Case Studies

More Efficient and Safer Long Load Steel Handling with Combilift's Straddle Carrier

Filed under: Forklifts

In the September issue of Manufacturer’s Monthly Director of Cullen Steel Fabrication Ron Barrington spoke about how the company’s adoption of a Combilift Straddle Carrier has greatly improved operational efficiencies and safety.

Sydney based Cullen Steel Fabrication has developed and manufactures custom sized 20m x 2.5m steel stillages.

With the majority of loads being lifted oversized, safety is the company’s number one priority at all times.

To assist in improving safety and efficiency during lifting operations Combilift has supplied the company with a custom made 35T SC3 Straddle Carrier.

Cullen Steel has carefully adapted its processes in line with the new straddle carrier’s capabilities to safely and efficiency handle loads for

Before the straddle carrier was adopted the company used a system of spreader beams in its workshop, using overhead cranes to stack and load 20 tonnes loads of steel.

Cullen Steel director Ron Barrington elaborated on the multiple advantages, efficiency and safety benefits the company experienced from adopting the use of a Combilift Straddle Carrier.

Significantly Reduced Loads Times and Double Handling

The adoption of the Combilift Straddle Carrier has reduced the time taken to load orders.

Previously the company used overhead cranes to load steel piece by piece which took up to four hours to complete.

After the adoption of the straddle carrier load times have been significantly reduced to around 15 minutes.

Barrington stated:

Year’s ago we would load trucks one stick at a time, which could take up to four hours to complete. It’s about efficiency and not having to rehandle the material several times.

The straddle carrier has also reduced the amount of load double handling.

With the pre-package steel loads the straddle carrier is able connects to the spreader bars, enabling the operator to pick-up the load.

The straddle is then driven directly over and above the truck bed and the load of steel is able to be lowered onto the truck in one simple and easy procedure.

Combilift straddle carrier long load handling 3

Increased Safety

Barrington explains that:

The Combilift Straddle Carrier is a relatively unique machine, which can safely pickup these types of very heavy loads and just travel around as if it was an oversized forklift

The Combilift Straddle Carrier improves safety of operators and employees working in and around the unit by offering maximum load stability thanks to its optimum centre of gravity, broad wheel base and 3 wheel manoeuvrability.

The centrally located ground accessible operator cabin provides the operator with a clear 360 degree view from the cabin during lifting operations.

All lifting and manoeuvring functions can carried out from within the cabin which greatly reduces the need for the operator or employees acting as spotters to work at height eliminating falls as a safety risk.

Combilift straddle carrier long load handling 1

Minimal Site Damage and Better Efficiency

With its lighter footprint when compared to other large heavy handling equipment such as cranes the Combilift Straddle Carrier has a minimal impact on the ground surface over which it operates.

This greatly reduces the potential for expensive capital improvement works such as the laying of reinforced concrete needing to be carried out so the operating area can support the weight of the fully loaded unit.

The lightweight design also significantly reduces the wear and tear on the unit’s tyres reducing the frequency with which they have to be replaced, whilst also ensuring the most economic fuel consumption when the unit is being operated.

Combilift straddle carrier long load handling 2

Increased Manufacturing Space

With the Straddle Carriers ability to lift, move and stack the long steel loans Cullen Steel has been able to reclaim valuable manufacturing space within its workshop.

Barringtons explains:

We can now put 25T of steel in a stillage and transport it from our workshop outside into the yard. We are also able to stack the stillages on top of each other – so we benefit from the free vertical space to.

The combination of Cullen Steels stillages that are designed to basically function as oversized containers and the Combilift Straddle Carrier provide the ideal steel handling solution for timesaving, more efficient and safer operations.

Reference List

  1. 2020. Scaling Up Without Compromising On Safety. [ebook] Manufacturer’s Monthly, pp.22-23. Available at: [Accessed 14 September 2020].