How to Load a 58-Ton Forklift Using a 50-Ton Capacity Crane?

At one of the Netherlands’ busiest shipping ports, stevedores had a big problem. They needed big, durable 58-ton Hyster forklifts to operate inside the big ships that docked at the port. But the cranes used at the port only had the capacity to lift up to 50 tons.

So how can you lift 58-ton forklifts onto ships while using only a 50-ton crane?

Simple: Break one big job down into two smaller pieces.

Break the Forklift in Two

That’s exactly the solution that Hyster’s special projects engineering department came up with, according to Chris van der Werdt, commercial manager for Hyster big trucks.

Hyster engineers took an H40XM012 lift truck and modified it so that its 10-ton counterweight was detachable. Crane operators could then lift the counterweight and the forklift — which now weighs only 48 tons — onto the ships in two separate pieces, then reattach the counterweights onto the vehicles once they were safely onboard.

Here’s a video that shows the procedure in action:

The two-part truck is equipped with a four-point locking system on the counterweight that automatically unlocks when the counterweight is lifted by the crane. This allowed the port to use its existing cranes while still allowing the bigger forklifts to be loaded safely onto the ships.

Challenges of Stevedoring

Coming up with the unique solution was all in a day’s work for Hyster’s engineers, according to van der Werdt.

“Stevedoring heavy cargo can sometimes pose difficulties when it comes to efficiently loading and unloading ships,” van der Werdt said in a news release. “While Hyster forklift trucks offer the toughness needed in demanding port environments, there are occasionally unique challenges like this to overcome that require the addition of industry-leading custom engineering and bespoke solutions. We work with customers and partners closely to help ensure that whatever challenge they face, we have a solution for their application.”

Heavy Duty Machinery

Hyster’s special engineering department is based at the forklift maker’s plant in Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, which also is the company’s center for big truck design, development, and testing.

Hyster’s H40XM-12 is built to handle general cargo, as well as 20-foot cargo containers and features fork pockets in all weathers. The vehicle gives port operators maximum flexibility from a single truck thanks in part to its robust axle, which provides stability and durability even while handling heavy loads.

The forklift also has  strong, reliable power train that is suited to stevedoring.


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