Combilift’s heavyweight solution
Concrete is the foundation of the German company Tenwinkel GmbH & Co.KG, which develops and manufactures concrete counterweights, moulded parts and technical components and is the world leader in its market. Established over 60 years ago it continues to be a family run operation headed up by brothers Stefan and Markus Tenwinkel. Based not far from the Dutch border, it supplies its international customers with front and rear weights for agricultural equipment, special ballasts for construction machinery and has recently added crane test weights to its portfolio. Tenwinkel has also developed award winning coatings for its high density concrete products which offer protection in the event of impacts or collisions.
Products range in weight from just 10kg to around 30t, and the challenge of handling ever larger and heavier loads prompted the brothers to rethink the handling equipment that was previously used. “The demands of customers we now deal with, such as Liebherr for example, are influencing the size and weight of our finished products, so the combination of a counterbalance forklift and an indoor crane wasn’t up to the job any longer. This why we now have the unmissable yellow Combi-MG mobile gantry on site, which not only impresses everyone who sees it but does an impressive job for us too,” said Stefan Tenwinkel.
Stefan had a good idea of what he was looking for, and once he had found it the highly customisable Combi-MG’s specifications were worked out together with the with the help of the local Combilift dealer to accord to the company’s exact requirements. This has resulted in a very flexible and mobile solution for lifting weights around the premises and loading them for dispatch, and one which is constantly on the go. It’s more efficient than the forklift, which was only really suitable for handling the lighter loads, and its ability to move around independently is of course an improvement on the limitations of the fixed indoor crane.
With a lift capacity of 30t, the LPG powered unit needs surprisingly little space to manoeuvre, can access all areas of the facility and is able to move above and between finished products stacked in the yard. Its light own weight enables it to cope well with the varying ground surfaces, even poor ones such as gravel – and in all weather conditions. When products are ready for delivery they are simply attached by chains fixed onto the Combi-MG, lifted up, driven over to the transporter and lowered onto the truck bed.
“Thanks to its design, manoeuvrability and its multidirectional steering which enables it to turn on the spot we can ensure space saving storage in the yard and can move our loads in a safer manner than with the forklift,” says Tenwinkel. “The remote control function – which is quick, intuitive and precise to use – allows the procedure to be carried out by just one operator without the need for a banksman and offers good visibility of the load and machine from any angle and at all times.
To ensure easy access to the production facilities, the dimensions of the Combi-MG were tailored to fit: the width of 4750mm and height of 5425mm enables it to pass through hall doorways and the telescopic facility with a maximum height of 7725mm means that it can also be used for positioning manufacturing tools. This indoor/outdoor capability is therefore a further benefit.
During busy times output can be as high as 100 weights per day (so around 18,000 – 20,000 a year) so versatile and speedy handling is a must. The quick travelling speed of the Combi-MG enables schedules to be adhered to – loading 14t counterweights for Liebherr mobile cranes for example is now done in a matter of minutes.
When using specialist machines with no spare equipment available, reliable operation is crucial and the Tenwinkel’s Combi-MG has been dependable. As a manufacturer, Combilift has a policy of avoiding the use of over sensitive components and electronics in its products to make them tough workhorses for tough jobs and to reduce the likelihood of downtime.
“It was a bit of a challenge to find a suitable solution,” says Tenwinkel, “but Combilift made it happen. We’re also not the only ones to benefit by the way: when we needed to lift really large loads we used to borrow a forklift from a neighbouring company and now when they need a heavyweight we can help out with the Combi-MG.”