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Concrete specialist invests in straddle carrier

17 June 2019

The truck is one of the largest straddle carriers to be produced so far by specialist manufacturer Combilift.

The 75 tonne capacity Combi-SC replaced a previous combination of counterbalance forklifts and cranes and its arrival on the site at Moore Concrete in Ballymena has brought with it a host of benefits as Wilbert Moore explains. 

“Before we had the SC we had to stock pile product in the factories and periodically hire in cranes to move it out to our yard or onto trailers, which was both costly and inconvenient. The constant availability of the SC streamlines and speeds up this process which can now be carried out on a daily basis if needed – creating additional much needed space within the factories.” 

For Moore Concrete safety is a priority, so being able to handle long, heavy and potentially dangerous products at ground level before the SC raises them onto the trailer bed avoids any need for personnel to work at height, or to sling hooks onto loads when using cranes. The SC’s relatively light own weight and low axle loading for a machine with this lift capacity also means it works well on less than solid terrain that is found in some areas on the premises.     

Moore Concrete’s SC is an eight-wheeled diesel powered model, and although it is fitted with a driver’s cab, the remote control facility is mainly used. This allows for one-man operation compared to the three or four workers who were needed with the crane, offers excellent visibility and it’s very popular with operators such as Aaron Scott.

“Considering the actual size of the machine, it is really simple to operate with the remote control. I don’t need a banksman as I can walk around it myself when I’m working and it’s very quick - I can load a whole trailer’s worth of 70+ tonnes in just half an hour. Certain products such as staircases need to be loaded in a specific order and the SC’s carousel facility, multidirectional operation and crab steer make it easy to do this. The lifting mechanism is smooth and steady, side shift allows exact positioning and there is also much less risk of product damage which was always a possibility with the forks on forklift trucks.”  

With over 400 tonnes of concrete handled on a daily basis the Combi-SC is kept busy - so much so that it has it has clocked up over 12,000 hours since it was put into service in December 2017. It may well soon be joined by a second model due to Moore Concrete’s plans for expansion as Wilbert Moore explains: “We can currently manufacture structures up to 22m long, but the prestressed bed we plan to incorporate in our new factory will enable us to go up to 45m. This will enhance our product range but in doing so we also needed to consider how best to easily and safely handle these extreme lengths.”

David Vuagniaux from Combilift, Combilift engineers and the management at Moore Concrete came up with a solution that involves two remote controlled SCs working in tandem at either end of a load. This will double the present capacity of the one machine to enable 150 tonne loads to be lifted and moved around the site. The hydraulic telescopic facility on the SC and the extra-wide doors planned for the new factory will also enable the machine to lift products directly from the production lines for even more productive procedures.

“The service, advice and quality of the product that we received from Combilift has been very good,” said Wilbert Moore. “The reliability of the SC enables us to adhere to quick turnaround times so we don’t have to keep lorry drivers waiting for their deliveries, and health and safety is assured. We can look forward to building ever longer precast units without worrying about how we are going to handle these giant structures. The SC has been a very worthwhile investment.

Moore Concrete

Moore Concrete was established over 40 years ago by its Managing Director Wilbert Moore. What started as a one-man operation making concrete cattle slats for the local market is now a major supplier of quality precast concrete throughout the UK and Ireland. As well as delivering products for the building and agricultural sectors, the company has been involved in many prestigious civil engineering projects. The complexity and size of these bespoke civil units has significantly increased in recent years and to ensure the safe and efficient handling of the finished products the company has invested in one of the largest straddle carriers to be produced so far by specialist manufacturer Combilift.