The steel division of Voestalpine Group is a manufacturer of high quality steel products for customers including automotive manufacturers and component suppliers, the white goods and mechanical engineering sectors, and the oil and gas industries as well as the renewables sector.

Employing approximately 11,000 people, it is the global market leader in heavy plate for sophisticated applications and complex casings for large turbines.

Logistik Service (LogServ) provides on-site transportation for Voestalpine’s steel mill in the northern Austria city of Linz. The company has a fleet of 220 units including 70 special and heavy duty vehicles, 30 locomotives, and 120 trailers that are used to transport steel slabs and coils.

LogServ had been using Kalmar reachstackers since 2012 and had three DRF450-65A5X machines, the first of which had clocked more than 18,000 operating hours and run almost continuously in a four-shift operation from day one.

Due to a production changeover at the site, Voestalpine Steel required a new reachstacker that could handle slabs 2200mm wide - 400mm wider than the previous standard width. The machine also had to be capable of operating in temperatures of up to 700 degrees around the blast furnaces and withstanding weather variations from -20°C to +35°C in an extremely dusty operating environment. The hot slabs are handled with hydraulic grippers, in temperatures up to 700°C. At lower temperatures below 400°C, slabs are handled by a magnet.

“Kalmar has proved that it has the competence to adapt its industrial reachstackers so that processes that go beyond standard requirements can be performed.”

In addition to maintaining existing high levels of machine availability and reliability, management were also looking to improve the overall operator experience, so ease of operation and driver comfort were key factors in the decision making process.

The chosen solution was a Kalmar Gloria DRG540-65A5X with a tool carrier that can handle slabs weighing up to 54 tons. The machine was fitted with both gripper and magnet attachments that can be easily interchanged for handling the larger slabs at different temperatures.

“We were very happy with the performance of our previous Kalmar Reachstackers, which is why we went to Kalmar when we needed a fourth specialist machine,” explains Markus Jaksch, vehicle manager for LogServ. “Kalmar has proved that it has the competence to adapt its industrial reachstackers so that processes that go beyond standard requirements can be performed.”

“This machine is designed for the driver.”

The vehicle management team have observed that the service point sights glasses make machine maintenance easier and safer by enabling operators to see immediately whether any action needs to be taken during their daily inspection.

“Kalmar has demonstrated its ability to adapt its products to meet our challenging operational environment,” adds Markus Schinko, general manager LogServ.

The DRG540-65A5X was also fitted with Kalmar’s EGO cabin featuring an ergonomically designed interior and controls.

“This machine is designed for the driver,” says driver Thomas Brokasch. “It is more comfortable with air conditioning and auxiliary heating, and the excellent all-round visibility and easy-to-use controls - especially the joystick – mean it handles very well.”