No more dancing forklifts

Trelleborg

No more dancing forklifts

When a concrete manufacturer in the Netherlands needed to upgrade the tires on its heavy-duty forklifts, it looked to Trelleborg for a solution. Here’s how the Elite XP is bringing added value to MBI De Steenmeesters’ operations.

Along the banks of the picturesque, meandering River IJssel in the Netherlands lies the old Hanseatic town of Kampen, which is home to one of MBI De Steenmeesters’ concrete facilities. A wholly family-owned business, MBI was founded in 1945. In the past 75 years, MBI’s staff has grown from five to 350 employees (or stone masters, as the company calls them), making it the largest manufacturer of non-reinforced concrete in the Netherlands.

The heavy equipment in use at the factory reflects the bulk of the products. Forklifts buzz around tirelessly between countless stacks of concrete tiles and building materials, often hauling many tonnes of precious cargo in one go. MBI has 35 such forklifts, with the older diesel models now gradually being replaced by electrical ones.

Vincent Westerdijk is responsible for the service and maintenance of the fleet. “We make our forklifts run for their money,” he says. “Since we have two- and three-shift rosters, many of them are in use 16 to 24 hours a day.” Needless to say, only the best parts are good enough for these “workhorses”, and so the tires of the entire fleet are now gradually being replaced with Trelleborg Elite XPs. 

The warm relations between MBI and Trelleborg Wheel Systems date back to 2011. “We had just purchased four new forklifts, but the operators were not too happy with them,” says Westerdijk. The machines tended to “dance” when fitted with a brick clamp. And the tires were prone to excessive wear. So we decided to fit two identical trucks with two different sets of tires: our traditional brand for one; and Trelleborg Elite XPs for the other. We tested them extensively for two years – with and without loads, with and without brick clamps – and in 2013 we reached a clear verdict: the Trelleborg tires had won the day.” It was a victory for everyone involved. First of all, the operators no longer had to suffer the annoyance of the dancing forklifts, and since the Elite XP effectively absorbs vibration, their back ache complaints dwindled. The benefits paid off in the workshop, too. “Less vibration mean a longer life for the machinery, notably the mast bearings,” says Westerdijk. “And the tires themselves have a relatively long life span, too. For the diesel trucks, we reckon on 4,000 operating hours for the front tires and 2,000 for the rear, which are the steering tires.”

One time-and-money-saving feature of the Elite XP is the Pitstop Line wear indicator: an orange band that is revealed on the tire when it has some 100 operating hours left. While in the past, tires would often be replaced sooner than necessary, the Pitstop Line enables a reliable visual check: “Very convenient for both our operators and our workshop planners.”




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This is an article has been reproduced from Trelleborg's T-Time magazine. To download the latest edition, go to: www.trelleborg.com/t-time 


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