Structural steelwork contractors and fabricator Caunton Engineering has taken delivery of one of Combilift’s newest products, a Combilift Straddle Carrier, which is being put to very effective and space saving use in the storage yard of the company’s premises in Nottingham

As one of the UK’s leading fully automated contractors Caunton offers a one stop solution to most steel construction needs and has been involved in prestigious award winning projects in the commercial, leisure, transport and public sectors and more. Due to the volume of materials handled – over 25,000 tonnes of steel a year – a streamlined logistical process is a crucial element of the company’s operation.

Cost effective solution

Safer operation, better use of space and much quicker procedures were the main factors behind the decision to go with the Straddle Carrier according to production director, Mark White, “We asked our handling consultants Windsor Materials Handling for some advice on heavier capacity machines capable of coping with 16t loads, and together with Combilift’s Stephen Wells they recommended we look at the Straddle Carrier, which had just been introduced into Combilift’s range.”

The Combilift Straddle Carrier was developed as a cost effective solution for handling containers and similarly oversized loads, and is therefore ideally suited for Caunton’s bespoke loads such as girders and prefabricated items that range from 12m to 23m in length.

“We chose Windsor as our preferred supplier due to the company’s track record of expertise and Windsor’s Andy Lane was spot on with his recommendation,” says White. “Since taking delivery of the machine, which has a 30t lift capacity, we have seen considerable benefits and have much better control of our logistics. For example, we can now unload a delivery truck in just 10 minutes.”

As the name of the machine implies, the frame and wheels of the Straddle Carrier are positioned either side of the load, which has enabled aisle widths between stacked product to be set at just 1m, compared to the 3.5m previously needed (for manoeuvring forklifts). The space this has created in the yard will make it much easier for Caunton to deal with any delays in customers’ projects without impacting on their own production schedules. Mark adds: “Our ability to store finished products was limited in the past if customers had to put back delivery, but the extra capacity will avoid on-site congestion, and also allow us to buy in quantity when the price is advantageous.”

The low level transportation of very heavy and potentially dangerous loads has also contributed to better health and safety procedures as risky lifting at height is no longer necessary. In spite of its size the Straddle Carrier’s ability to turn on its axis makes for impressive manoeuvrability, and the low set, easy to access operator cab affords excellent 360 degree °visibility. In addition the three wheel patented design ensures maximum stability with all three wheels permanently in ground contact even when travelling across rougher surfaces.

Innovative handling solutions

Windsor Materials Handling is a family owned business which was established in 1977, with eight depots nationwide. The company provides innovative solutions enabling businesses across a wide range of sectors to optimise their handling procedures.

Combilift is the leading global manufacturer of the Combilift range of four-way forklifts, narrow aisle trucks and other units designed for the safe and space saving handling of long and bulky loads in confined spaces. The company was established in 1998 by technical director, Robert Moffett and MD, Martin McVicar, and true to its slogan – ‘Customised Handling Solutions’ – Combilifts are tailor made to individual customer requirements.

More than 14,000 Combilift products have now been sold in over 50 countries and the company has won numerous industry awards for its products. Combilift manufactures all of its products at its facility and global HQ in Monaghan. Substantial investment in R&D (nine per cent of its annual turnover) keeps the company at the forefront of innovation in the materials handling industry.