone and an air-suspension comfort seat. The high cab position guarantees maximum safety as it offers a clear overview of the load, the forks and the direction of travel.

Ertl sums up: “These robust and powerful trucks from Combilift now ensure an efficient and more cost effective operation. Thanks to the co-operation with the manufacturer as well as the excellent advice from Wiener Stapler- und Fördertechnik, we were able to find a handling solution that meets all of our requirements.”

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