For over 140 years, Steelbro has maintained an international reputation for superior design and innovative manufacturing. The Engineers & Design team at Steelbro’s New Zealand base in Christchurch are constantly striving for excellence in design. This positive research and development drive have been key to helping Steelbro retain its position as a dominant force in the global transport industry.
Steelbro’s latest model focused on delivering a further reduction in tare weight and faster deployments of stabilisers, whilst ensuring that safety in operation and quality of materials and components was enhanced. The new SB363 36T lifting capacity was launched in 2019.
It was at the 2019 Brisbane truck show that Robert Verdino, General Manager Sidelink Transport, first noticed the SB363. He was immediately drawn to how lean the machine looked in comparison with its predecessors. Steelbro staff were able to confirm what Robert was seeing, the SB363 was nearly a tonne lighter than the SB362 Steelbro model. According to Robert “This was huge for us as we are always pushing our trailer suppliers to look at ways to save weight.”
Established in 2007, Sidelink Transport is a family owned and operated business based in Tottenham, Melbourne. Sidelink began as a one sideloader operation with a vision to offer a competitive price and reliable service. Sidelink now boasts one of the largest sideloader fleets in Melbourne with 19 sideloaders, the vast majority of them being Steelbro. The company also has a variety of HPFV (High productivity freight vehicles) and Single skel trailers. The Sidelink depot operates 24 hours a day, 6 days a week offering around the clock wharf collections. Sidelink also offer safe and secure container storage. Sidelink’s winning formula is their “Never Say No” attitude and commitment to minimise cost.
According to Steelbro, the SB363 is Steelbro’s lightest model with a tare weight of just 9.6 tonnes. This has a significant impact on payload possibilities, without any sacrifice to strength or durability. This light tare weight was an important factor in Sidelink’s purchase decision.
“Over recent years, it has become evident that clients are looking to maximise container space by packing more freight into each shipment. This poses a problem for road carriers as we are constantly challenged to find ways to deliver clients freight on time and within road limits.
In the past, we have always looked at creative ways to minimise tare weight when building our trailers which becomes a difficult balancing act between weight and compromising the structural integrity of the trailer. Given the tare weight of the SB363, our life has been made easier given the huge weight saving on the modules.” said Robert
Steelbro’s SB363 also delivered other improvements such as improved lift speeds. A higher flow rate hydraulic system has meant there has been a 30% increase in the speed it takes to deploy and stow stabilisers, saving valuable operator time and speeding up efficiencies. This was another tick for Robert and his team. They have not been disappointed. According to Robert “Since introducing the SB363 to their fleet in August 2020, it has been working 2 shifts over a 24 hour period. The operators using the SB363 are still staggered by how quick the machine is claiming that it compares to nothing that they have ever used before.”
The SB363 has fewer components and simplified electrical and hydraulic fault diagnostics, which all help to lower maintenance costs and improve overall operational efficiency. This impressed Robert especially the practical positioning of components such as the manual override levers and the ISO fuel tank. The new tank has been designed for easy cleaning and extra service indicators and allows central mounting.
For ease of use, the SB363 is more operator friendly with its upgraded proportional control giving smoother operation, a more responsive joystick and improved crane synchronisation. Robert said “ It was evident that the Steelbro engineers really thought about driver usability when designing this model.”
Purchasing a sideloader is a key investment decision and safety is a key consideration for Sidelink Transport. Robert explained “The number one question we ask ourselves prior to any purchase is, how is this product going to prevent an accident from happening and keep our people safe? Given most of our fleet consists of 362 models built between 2014 – 2019, our operators were already familiar with the smart lift system, however after seeing the upgraded functions to the 363 system and the amount of detail gone into the accident prevention system, it was a no brainer for us to introduce the 363 to the Sidelink fleet.”
The enhanced SMARTlift II next generation of load monitoring system provides a colour display with high resolution screen, clearer messaging, simpler diagnostics and maintenance as well as environmental protection.
The SB363 has a large outreach of 4.05m which makes it easier handling of misaligned containers. Stabiliser options include the standard ‘Tilt and Extend’ as well as the ‘Bridge Leg’. The optional SB363 Bridge Leg allows a container to be placed close up against a wall with a 500 mm gap between the container and the Sidelifter.
Sidelink Transport stage all containers through their brand-new depot in Truganina using HPFV vehicles. This ensures that their sideloaders are constantly working round the clock and avoiding delays at terminals ensuring their client’s requirements are consistently met on time. Sidelink Transport has built a strong reputation as being Melbourne`s most reliable sideloader service.
Sidelink have developed a strong working relationship with the Howard Porter team. Robert personally visited the Howard Porter Perth, WA factory in 2018. He was amazed by the footprint Howard Porter have in the mining sector in WA, building for some of the nation’s leading mining giants. Robert commented “Their influence in the mining sector has clearly been reflective in the Steelbro product over the years as we have found their chassis to be strong and resilient product.”
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