Reach Stackers are an Indispensable Technique for Reloading Containers

Reach Stackers are an Indispensable Technique for Reloading Containers

Currently, more than 85 percent of international cargo is transported in containers. For a long time, cranes and forklifts were used for loading and unloading such transportation. However, the growth in the share of containerized cargo transportation has led manufacturers to think about the production of special lifting mechanisms. The reach stacker loader has appeared. It made loading much easier.

What are Reach Stackers and Why are they Needed?

The reach stacker belongs to the category of handling equipment and is designed to work with containers and semi-trailers: lifting, moving over short distances and stacking. It is made on the basis of a diesel internal combustion engine and is an analogue of an automobile crane with a special load-handling device. The spreader, located at the end of the telescopic boom, is a sliding rectangular frame without branches with special grippers for fixing goods, transporting them, rotating or tilting them in various planes. The working body is located on the rear of the chassis to increase stability and load capacity. The structure also includes a wheelbase, an operator’s cab and a counterweight system for rollover protection.

Reach Stackers have become widespread in the shipping industry and are used to service ports or container terminals. In addition, they are used in large batch production plants in the heavy industry. Reach Stackers are capable of quickly reloading containers onto a vessel or stacking containers in several tiers during unloading. It is completed with the powerful engines providing good indicators of productivity.

The advantages of reach stackers:

  • Able to quickly reload containers and trailers;
  • Are used for cargo handling in any transport hubs with any conditions: in ports, enterprises, railway stations, etc.;
  • Allow reloading any types of containers, including refrigerated ones, if their weight is less than 45 tons.
  • Reliable, with a strong design, wide wheelbase;
  • High efficiency, liquid and air cooling systems to ensure long-term continuous operation without overheating;
  • Easy operation, multiple sensors, program to control the position of the spreader and prevent overload;
  • Operator comfort, adjustable seat, optimal arrangement of levers and switches on the panel, noise isolation, heater and air conditioning (optional);
  • Simple maintenance (repair or replacement of consumables);
  • Economical fuel consumption.

There are several characteristics to consider before buying a reach stacker:

  • load capacity;
  • number of tiers available for laying;
  • available number of rows that the boom can reach;
  • type of wheelbase – with a large length, it is possible to use equipment for reloading onto ships from berths and vice versa;
  • working weight.

It should also be borne in mind that reach stackers are available in two versions: for reloading empty and loaded containers.

Construction Features of Reach Stackers

Any reach stacker has a lifting mast in the form of a telescopic boom, to which a special lifting mechanism is attached – a spreader. This is in contrast to the lifting mechanisms used in forklifts and cranes. The boom is raised and lowered by hydraulic cylinders equipped with valves to block the set position when the loader is moving.

The gripping device of the spreader also has a special structure: without branches, on a sliding frame. It captures the container with twist locks fixed with corner fittings. Due to the special design, it has four degrees of freedom, it can:

  • tilt in the longitudinal and transverse planes,
  • rotate;
  • change the distance between grips.

Both new and used reach stackers are popular on the market today. Such a number of degrees of freedom allows the use of reach stackers in warehouses of any size. It compensates for loads when masses are shifted in containers. It makes it possible to install containers in rows with even gaps without the need to drive the car to a certain point.

The service life of reach stackers is quite long. Given the fact that this technique has appeared relatively recently, it is difficult to say exactly how long the machine will work with timely preventive maintenance and repair. But 25-year-old reach stackers are still working on site and don’t need to be replaced yet.  It is easy to buy a reach stacker today, it is only important to decide on the required model.

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