Reach stackers are revolutionising container handling processes
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Reach stackers are revolutionising container handling processes

Maximising container handling activities

Container yards are essential for the global transportation of goods, and the cargo handling equipment that gets utilised within them is critical to make the handling process as seamless and efficient as possible. Furthermore, as space becomes less available and more expensive, port and terminal applications must use it as effectively as possible.

Such conditions have paved the way for the reach stacker – a lifting machine that can reach out to more than one rail and stack higher to maximise space. Featuring an extending boom, reach stackers allow operators to create deeper and higher stacks of containers instead of just vertical stacks, single deep.

Pushing the boundaries of handling technology, Konecranes, a leading ports and terminals heavy lifting equipment provider that delivers innovative solutions to help overcome handling challenges, has a reach stacker that uses space optimally by stacking containers three rows deep and five high.

Lenny Naidoo, Acting National Operations Manager at CFAO Equipment SA’s Heavy Lift division, which sells big forklifts to container handlers and the ports industry, says the Konecranes reach stacker can certainly be regarded as a revolutionary machine as it has changed the way things were previously done in container yards.

Besides lifting containers and moving them around, the Konecranes reach stacker is a multifunctional machine that can be used to empty or load a container.

“The pick-and-carry option makes the Konecranes reach stacker incredibly versatile, especially for break-bulk cargo operations. The extending boom and large lifting capacity make it an industrial workhorse. Konecranes reach stackers can also be customised for specific industry needs by providing special spreaders, incorporating steel grabs, lifting magnets, vacuum grippers and coil C-hooks, among other appropriate attachments,” says Naidoo.

“Konecranes reach stackers can also be customised for specific industry needs by providing special spreaders, incorporating steel grabs, lifting magnets, vacuum grippers and coil C-hooks, among other appropriate attachments.”

The Konecranes reach stacker also has smart load-sensing hydraulics that sense the load and adapt the lifting power to the weight of the load. The truck provides maximum power only when it is really needed, so it consumes less fuel while at the same time reducing emissions and noise.

Reducing downtime

One of the challenges facing operators of heavy lifting equipment is downtime, which can run into weeks or even months when a machine breaks down. Konecranes offers predictive maintenance which utilises condition monitoring, advanced inspections, and data analytics to predict component or equipment failure.

TRUCONNECT Remote Monitoring is a key element of predictive maintenance. It is used to collect equipment condition and usage data that, combined with inspection and maintenance information, enables a comprehensive view and analysis of equipment condition, maintenance and operation.

Driver behaviour is also monitored, for example, an alert is sent if the machine is bumped.

Naidoo says the Konecranes reach stacker also incorporates Flow Drive, which cuts down emissions and decreases fuel consumption by up to 25%, while increasing the time spent on active operations.

The solution delivers concrete benefits to everyday operations, such as a precise, smooth ride, reduced noise and less cabin vibration and a significant boost in overall productivity. A reverse camera is also available to get rid of blind spots to help drivers move large tonnages in a safe and efficient way.

Meeting safety requirements

Recent amendments to Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations and the need to mitigate any potential risk has seen the maritime industry becoming increasingly stringent, with operators now required to provide carriers with a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) for each loaded container before being loaded onto a ship.

To ensure its global customers meet these requirements, Konecranes has launched its digital Static Weighing Systems solution. Reach stackers can now hydraulically measure the weight of lifted containers before they are loaded onto a ship, with 1% full-scale accuracy achieved in less than five seconds.

This data is then automatically transferred and stored in the yourKONECRANES cloud-based service. A VGM declaration is generated using the data gathered and the document can be printed in the cab of the reach stacker, or in the office.

Operator comfort and control

Naidoo says one of the most significant challenges in reach stacker operations is limited visibility, which can lead to accidents and equipment damage. To address this, Konecranes reach stackers offer innovative camera and sensor systems, and impressive OPTIMA cabin solutions that provide real-time and superior visibility for operators, reducing the risk of accidents and equipment damage.

“With operators spending up to eight hours behind the controls, ease of operation and comfort are paramount. Konecranes reach stackers have ergonomically advanced cabins that offer comfort and superior visibility. The seat features compression suspension, while cabin heating, ventilation and air conditioning ensure operator comfort. Furthermore, all controls are accessible to the right of and above the operator, greatly improving the driver’s posture,” says Naidoo.

Konecranes reach stackers are ultimately the result of years of experience, research and development to determine the best solutions for a very specific handling requirement. Today they are most certainly at the forefront of handling technology.



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