Combilift is widely acknowledged as a specialist in the customisation of its products and its range of Combi-SC Straddle Carriers is no exception. Designed for the safer, more cost effective and flexible handling of containers and oversized loads, every straddle carrier that comes off the production line has been built in accordance with the specific requirements of the end customer.

The overall dimensions, the most suitable features and choice of power options are determined through close consultation with Combilift engineers and personnel on the ground in Combilift’s many export markets to provide the best solution for what can often be multiple challenges. This was indeed the case for a meat processing and freezing facility situated in Waikato in the North Island of New Zealand; the company needed a machine capable of handling refrigerated shipping containers inside a low tunnel whilst also being able to load them onto truck and trailer units outside. A further issue was the relatively undulating and poor quality terrain in the yard.

Dave Comber of Combilift New Zealand explains the background: “The facility was built decades ago when trains were used to deliver wagons to the tunnel to be loaded with frozen meat and the ceiling height of the tunnel was based on the wagons’ dimensions. This procedure eventually became cost prohibitive compared with truck and trailer road transportation of refrigerated containers, but this created other drawbacks in terms of timing: offloading via a swing lift trailer as well as delivery and removal of full and empty containers was dependent on the arrival of hauliers on site, which often entailed considerable downtime for all concerned.”

So, ever up for a challenge, Combilift New Zealand and the engineers at the global HQ in Ireland designed the Ultra Low Profile Combi-SC unit which has a collapsed height of just 4.2m. Its telescopic facility enables it to extend to a height of 6.2m, but the key dimension in this case is the 2.1m distance available from the ground to the underside of the container. This offers significant clearance for loading high cube containers outside onto high truck or trailer decks. This flexibility avoids logistical headaches and enables the customer to keep up with a busy production schedule. Compared with other types of heavy handling equipment, the 3-wheeled unit’s very light footprint also enables seamless outdoor operation on all ground surfaces.

“Both companies involved – the freezing facility and the haulier – have been very impressed with Combilift’s solution-based approach to supply a machine that is 100% fit for purpose and one which they view as having been a catalyst for increased productivity and improved health and safety,” said Dave Comber. “Very low overhead structures or ceiling heights were previously considered to be restricting factors for the use of Straddle Carriers, but the Combilift Ultra-Low Profile SC3TA model has proved otherwise. We now have multiple units of these models working in New Zealand, enabling our customers to ensure productive operations even when faced with less than ideal building layouts or infrastructure.”

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