New Metro Sidelifter – Light and Quick

New Metro Sidelifter – Light and Quick

The latest release from the New Zealand based Engineers & Design team at Steelbro is the SB303 30T lifting capacity Sidelifter.  “Our research and insight programme identified a need for a fast, light Sidelifter for use within an urban environment to deliver and pick up both 20’ and 40’ containers.  To deliver this to the market the team designed the SB303. “ said Richard Brown Research and Development Manager

This inline crane design is light with tare weights starting from just 7T.  It provides the user with fast movement of containers from trailer to ground and ground to trailer with its ability to quickly deploy and stow stabilisers.

The key to increased speed is the new Steelbro HYDRAlift hydraulic system technology which is used on the SB303. This is a fundamental rethink of Sidelifter control combined with the latest in hydraulic piston pump technology and a new advanced proportional control valve.  It provides the Sidelifter with:

  • Excellent Machine Controllability:
    The multi-function operation via proportional joystick control and improved flow sharing technology enables precision control throughout the lift.  This functionality ensures containers can be delivered safely at speed.
  • Optimal System Efficiency
    Optimised horsepower utilisation enables the efficient use of engine power. Making it cost effective to run.
  • Enhanced Speed Control
    Intelligent use of available oil flow allows for better engine and pump utilisation.
  • Ease of Service
    The single central control valve halves the number of proportional valve sections per Sidelifter which minimising servicing costs.

Quality and reliability have not been compromised in the SB303 and customers can expect the same longevity of life they experience with all Steelbro Sidelifter models.

The SB303 has a large outreach of 3.64m and is optimised to perform pick up and delivery of containers from ground to trailer and trailer to ground only. It can lift both single rear 20’, 40’ and 2x20ft containers.

The SB303 is fitted with the enhanced SMARTlift II next generation of load monitoring system.  This is the latest evolution of Steelbro’s SMARTlift load monitoring system that has been continuously improved since its release in 2005.  SMARTlift II provides users with the additional benefits of a colour display with high resolution screen, clearer messaging, simpler diagnostics and maintenance as well as environmental protection.

The SB303 offers customers an efficient simple design Sidelifter with provides low operational and servicing costs making it a handy addition to any Sidelifter fleet.

Click here for more SB303 information

or Contact us for pricing and delivery details


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Steelbro and Howard Porter strengthen support in Brisbane

Steelbro and Howard Porter strengthen support in Brisbane

Sidelifter specialists Steelbro and WA Trailer manufacturer Howard Porter are expanding their footprint in Australia with the opening of a strategically located sales and service operation in Brisbane.

Newly appointed Business Development Sales and Service Manager Malcolm Newcombe will be based in the new Brisbane facility supporting customers across the east coast of Australia for both Sidelifter and trailer sales.

The new sales and workshop facility at 130 Benjamin Place, Lytton, Port of Brisbane precinct is well located to increase direct support to customers with good access to the Brisbane Port motorway. 

The facility will provide Sidelifter servicing, repairs, and maintenance for all Sidelifter brands and models and will also stock a wide range of genuine Steelbro parts. New Sidelifter sales will also be supported by technical support and training from the Brisbane base.

“We are focussed on increasing customer satisfaction.  The new facility reflects our dedication to increase support and product back up.  We are excited to be able to offer, directly, a wide range of services and support for the Steelbro brand to customers in the greater Brisbane area. The new facility also enables us to stock a range of Howard Porter trailers for direct sale into the Queensland market.” Said Roy Lombardi, Managing Director

Malcom Newcombe joined the Steelbro team in early August in the role of Business Development Sales and Service Manager covering the territories of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.  Newcombe has over 15 years’ experience within the trailer industry.

 “Adding Malcolm to the team with his extensive industry connections at the same time as opening the facility will enable us to deliver our strategy of increased growth and position us as a supplier of choice for customers in the region,” said Roy Lombardi.

Contact us to find out more about our September opening special

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Design innovation the STEELBRO way

Design innovation the STEELBRO way

Have you ever wondered what goes in to designing a Sidelifter Crane? In this article we unpack this with STEELBRO.

What you might not know is that all STEELBRO Sidelifters are designed in Christchurch, New Zealand.  This is the location of the STEELBRO head office and our world class design team. You may also be surprised to know that the history of the STEELBRO company dates back over 142 years to 1878 when the Steel brothers started making horse-drawn carts in Christchurch!

One of the things that is special about STEELBRO is all the elements of the Sidelifter are designed in house. This includes both the crane and chassis components of the Sidelifter.  The chassis designs are modified to meet local requirements of STEELBRO markets around the world in partnership with local branches or partners.

The design team consists of qualified Mechanical, Electrical and Mechatronic Engineers. The average period of employment of our engineering team is 16 years’ at STEELBRO. Our team members have an in-depth knowledge of Sidelifter design and our customers’ requirements. The team also draws upon the expertise of our long-term supplier partners to incorporate the latest technology developments available, be they hydraulic, electronic or power train.Design graphic 1 | Steelbro

The innovation journey for any Sidelifter design starts by listening to the needs of customers and identifying the product attributes that will help solve the problems or issues that customers are facing.

Once the requirements are clear the design phase begins with Geometry Analysis. This identifies the best crane geometry for the desired application to optimise for outreach and rated capacity.  It identifies the location of the pivot points and hydraulic cylinder size requirements. The demanding environment that our Sidelifters work in means that the different jobs required of a Sidelifter must be considered from day one.  For STEELBRO this includes trailer to trailer, trailer to ground, double-stack and Intermodal work, as well as keeping compact low-lying cranes as a signature feature of the majority of the STEELBRO Sidelifters. This is a challenging job as a small adjustment in one parameter can have a major effect on the performance of another so there are many functional trade-offs to consider.

The Mechanical Engineering team take the next step to create the overall structure and put it through its paces using Finite Element Analysis (FEA).  This is computer modelling to strength and fatigue test the designs by performing thousands of virtual loading and unloading cycles to mirror the expected lifetime of a Sidelifter. This process allows any stress or fatigue issues to be identified early in the design and rectified to ensure the structure is optimised for strength while minimising tare weight.

FEA photo3 1 | Steelbro
FEA photo 2 1 | Steelbro

The hydraulic system is then developed in detail to suit the mechanical structure and the load requirements. An example is our recent SB363 single proportional control valve technology coupled with the new load sense piston pump. This enables 30% quicker deployment speeds by making optimal use of the power available from the engine. 

The electrical system including our printed circuit board design is all done in house.  The system features easy fault tracing by LED indicators for each circuit. New improvements that need to be implemented can be done quickly and seamlessly.  The electrical team have the technical expertise plus a deep understanding of the Sidelifter product and applications it’s a win-win.

The final piece in the puzzle is the Software Engineering. For STEELBRO this is the heart of the SMARTlift Sidelifter Load Monitoring System.  This controls and monitors the Sidelifter to enable work within the safe working envelope.  It utilises intelligent software and sensors to monitor and control the Sidelifter operation.  This allows customers to have the peace of mind that their investment is being used safely and within its capabilities. There is also the benefit of being easy to diagnose faults and access data on the operation of their Sidelifters through the display screen. In an increasingly data driven world this information can be invaluable to customers.

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Thunder Express is on a Roll, the Steelbro Sidelifter is there to Support

Thunder Express is on a Roll, the Steelbro Sidelifter is there to Support

Thundering into the haulage business, this operator uses Steelbro sidelifters to address the most pressing issues of their business: dependability and flexibility.

Located near Putrajaya, Thunder Express Sdn Bhd is deliberately located in the middle between the airport and Port Klang. With a background in logistics, the company initially focused on freight forwarding and the strategic placement of the office is a reflection of their business activity. Meeting with Calvin Wong and Joyce Sim, both Directors, we learn about how they managed to grow their business at lightning speed with the help of Steelbro’s sidelifters. As clients demand for fast service, the company name is a depiction of the way things are handled: lightning fast.

Thunder Express was established in 2014. At first, it was Wong working alone after he set up the company. He started alone in a small rented office in USJ, initially just providing the freight booking services, which included air and sea freight. He realised that this was not enough and that clients were asking for a full suite of services. Just offering partial solutions was not enough for the demanding clients he attracted. “In order to diversify the service in logistics and meet the requirement of customers, we applied for a customs brokerage license in 2017; and set up our haulage department in 2019. So we basically can provide A to Z services to our clients,” he summed up the company’s resume till date.

As an integrated service provider, Thunder Express does not specialise on a certain type of client, but emphasises flexibility and dependability. “What we found is that many times, when we outsourced services, the third party let us down. Sometimes we would only find out days later that the goods had not been moved as promised.” This kind of situation was not acceptable for Wong and he countered this risk of his name being tarnished by unreliable providers through vertical integration.

Prior to setting up the haulage department in 2019, serious research went into the planning. It was then, when Steelbro was added to the list of providers of assets. Reputation and dependability of Steelbro’s sidelifters was confirmed by other users and members of associations. Thunder Express handles various types of cargo in standard 20’ & 40’ containers, and also ISO tanks. Many customers request for shunting service, due to limited numbers of loading bays at their warehouse. Making up around 40 percent of the jobs, this is a key service offered. “This is where a sidelifter really shines and the ability to quickly move containers without using expensive gear has put us into a very advantageous situation.” Besides, for those premises who not have a loading bay, without sidelifter they will need to climb up the trailer for unstuffing. Has using the Steelbro sidelifter changed the operation and the types of work carried out? Yes it did, for example some of Thunder Express’ customers had to hire crane trucks to unload the container from the trailer, whereby a sidelifter can replace the crane truck and perform the same job at their side.

“Sidelifter truck also helped us to perform the jobs faster when we need to focus to turn in / turn out a big volume of containers from one premise to another.” Therefore providing sidelifter service will attract a wider customer base. The initial fleet of three prime movers and ten trailers, of which two were sidelifters has served Thunder Express well and the plan worked. Today, the fleet comprises of 11 trucks, 75 trailers and three Steelbro sidelifters. While the majority jobs are within the Klang Valley area, Thunder Express is able to operate throughout the peninsular. “Today, one of the main challenges we are facing is the congestion in ports globally. Being able to quickly move containers around using sidelifters is an advantage we have right now.” Since the acquisition of the sidelifters, Thunder Express has sent the trailers several times for normal service and parts replacement. So far the service level has been satisfactory according to Wong, whereby Steelbro managed to solve the issues in a timely manner, fast and accurate.

Drivers have to have at least two years’ experience before they would be considered by Thunder Express. Feedback from operators thus far is that the quality of Steelbro unit is reliable and the operation is safe and easy to control. “Safety consideration is very important to us, with SB450 we can carry the containers up to 45 tonnes freely. Think about heavy duty load, think about Steelbro,” added Sim. Durable and sustainable are terms used by the duo, reflecting their ambition for the business. Asked about future growth, Sim said that the company has still a lot of potential and more equipment, including Steelbro sidelifters will be added as and when demand supports this.

Sim, with a background in finance, is hoping to be able to repeat what she has been doing before joining her husbands’ business: take the company public. When asked about the secret ingredient for the fast success, Wong jokingly said that one has to find a very helpful spouse. Obviously, this constellation seems to work as Sim is applying a very sharp pencil when it comes to helping customers saving money. In turn, customers see Thunder Express not as just a transporter, but a partner that brings knowledge and equipment to the yard to make transportationseamless and cost-effective.

First published in Asian Trucker Issue 59

20210413 095246 scaled | Steelbro
20210413 091952 scaled | Steelbro

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