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Unique short wheelbase forklift truck solution handles heavier loads

A bespoke solution from handling specialists Cooper SH has met the needs of a busy UK sea port.

The Port of Poole faces the common challenge that although commodities are becoming larger and heavier, the need of larger capacity lift trucks is compromising space in storage areas.

That issue has been solved after Cooper SH supplied Poole Harbour Commissioners with two 10-tonne capacity forklifts that have the same wheelbase as a traditional 8-tonne machine, thus increasing lift capacity but not at the expense of turning radii.

The forklifts, specified by Cooper SH and built by Konecranes, have a 2,800mm wheelbase – a full 200mm shorter than a conventional 10-tonne capacity machine. Stability is not compromised as additional ballast is used to compensate for length.

While a previous short-wheelbased version utilised the standard chassis for smaller machines, the new version represents a first in having a unique chassis length and also sitting comfortably within the 8 to 10-tonne range.

Chris Barnes, General Manager, South for Cooper SH explained: "The 8-tonne mark is generally a watershed where many suppliers will complete their range, while others, such as SMV, start their range at 10 tonnes.

"Until now, it was believed that the two-tonne jump in capacity was also a determining factor in physical size. Whilst this remains true in respect of height and wheel size, we can reduce the machine’s length yet retain capacity to 10 tonnes at 600mm load centre or even, if required, 12 tonnes at 600mm centre."

Konecranes last year supplied 18 short-wheelbase machines to Sapa Aluminium in Sweden rated 10 tonnes at 1,200mm load centre. However, as Barnes explains, there are compromises to be made.

"Typically, SMV machines of this size will have a Volvo 6-cylinder, 7 litre engine developing 185kw power with a corresponding transmission. This is too long for a short wheel base configuration so it is replaced with a Volvo 561-VE, a 5 litre, 4 cylinder engine which still delivers a powerful 155kw." EU step 3b is accommodated via a Volvo SCR system which is designed into the chassis.

Paul Gillingham, Engineering Manager of the Port of Poole, commented: "The Konecranes machines are well established within the port and the addition of short wheel base technology has provided us with a new storage dimension that was not there previously. Other than the size, the machines share all of the other idiosyncrasies of the rest of our fleet."

The two latest machines are part of a three-truck supply that brings the total Konecranes fleet at Poole to five, including 33 tonne and 16 tonne forklifts.

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