C4000 was launched onto the market in 1998, and was the world's first three-wheel, all-wheel drive, IC powered multidirectional forklift. Its ability to change the direction of the truck's wheels by the push of a button to transport long loads sideways in narrow confines was immediately recognised as a revolutionary development. No more awkward manoeuvering to get a 6m load through a narrow access door, or around a busy production facility, plus safer low-level transportation of goods around obstacles such as parked vehicles in the yard.
23 years later, models of the C-Series
are available in multiple variants, with a wide range of lift capacities, power options and attachments. When it comes to handling long, heavy and potentially difficult loads whilst guaranteeing utmost safety and productivity, they are unmatched.
This was a reason why Hammerer Aluminium Industries chose two 14t capacity C14000 models and an 8t C8000 to ensure the safer and more efficient handling of extrusion billets at its HQ in Ranshofen, Austria. HAI has 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.
The trucks replaced 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 another Combilift customer in Austria to see the trucks action, "and we all agreed that Combilift's products fitted the bill perfectly," said Ertl. "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 our packing station, where space is pretty limited."
Combilift Corporate Video - the best choice of forklift trucks for handling long loads
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. The trucks also need to be able to cope with an intensive 4-shift schedule, and they clock up operational hours of around 3,000 a year each.
Space is also at a premium in the outdoor storage area, where the billets are stored on cantilever racking up to a height of 3m, as well as in 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 allow 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. Features fitted to 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 now ensure an efficient and more cost effective operation and meet all of our handling requirements."
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