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HFT supplies “biggest ever forklift”
Thursday, 13 May 2010 ( #461 ) - Hereford, United Kingdom
News Story
The 25 tonne Combilift C25000 four-directional forklift, built to handle 18-tonne modular data centres for BladeRoom.
HFT Forklifts Ltd has supplied what it claims is the world’s largest diesel four-directional forklift to a Gloucestershire company that designs and produces hi-tech modular buildings.

The GBP250,000 (USD373,210), 25-tonne C25000 forklift was designed and built by Combilift in Monaghan, Ireland for HFT’s customer BladeRoom. The machine was specially built to lift and manoeuvre 18-tonne modular data centres built by BladeRoom at its new Cinderford, Gloucestershire plant.

The data centres, which measure around 14 by 4.2 metres (45.9 by 13.8 feet) and house banks of computer servers and IT equipment, are manufactured under exacting conditions in modular form to provide an energy-efficient, fully fitted out "plug and play" solution for BladeRoom's customers. Key to the manufacturing process was a watertight handling system at Cinderford. It became apparent that conventional materials handling vehicles would not be able to move the huge finished modules around the site.

HFT’s senior account manager, Kevin Heath, says the materials handling specialist looked at options like overhead gantry cranes and large counterbalance forklifts but they were inflexible and impractical for BladeRoom’s building and would take up too much room.

"The versatility of the four-directional trucks was ideal but there was nothing on the market that could have handled a job of this size," Heath says.

HFT asked Combilift’s regional distributor, Abex Ltd of Birmingham, for help. Combilift designers developed the four-directional diesel forklift that the team believes could be the largest of its kind. It is the largest and most expensive forklift HFT has ever supplied.

BladeRoom CEO Paul Rogers says the truck, which measures 5 by 5 metres (16.4 by 16.4 feet) with a 3.2 metre  (10.5 foot) high cab will easily lift the fully fitted modules into place for pre-delivery testing. He explains that the manufacturing area can now be laid out more efficiently, with modules placed in rows allowing the C25000 to travel sideways along the aisles between them, and they can be double stacked because of the machine’s 4 metre (13.1 foot) lift height.

"The ideal solution from our viewpoint was a machine that could move modules in the same way as we move pallets but on a much larger scale," Rogers says. "The Combilift’s flexibility to go anywhere and do anything means we can proceed at the pace we need to fulfil our orders and cope with future growth."

HFT Forklifts was established in Hereford, UK, in 1984 by Peter and Carole Crawford. The family-run business employs 51 people and offers complete materials handling service. It works with manufacturers like Nissan Forklift, Manitou, Hoist Lifttruck, Hako Floor Care Equipment and JLG Industries.
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