The sales volumes may have always been small, between 1%-5% of the worldwide forklift market, but sideloaders are firmly established as the materials handling equipment of choice for unconventional loads.

A variation on the common forklift truck, the side loader truck is able to load at the side and in most cases within the vehicle platform, enabling it to make use of its storage space.

Carrying the load at the side is immediately beneficial in terms of safety, especially when transporting cumbersome goods over various distances, such as timber, steel girders or long vehicle chassis. Speed is also an issue, with sideloaders being particularly common in large ports and docks.

Operator safety is also a commonly cited reason for using sideloaders. To transport the type of load seen on a sideloader with a standard forklift, the materials have to be carried sideways on, causing problems with space as well as storage.

Carrying goods lengthways also has a dramatic effect on the load centre, potentially causing an overbalancing of the vehicle and increased risk towards the operator.

Sideloaders are often deeply entrench-ed in many forms of primary manufacturing. The timber and steel industries are two of the main markets that use sideloaders for the movement of goods in a fast and safe manner, and Baumann has the proven global expertise in this market to provide its customers with dedicated machines that are geared specifically to the industry demands.

Baumann have manufactured sideloaders in the same factory in Cavaion, Italy since 1969 – indeed some of the production team are third generation of the same family and the first engineer employed is now the Technical Director.

Operating through 106 dealers in 76 countries across the globe, Baumann Cavaion is the largest manufacturer of sideloaders from 3 to 50 tonnes.

Despite being seen somewhat unfairly as a niche product, and the added competition from multi-directional machines, the demand for Baumann sideloaders continues to grow.

Product features, such as its deck stabilising system, comfortable cabins and fuel-saving load indicators ensures the range continues to advance, but the basic premise of the machine remains the same.

Sideloaders are also said to be unique in their ability to be adapted for unusual applications, such as moving illegally parked cars, utilising vacuum attachments or working offshore.

“We have developed our machines to cope with almost anything that could be thrown at them,” says Baumann UK’s Andrew Burton. “With the introduction of solid steel outreach cylinders and bearings that can be up to 50% larger than any other side loader found on the market, we’ve added strength where it is needed. Depending on the chassis specifications the steel can be up to 3 inches thick around the well width, the area in which the forks operate.”

Picture3As the safety of the operator is of the utmost importance, a more direct approach has been taken to ensure against injury whilst operating in more extreme environments.

Drivers are now situated in reinforced cabs which are surrounded by heavy duty steel mesh on windowed areas, and in areas that don’t interfere with the driver’s line of site; solid steel plates are present covering almost every part of the cab.

“We are very proud of our heritage as well as our design capabilities,” concludes Andrew. “Of course industries are continually changing and to ensure that side loader trucks are able to keep up with newly developed markets and industrial techniques, new and innovative designs will undoubtedly be needed.

With constant reinforcement and development, Baumann will continue to be the backbone of heavy industry and provide invaluable transport through some of the most extreme environments, for many years to come.”

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