Team hookloader: Palfinger

Waste Management Review speaks with the Palfinger hookloader team about working together to achieve maximum payloads.

Industrial conglomerate Sime Darby’s recent acquisition of Gough Group’s New Zealand and Australian operations led to a change of ownership for hydraulic lifting and handling company Palfinger.

The change came at a time of growth for the Australian arm of the company, which has been investing in and expanding its hookloader capabilities over the past three years.

According to Glen Woodrow, Palfinger Queensland and Northern Territory Account Manager, Palfinger’s Australian hookloader operations have traditionally played second fiddle to the company’s higher-profile crane manufacturing business.

“Globally Palfinger is renowned for its cranes, and while our hookloaders have always been just as structurally and operationally impressive, it’s only over the last few years that we have dedicated time and resources to grow this vital part of the Palfinger Australia business,” Glen says.

“The waste industry has been central to growth for us. Additionally, working with councils on tailored transport and waste solutions has really expanded our knowledge of the sector.”   

Palfinger brought Glen on as National Account Manager Hooks and Skips three years ago to expand its hookloader operations. He says that prior to his appointment, Palfinger didn’t have a dedicated hookloader team.

“I immediately worked with the developed hookloader business plan, which the team has been successfully using ever since,” he says.

“The central ideas are collaboration and knowledge transfer, which helps us deliver maximum payloads for clients, and as a result, maintain long-term relationships. Tailoring the business plan to suit both demographic and geographic demands has been part of the key to our success.”

To continue this momentum Palfinger Australia has expanded its national footprint, with two additional team members joining the business over the past two years.

They are Stuart Cameron, who oversees Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, and Seth Ozbas, who joined the team four months ago to run New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Palfinger’s Western Australian interests are supported by Perth-based Palfinger crane salesman Mick Stone, completing the national field coverage.

The four account managers work closely together and for every unit sold, produce a detailed specification and legal loading sheet that provides clients with a complete understanding of each build.

“We debrief weekly on what went well with the sale, potential room for improvement and overall customer satisfaction. This means other team members can learn from our experience and have similar wins themselves,” Glen says.

Glen says Palfinger’s customer engagement in the preparatory stage is another critical success factor of Palfinger’s hookloader business plan.

“We work hard to make sure that when we deliver a hookloader, it’s right the first time. It’s a very bespoke process with considerable research involved – rarely are two Palfinger hookloaders the same,” Glen says.

“I like to think we turn customers into clients.”

Stuart says an increased ability to manage national accounts is a key benefit of having dedicated teams in each state.

“When a supplier’s operations aren’t centralised, problems can arise, such as red tape surrounding where an order was originally placed and where the servicing will occur. But for us, this isn’t a problem. Palfinger always has an expert available to manage the situation in every state,” he says.

Stuart says this is further supported by an extensive list of 37 fully trained service partners located throughout Australia.

Before joining the Palfinger team, Stuart worked for another hookloader manufacturer. He says while there are many good products on the market, Palfinger’s hookloaders stand out for their durability and strength.

“I know the market well and can confidently say that our top-quality European products are the best hookloaders available,” Stuart says.

“I was recently involved in fitting a 20-year-old Palfinger hookloader to a brand-new Scania because the hookloader was still operating at an optimum level. Palfinger can provide that kind of longevity.”

Seth, the newest member of the hookloader team, expressed similar sentiments, saying he is impressed with the quality of the product and streamlined nature of Palfinger’s operations.

He adds that while he covers the entire New South Wales and ACT region, he spends most of his time in Sydney’s western suburbs.

“Most waste and recycling companies are in Sydney, so I have spent the last few months meeting with clients and cold calling potential prospects,” Seth says.

“I want to make sure our clients feel comfortable to call me whenever they have a challenging opportunity, so I can arrange a quote on a new product or organise a service on existing equipment.”

According to Seth, a key benefit of the multipronged Palfinger sales strategy is the ability to quickly access all previous sales and equipment data.

“When I’m speaking with a client who needs specific information about a product, I am able to call the responsible person who provides the information straight away, rather than wasting time scanning through documents,” he says.

“The team is really invested in working together to grow and expand Australian hookloader market.”

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Palfinger: hooked on expansion

Kelly’s Waste Management has invested in a new Palfinger hookloader to maximise payloads and support expected growth in Tasmania’s resource recovery sector.

Tasmania’s resource recovery sector is expected to grow once the state’s new Waste Action Plan is implemented.

The plan sets a transition framework for the state’s waste sector through a series of ambitious resource recovery targets. Targets include achieving an 80 per cent average recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030.

To capitalise on anticipated economic growth and grow their collection fleet, Kelly’s Waste Management has invested in a new Palfinger Hookloader to maximise payloads.

Kelly’s operates out of Romaine in north-west Tasmania, an area with substantial parklands and a growing population. Key industries include heavy manufacturing, forestry and farming and, as a result, the region produces a sizeable amount of waste.

John Kelly, Kelly’s Waste Management Director, says the family-owned and operated business has been providing environmental solutions to Tasmania for over 50 years.

John explains that after purchasing a Volvo truck with a mounted Palfinger unit, he was impressed with how well it performed.

He adds that noticing how the unit supported consistent operations and driver performance inspired him to contact Stuart Cameron, Palfinger’s Key Account Manger.

After explaining Kelly’s application requirements, John says Stuart suggested a telescopic T22A hookloader.

“We required a unit that could carry our large waste transfer bins, as well as our general hooklift and vacuum hooklift tankers,” John says.

In addition to carrying large waste transfer bins, Kelly’s required a unit to accommodate a dismount vacuum container.

“Kelly’s had worked with Palfinger in the past and I knew they could supply a unit to facilitate all of this in the one truck,” John says.

“We initially hired Palfinger to fit the unit but ended up needing a lot more, including a vac system hydraulics installation, which they accommodated.”

John says the unit’s high-tensile steel reduces hookloader weight, allowing the company to significantly increase payloads.

“Optimised weight also increases longevity and reduces fuel cost, which is a plus given our large area of operations,” he says.

The T22A hookloader is a bi-point unit, meaning horizontal forces are reduced and tipping capacity is increased.

Additionally, the unit comes with an automatic mechanical safety latch that secures containers from falling during loading and unloading. John says drivers can open the latch on demand.

“Our drivers love the easy operation and control they have over the unit,” he says.

“It assists smooth operation, safety and reliability, which drivers say helps them run efficient and predictable routes.”

The T22A allows for the use of multi-length containers and features integrated in-cab controls, that position the articulated arm during low loading situations and allows a maximum tipping angle of 48 degrees.

Before assembling, the unit’s main components are sandblasted, degreased, primer painted, and electro-statically coated according to customer specifications. All additional parts are treated for anti-corrosion, maximising the life of the unit and providing a greater re-sale value.

According to John, the Palfinger T22A Hookloader has run smoothly since joining the Kelly’s fleet.

“The unit is really helping us keep up with demand, while also guaranteeing a quality of service to councils, industry and the wider public,” John explains.

“With this hooklift, Kelly’s can continue to grow and expand our range of waste services.”

John says Stuart and the wider Palfinger sales team were in regular contact throughout the unit build.

He adds that spare parts are only a phone call away, with Stuart travelling down from Victoria to oversee the handover, training and first few days of operation in the field went smoothly.

“I’ve worked with Palfinger in the past, and while the superior quality of their units is unquestionable, it’s their commitment to service and ensuring the unit matches our requirements that keeps me coming back,” John says.

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Palfinger’s telescopic hookloaders

Palfinger’s hookloaders were designed for maximum payload and efficiency of operation.

The variety of models boast increased payloads and tipping capacity, low transport heights, hydraulic locking, an articulated arm, cab control and a range of other features. 

Palfinger is able to offer hookloaders to suit a desired application, from the telescoping loaders for different container lengths loading, to its telescopic A systems which offer an ability to handle shorter containers.

High-tensile steel reduces hookloader weight for maximised payloads while optimising the weight to increase truck longevity and reduce fuel costs. 

Low build and compact subframes enables reduced transport heights, with a low centre of gravity providing better and safer driving conditions. The loading of higher containers increases transported volume.

Palfinger’s telescopic hookloaders also work to reduce horizontal forces and increase tipping capacity. 

For increased safety, articulated arms allow very low loading angles and avoid load sliding, while offering under-roof and under-floor loading. Hydraulic locking secures the containers in the front while the crane operates, with tank containers or containers with hydraulic devices for very high and long containers. Cab controls are ergonomic and intuitive and offer magnetic fastening while thin cables facilitate cab control manipulation.

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