Designers at Steelbro are constantly improving their rugged SB450 sidelifter without compromising on ‘safety’ which continues to be their number one focus. Throughout the design process, a constant eye is kept on safety. Although the SB450 sidelifter was built to work under the most extreme of conditions, transfers of containers weighing up to 45 tonnes can still be made easily within a “safe” working envelope.
An emergency stop button is located on the remote control that will shut down the engine and stop all operations once the button is activated.
The sidelifter stabiliser legs are fitted with an interlock system that prevent lifts from being attempted without the stabiliser legs being deployed. A plunger switch is fitted to the stabiliser housing and is activated when the foot has positive downward pressure. Until that time, the lifting arms are disabled.
The hydraulic system is fitted with pilot operated over-centre valves on the crane arm cylinders. These are factory pre-set to cope with unforeseen shock loads or attempts to lift more than the crane’s maximum lifting capacity.
Special over-centre valves:
- Prevent the arms from moving unless there is a pressure signal from the main hydraulic valve.
- Help keep the movement of the load controlled and constant when being lowered, regardless of the pressure that may be in the cylinder.
- Ensure that the cylinders are held in position, should the hydraulic system lose pressure. This stops the arms from dropping and prevents any run away of the load in the event of a hose failure.
The hydraulic system is also fitted with a High Speed/Load Sense Unloader Valve which limits working pressure when operating in high speed mode. This prevents the engine from overload.
The team at Steelbro has also developed a way of operating a sidelifter with safe and speedy precision. They found a way of achieving smoother, more stable container loading and unloading that gives more speed control, allows for higher speeds, and reduced stress fatigue on the crane arms. This is known as “Proportional Control”.
Using “Proportional Control”, loading a container onto a sidelifter is possible in less than five minutes. The Danfoss proportional controls built into each system provide for smooth control of the container load at all times, ensuring maximum safety and product reliability. The Steelbro sidelifter can be used to place a shipping container with precision anywhere a truck can access. Containers are handled with fine movements and with varying amounts of speed and can be positioned accurately, quickly, easily and – importantly – safely, irrespective of weight.
Support for the Proportional Control system is overwhelming. In Malaysia, operators at SMG Mega Sappire described the sidelifter “…as having more customer control than other units. They are more reliable and safer to load and unload heavy containers. They were found to be safer to operate with the joystick.”
Safety is key for a growing number of Malaysian operators. Mr Tee Wah Meng, Director of Viva Haulage Sdn Bhd says “The sidelifter has increased the speed of our operation and the volume of containers we can handle. Our operators at Viva have described the Steelbro units as convenient to use and safe to operate.”
Sidelifter operators at Nova Haulage are huge fans too. One operator described the Steelbro unit as “…very safe to work with. It has improved the way I do my work.” Another operator said “it’s the most reliable sidelifter to work with in any conditions.” According to Nova’s Mr Siva, “We have used competitor units – they are commercially more expensive and generally result in more downtime in operation due to their lightweight design and manufacture. We chose the Steelbro units based price, durability and safety and we like the double stacking feature. We consider Steelbro to be the pioneer in Malaysia.”
Manager of Klang based Troplast, Ms Lee says “The fleet of Steelbro sidelifters is crucial to the efficiency of our operation. The units have definitely helped our operation by increasing the number of containers we can move and safety is improved significantly… the company faces new growth challenges and will continue to strive to achieve quality services, whilst keeping safety as a top priority.”
When choosing Steelbro as the supplier, Ng Yau Hon, Operations Manager at Yal Bulk Packing Services SDN BHD, says “Choosing the right equipment is essential for our business. We looked at price, safety, durability and return on investment.”
First published in Asian Trucker Issue 46