Konecranes supplies the biggest forklift ever in China

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On December 18, 2020, Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Vestas) took delivery of a 52-metric-ton Konecranes forklift truck for their Chinese operations, Vestas Wind System (China) Ltd. Co. A handover ceremony was held on the same day in Tianjin. During testing, the truck was government approved up to 55 tons, the highest-capacity forklift ever made in China.

Vestas is a world leader in sustainable energy solutions, designing manufacturing, installing and servicing wind turbines across the globe. With a head office in Aarhus, in the heart of Denmark, they employ over 25,000 people in 24 countries. In 2019, Vestas needed more lifting capacity at their nacelle production facility in Rinkobing, on the west Danish coast, so they ordered a 52-ton capacity heavy-duty forklift with 1,200 mm load centre. It was manufactured and delivered by the Konecranes Lift Trucks factory in Markaryd, Sweden. Vestas was very impressed with the productivity and efficiency of the forklift, so they decided to order the same model for their facility in Tianjin, China. Konecranes has been operating a factory in Lingang, Shanghai, since 2007, so it was easy to deliver the new order quickly.

“Wind energy is a highly specialized area,” says Liu Ruipeng, Operations Manager, Vestas Wind Technology China. “The equipment we use to assemble a turbine needs a combination of strength and precision, and Konecranes has now fulfilled our requirements twice, with local professional service team Tianjin Weishi Construction Machinery Trade Co. Ltd working closely alongside partner KCL Lifttrucks to provide top-quality maintenance and technical support. The new forklift will help expand our production capacity in the Asian market region. It’s a true milestone.”

The Konecranes forklift that Vestas has in Denmark lifts a 2.4 m fork to 4,500 mm, and includes a hydraulic lifting cabin, a 180-degree rotatable driver’s seat, a central greasing system and a wide carriage. Both this truck and the new SMV 52-1200C delivered to Tianjin have a 6,000 mm wheelbase for stability when handing their heaviest loads. However, for flexibility with more challenging load formations, the Tianjin truck has a shorter mast of 4,000 mm combined with a longer fork of 3.5 m. For extra safety, it features rearview mirrors on its mudguards, a reversing alarm, a speed limiter, an extra fuel water separator and an extra oil cooler for the engine and transmission hydraulics. TRUCONNECT Basic will monitor the truck remotely, in near real time, for usage statistics, easier maintenance planning via the CheckApp digital tool for driver inspection and the tracking of KPIs through yourKONECRANES Customer portal.

The market for forklifts in China is developing rapidly, reflected in the 50 local customers, partners and media who attended the handover. Konecranes can foresee a need for even higher capacity forklift trucks coming soon. Official government approval gives the Konecranes factory in Shanghai permission to build more forklifts at a 55-ton capacity for the Chinese market. Konecranes often tailors their lift trucks, as every customer is different, and certification to 55 tons extends the range of available options even further.

“We’re very proud of this special forklift. It’s a great achievement for all three of us - China, Vestas and Konecranes,” says Tobias Åkesson, Regional Director for APAC (Asia-Pacific), Konecranes Lift Trucks. “The handover ceremony in Tianjin was a great success, and we look forward to delivering a third 52-ton forklift to their factory in India next year, as we continue our long-term strategic partnership with Vestas. We work hard to provide variable, customized solutions with quicker local delivery times in all of our market areas.”