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Combilift launches new poultry forklift

poultry forklift

Combilift Australia together with their national distributor Adaptalift Hyster have recently released the latest addition to their comprehensive Combilift product range in Australia, the CombiRT.  Combilift best known for its range of space saving 4-way forklifts, has developed a new product designed specifically for the needs of the poultry sector. The worldwide launch of the Combi-RT Poulty Forklift was held at the International Poultry Show in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, followed by an on-site launch at one of the UK’s largest providers to the poultry processing sector, Keyo Agricultural Services. Irish Combilift Ltd. owners Robert Moffett and Martin McVicar worked on feedback from Keyo to develop this new vehicle which both companies believe represents a significant step forward in the handling of live poultry.

The design and specific features of the Combi-RT offer wide ranging benefits for producers and operators as well as reducing the stress levels and bio security risk for enhanced welfare of broilers. Combilift Ltd. MD Martin McVicar explains the background to the development of the truck: “Until now the majority of forklifts used for handling live poultry have been modified versions of mainstream models such as counterbalance or truck-mounted vehicles. After taking the exact requirements of catching, handling and transportation into account we have developed a purpose built, no-compromise machine which makes the whole process speedier, quieter and more streamlined.” 

The Combi-RT comes as standard with a clear view 3 stage mast with full free lift and its low profile allows it to work both outside and under the low level eaves inside the poultry house.  Having picked the empty modules from the trailer the operator can then lower the mast without any loss of speed to take them directly to the waiting catchers, sidelining any danger of the module collecting litter on its base as it travels through the poultry house. A further benefit of the full free mast is that it minimises any chance of impact damage to door structure, drinker and feeder equipment. This affords a win for both the bio security and H&S concerns. The large diameter tractor grip tyres, all wheel traction with differential lock feature and 300mm (12”) ground clearance enable the machine to operate smoothly in all manner of litter conditions. These features, together with a small turning radius contribute to reduced disturbance of litter which is also advantageous when thinning.  The very smooth controls of both drive and mast functions results in gentler and quieter handling of the full modules, again contributing to lower stress levels of the poultry in the modules and the remaining population.

Keyo’s very positive experience with the Combi-RT prompted Director Mark van den Bos to call this rough terrain vehicle “the Range Rover of forklifts” and he is also particularly impressed with the high level of operator comfort it offers in this typically harsh environment. He comments: “Drivers spend long periods in the cab travelling over uneven terrain, a point often ignored by some manufacturers, so the RT’s deep suspension seat and ample leg room is very beneficial to their comfort and also reduces fatigue for enhanced health and safety practices. The offset driving position and excellent visibility through the mast also affords a good view of the modules and enables them to be easily slotted into place on the trailer.”

A further plus for operations such as Keyo is the reliability and ease of maintenance as Mark explains: “This is a tough application where feathers and dust can easily get into a vehicle’s cooling and fuel system. The Combi-RT has been extremely robustly built and engineered to minimise these risks – the radiator and oil coolers are fully sealed for example, and the rear wheel arch is enclosed which prevents litter building up in the chassis. This makes the RT a breeze to clean off and disinfect to a very high standard prior to transportation. The hydrostatic drive means that there are no mechanical brakes to adjust or repair, and access to components for servicing is very straightforward, keeping maintenance costs down, which is a further boost for our company and the customer’s line schedule.”

 

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