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Oversized loads no problem with Combilift and KOOI-Reachforks®
Thursday, 14 May 2009 ( #410 )
Combilift Ltd is the world’s leading supplier of 4-way handling solutions, and has over 9,500 units operating in 50 countries around the world. This Irish based manufacturer has carved itself a very successful niche in the long load handling market by focusing on customised products according to individual user requirements. As well as a variety of chassis sizes, mast heights, platform lengths and power options, the choice of forks naturally plays a crucial role in the customisation process. MSE-Forks works closely with Combilift design engineers to supply a range of KOOI-ReachForks®  which are making a valuable contribution to the safer and space saving handling of extremely oversized loads across many industry sectors.

One of Combilift’s earliest customers was Lathams Ltd, a family business now in its 251st year of operation, and a leading importer and distributor of wood based sheet materials. Combilift fleets have been in operation at Latham depots (10 in all) across the UK since 2001, and have enabled these sites to maximise the amount of stock stored. KOOI-ReachForks® are used on a number of Latham’s Combilifts due to the extreme size of some of the products it stocks. At the company’s newly relocated  base in Dudley near Birmingham, these forks come into their own when handling one specific load – very large panels of MDF.

The panels measure 2620mm x 2070mm and weigh in at around 1.8t per pack, and other options for safely handling loads of this size were to use fixed longer than standard forks, or to add extensions, both of which had drawbacks. Materials Handling Manager Rob Clayton explains. "2m long fixed forks would be potentially dangerous when driving without a load, and extensions are time consuming to attach and detach. As we can retract and extend the KOOI-ReachForks® instantly and whenever we need to, this gives us the versatility to adapt to whatever types of loads we are handling, and ensures safe operation around the warehouse and in the yard."

The KOOI-ReachForks® fitted to the C4000 4t capacity Combilift are attached to a hydraulic fork positioner and are operated from within the cab for convenient adjustment by the driver. The forks easily extend across the truck bed for loading and unloading HGV’s, and make light work of lifting the packs up to 5m for storing in cantilever racking in the warehouse. The racking designated for the packs of MDF is also deeper than standard, in accordance with the depth of the panels, and once the load is in place, the forks can be retracted to enable the forklift to travel down other narrow aisles between racking, allowing for optimum storage density in the 12,000m² building.

The combination of the Combilift 4-way ability and the KOOI-ReachForks® has ensured the stable transportation of what was potentially a problematic load, and has given Latham’s an operational flexibility second to none.
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