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Stertil Koni Earthlifts simplify handling of military vehicles

Having used a wide range of different vehicle lifts, Commercial & Military Engineering Limited (CME) decided to specify three sets of Stertil Koni mobile column Earthlifts to support maintenance and servicing operations.

Established in 2011 by its two founding partners, Stephen Wallis and Kevin Goodman, CME offers a combined total of 50 years’ engineering experience in commercial vehicle support and specialist military vehicles. The company’s headquarters at Bilsthorpe near Newark incorporates two fully-equipped workshops staffed by an experienced team of vehicle engineers and technicians.

The 8200kg capacity Stertil Koni Earthlifts are used to simplify the handling of many types of vehicles such as buses, including Bendibuses, coaches and 8-wheel military vehicles. In typical use, as a set of four mobile columns, the lifts provide a combined capacity of over 32 tonnes. However, when lifting heavier or longer vehicles, such as 18.6 metres long Bendibuses and military recovery vehicles, additional columns may be added up to a maximum of eight columns per set.

The initial two sets of Earthlifts were purchased to replace an outdated installation of cabled lifts and, as expected, they introduced an ideal combination of mobility and versatility. In fact, such was the immediate success of the Earthlifts that CME decided to purchase a third set to support the work of its team of mobile engineers that undertakes repair, maintenance and servicing activities at customers’ premises. The ability to take a set of Earthlifts off site and use them without the need for any installation has been warmly welcomed by CME’s customers.

In designing and developing the Earthlift, Stertil Koni aimed to set the ‘green’ standard in the industry by producing an environmentally friendly lift. The result is an ergonomically efficient, economically productive and user-friendly model, which contributes towards the reduction of a business’s carbon footprint. One of its most innovative features is a unique Active Energy Retrieval System which uses gravity and the load of the lifted vehicle to retrieve energy and then store it in the batteries of the lift’s wireless mobile columns.

The principle of the Active Energy Retrieval System is as brilliant as it is simple – to use the energy generated by the raised vehicle as it comes back down: in other words, to regain the gravitational energy. The new system increases the number of lifting cycles by about 35%, compared to a fully-charged set of wireless mobiles under maximum load. In addition to the reduction in power consumption, the Earthlift’s batteries need less recharging, thus also increasing productivity and reducing costs.

Importantly, the Earthlift features a control system that has been specially developed for industrial applications and not susceptible to interference. The absence of cables provides maximum access to vehicles, with no risk of tripping, and also makes the installation of the columns quicker and simpler. The Earthlift’s variable raising and lowering speeds mean that vehicles can be positioned extremely accurately which can be particularly important when removing or replacing heavy components such as engines and transmissions.

Commenting on the success of the mobile column lifts, Stephen Wallis, CME’s co-founder, says, "We’ve used many different types of vehicle lifts over the years and we’ve yet to find one that comes even close to the performance of the Earthlifts. They are used constantly in our workshops and their combination of versatility and reliability enables us to work on 10 or 12 vehicles in a typical week. Productivity is superb and we’re able to turn jobs round very quickly. The range of vehicles we work on is very wide but we can rely on the performance of the Earthlifts, whether in our workshops or at our customers’ premises, with complete confidence."

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