Hyster® ReachStackers are an essential part of container handling operations in ports and terminals across Europe. But what are the current trends and market demands driving the development of reachstackers?
1. Increasing size
Market demand for larger reachstackers may be increasing. Hyster recently worked on the heaviest ReachStacker it has ever built for a customer in Russia – a specially modified Hyster® RS46-41XLS ReachStacker.
The growing demand for larger reachstackers is likely due to an increase in intermodal handling operations which require trucks to reach out to the second rail. This longer distance means that the truck must have a larger wheelbase and heavier counterweights.
2. Space is expensive
As space becomes more expensive, port and terminal applications must use it as efficiently as possible so may consider stacking higher with their ReachStacker.
Similarly, a surplus of imported containers versus exported containers also means that empty container stacking is increasing, but the height of container stacks is often regulated by the Port’s own rules. In Europe, stacks tend to be limited to a maximum of 8 high, though in some areas, such as those with very high winds, the limit is just 3 or 4 containers high.
There is increased interest in automation across the whole materials handling industry. Certainly, businesses in ports and terminals are always keen to explore how new technology can combine with Hyster® lift trucks and container handling equipment to help them to optimise their operations.
For example, Hyster recently delivered a RS46-38LS IH ReachStacker with a remote control to operate the spreader and the boom from outside the cabin. This allows an operator to do the final placement of a container onto a railcar independently, without the help of a colleague. Meanwhile, the elevating cabin gives visibility of a container placed on the second rail, even while a train on the first rail blocks the direct view.
The Hyster Tracker wireless fleet management system is also used in port operations to provide customers with information that enables them to optimise their operations and benefit from a low Total Cost of Ownership. This powerful telematics tool can be used on any handling equipment and is frequently used on Hyster® ReachStackers.
Hyster Tracker enables monitoring and management of operating hours, cost of operation, maintenance, fault codes and impacts. It also helps maintenance and repairs to be planned most effectively.
As port and terminal operations are charged with becoming more environmentally friendly, Hyster is working on the development of container handling trucks that use electricity instead of diesel power and therefore produce zero emissions, including a Hyster® ReachStacker.
These projects use existing technologies but apply them in a new application, with potential for this in handling equipment of all sizes.
5. Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Creating electric versions of Hyster® container handling trucks is not without its challenges. With electric cars, the car battery is big enough to provide around 300-500km of driving range, which is acceptable for most drivers. However, when it comes to providing enough power to keep a large container handler such as a Hyster® ReachStacker working throughout a shift, this is more difficult – a battery pack for the ReachStacker would need to be very big (or have an large connection to the power grid) to work for an entire shift.
There are considerations around the charging of batteries. Dedicated charging takes time and takes the ReachStacker out of operation. Although opportunity charging throughout the working day is a possible solution, it requires detailed planning and can reduce productivity. Also, the amount of charging power needed can be more than the power grid can provide. Charging a number of Hyster® ReachStackers takes the equivalent of the power necessary to run a small village.
A hydrogen fuel cell addresses some of these challenges. It works by converting hydrogen (H2) to electricity and acts as a range extender for the Hyster® ReachStacker. It has been designed so that enough hydrogen is stored on board to provide an acceptable range or number of operating hours for port operations. In addition, refilling of the H2 tanks can be done in as little as 10-15 minutes.
It is also worth noting that Hydrogen is a clean energy carrier with the benefits of easy storage and when used produces no emissions other than heat and water.
Find a Hyster® ReachStacker
The right choice of power for a Hyster® ReachStacker will always depend on the particular needs of the operation, such as the demands and intensity of the operation. Contact your local Hyster® dealer to discuss your requirements or visit the Hyster website for more information on solutions for ports and terminals.