Welcome back to our "Focus On" series where, as always, we try to take some of the polish off the shiny sales pitch and look at the brass tacks we're all really interested in. Today we're introducing the Combilift Combi-CB series. Pictured above is the Combi-CB Diesel, a sit-down counterbalance truck like no other. Most people will never have driven a forklift sideways before, but Combilift not only invites you to try, but builds their reputation on it! You can read what Combilift has to say about it here.
The Combi-CB series is a family of trucks built on the same basic format. The Combi-CB comes in both LPG and Diesel versions with a base capacity of 5500 lbs (2500 kg). There's also the Combi-CB4 with a an 8800 lbs (4000 kg) base capacity, also in LPG and diesel. Lastly is the Combi-CBE which comes in both base capacities as noted above but in a battery driven unit, with Lithium-ion options available.
One fun fact to start us off though. A while back when we brought in a new Combi-CB for a customer, we popped the hood and discovered a familiar engine staring back at us: the Toyota 4Y LPG engine! Looking for a dependable, high output LPG engine Combilift settled on a world leader on both fronts to power the Combi-CB LPG. The 4Y is the more beefy engine for the Combi-CB, putting out 42kW of power for your truck.
Sideways you say?
Combilift makes some incredible forklifts, with their claim to fame being that they don't drive like what most people imagine when they think "forklift." Driving along in their standard configuration the Combi-CB looks normal enough, right until they pull to a stop and suddenly all the wheels turn 90 degrees and the truck starts moving sideways!
We've put in a video to the left here with Combilift showing off that incredible control at ProMat 2015, just to showcase the incredible maneuverability these units have. Because of their comparatively small footprint for their weight class, these trucks and their ability to move at hard angles means they can get places and do things that no other brand of forklift can. Aisles that don't have to accommodate turning (forget right-angle stack!), long awkward loads that can suddenly come through doors; the possibilities depend only on your imagination.
The only question left would be how can you imagine using one in your work?
Not quite "dainty," but...
Nothing that weighs 15,000 - 20,000 lbs (6800-8650 kg) will ever be accused to being ballerina like (the above video notwithstanding). But these trucks are almost weirdly small for their capacity.
Combilift accomplishes this density by changing where and what kind of counterweight their lift trucks use. Traditional forklifts use large counterweights hanging off the back end of the unit, while electric trucks do it with battery weight. If you ever get the chance to look at a Combilift you'll find layer after layer of thick plate steel filling every space on the forklift not used by engine, controls, or hydraulics, with most of that load stacked up around the rear wheels. This makes the units incredibly steady, with a very low center of gravity to offset their loads.
We mentioned above that the Combi-CB has a small footprint for a truck with this weight class. 59" wide (150cm) and 61" (155cm) from the front of the carriage to the rear of the unit makes this lift truck basically a brick of layered steel counterweight. That's 30% shorter and 50% wider than a comparable, traditional forklift. Even the CB4 is 64" (162cm) x 72" (184cm), mean that its 40% shorter than a traditional truck! Paired with the added turning ability of the Combi-CB series means these trucks have a turn radius almost four times smaller than a traditional truck with similar capacity.
With the incredible change in width, length, and turn radius we're barely talking apples to apples anymore. These huge changes mean that any traditional warehouse needs to be completely redesigned if every unit is switched over for a Combilift. This can have such an impact that Combilift even offers warehouse planning services to help you get the most from every square foot at your disposal.
Combilift Combi-CB LPG
Combi-CB and long load
Playing the long game
One thing you might notice in the pictures we've put up here and in Combilifts own material is long or otherwise awkward loads keep showing up. Huge beams, lengths of metal structural members, bundles of wood; all things that are usually hard to handle or get through typical doors for a more normal forklift. Ever wondered why most lumber yards are out doors? Because it sure isn't the best for the wood. It just makes more sense than trying to build a warehouse with doors wide enough for a small army to march through.
Enter the Combi-CB. Suddenly instead of having to be wide enough for the full length of the load, those doors just need to be wide enough to fit the unit and the depth of the load because you're driving in "sideways." Yard space is typically much cheaper than warehouse space, so you can easily have the maneuvering space you need outside, then switch direction and move the product in a much easier manner. Again this may take some reconfiguring of your space to take the maximum advantage of this ability, but the efficiencies can be incredible.
Load spreader during install and on the forklift.
Don't try to limbo with this bar
Combilift also offers a variety of special load handling attachments to help with those long loads. Getting a perfect center lift on some loads can be difficult, let alone the fact that many loads don't actually balance on a center-point due to weight distribution. Adding some help in the form of over-length carriages or slide on load spreaders can be just the trick you need, and in some cases can take only a few moments to install.
Options like telescoping forks, and other more specialized equipment is also available, so just ask about what options are available or what you might need.
What's it got?
The Combi-CB ships standard with a sideshifter and all wheel drive, which means it can happily motor around in even less than ideal conditions (if you want to go off-roading you'll need a different part of the Combilift line).
Cabs run anywhere from completely open to soft-side to fully enclosed, meaning there's an option somewhere to help protect your operators from the elements.
Adding to that is the usual selection of lights, buzzers, and alarms that round out a forklift's safety features, all available either from the factory or installable once it lands at our dock. The lights usually installed are LED to save on power needs, ensure brightness, and help avoid needing to change bulbs from the the constant jostling that happens on a forklift.
I guess the long and short of this all is that the Combilift Combi-CB is a different beast. Not for everyone (because a forklift needed to somehow increase its ground pressure, right?), but if you have an application where they'd work, Combilift will change your world.
So that's all we have to say about the Combilift Combi-CB lift trucks, one of the world's leaders when it comes to directional control. Like always if you want to know more you can always Click Here to see what Combilift says about their product.
Better yet you can Get In Contact with one of our CSS Team Members to learn more about this machine and about your options for taking your business in a new direction.