At trucklocator.co.uk, we try to ensure that information is entered constantly, but one man’s ‘Hiab’ is another man’s crane and one man’s ‘flat’ is another man’s ‘platform’. We recommend that you use this box only if you are looking for something very specialist, such as a brand of tail lift or fridge or crane on a vehicle.
Always enter the shortest, unique detail in the keywords field – for example if you are interested in a DAF FA LF45.180 do not type this whole phrase in the keywords field, as many sellers may simply call it a LF45.
The sort order box at the top of the search results enables you to prioritise the results that most closely match your keyword entry.
Ancillaries – Tail Lifts
Do you actually need a tail lift? If your operation will always collect and deliver from a loading bay or with a forklift on site, then a tail lift is an unnecessary drain on payload – if the truck has a column or cantilever tail lift then it will actually get in the way and slow down loading and unloading. An underslung tail lift is more flexible in this respect but equates to plenty of metal to carry around if not needed.
If the truck is perfect in every way but it has an unwanted tail lift, ask the selling dealer if they will remove it. Don’t expect a discount, however, as the dealer has the cost of removing and storing the lift. If your perfect truck is simply missing a tail lift then again, ask the dealer if they can source a suitable one for you. It may just happen that they have one lying around, where they have removed it for a previous customer.
Ancillaries – Types of Tail lift
A column tail lift is still a popular sight on UK roads. The lift is attaches to the rear of the body with a platform that locks in position and is pulled down for loading.
The UK market had traditionally been dominated by the column tail lifts of Ratcliff and Ross & Bonnyman, whilst our European cousins have favoured the cantilever lift mounted under the body on the chassis. The third alternative – Maxon claimed to have invented it in the US decades ago is the Tuckaway tail lift. The lift operates in a similar way to a cantilever, but when reversing to a loading bay, the lift is out of the way, ‘tucked under’ the body of the vehicle.
There are plenty of arguments for and against the different types of lifts and the operator’s business will ultimately determine the right lift. The European approach is gradually finding favour over the column lift – go back fifteen years and 90% of the market was dominated by column lifts, whereas industry experts believe that cantilever and tuck away lifts now have the majority.
Questions to ask yourself when specifying a tail lift
What are the dimensions of the load?
This is important to make sure that the load isn’t overhanging the platform. If this happens, the leverage means that the lift specified is not powerful enough for the job
What is the weight of the load?
An obvious question, but don’t forget the pallet, the pallet truck and the driver in the calculations.
Are pallets being used?
If this is the case, a 5’ platform is recommended to ensure that the first pallet off is manoeuvrable on the tailboard.
Are roll cages used?
Don’t forget to specify trolley stops or it could end in tears!
Does the vehicle use a loading dock?
Column tail lifts can be damaged when reversing onto a loading dock. Chassis mounted, preferably retractable tail lifts are more suitable.
Does the vehicle deliver at night in residential areas?
There are quieter lifts available on the market now, some with optional sound-proofing available on the tail-board itself to help operators meet noise pollution targets.
Do your drivers frequently lift weights greater than 25kg?
If this is the case then the operator could be contravening the 1992 Manual Handling Operations Regulations and therefore should cover themselves by installing an assistance device, even in a small panel van.
How often does the driver need to get in and out of back doors?
You have to raise & lower a column tail lift each time you want to gain access to the rear of the vehicle.
Do you need to save payload?
Consider using a watertight cantilever lift and not using rear shutters.
Ancillaries – Aerodynamic Devices
If the box body of a cab protrudes above the top of the cab it has to be fitted with a ‘roof deflector’ which sits on top of the cab and directs the airflow over the top of the body. Without one of these air deflectors, you will be burning more diesel than you need to and emitting more CO2 into the environment.
If the truck you are looking at buying is perfect in every other way, you can still get a roof deflector fitted using one of the three main aftermarket suppliers, Aerodyne, Kuda or Hatcher.
If you are really keen on fuel and CO2 saving devices, look also for box-bodied trucks with ‘collars’ behind the cab. These devices streamline the flow from the back of the cab to the front of the body, further improving the aerodynamic efficiency of the truck.
Similarly, trucks can be fitted with ‘chassis infill’ devices – although these are usually on the longest of box-bodied trucks and trailers. The airflow is smoothed around the otherwise turbulent chassis frame which is full of odd-shaped air and diesel tanks.