Al Evans Product Manager

Electrification within the transport industry has been gaining traction for some years, but the discussion rarely includes truck mounted equipment or cranes. Lifting equipment plays a vital role in the sector and shouldn’t be overlooked.

The whole industry needs to think more holistically about developing greener equipment and electrification is just one part of this. I’d like to see the conversation move more toward sustainable transport and logistics solutions, which includes equipment and technology innovations.

Traditionally the lifting industry has lagged behind a little when it comes to embracing and rolling out equipment to help businesses be more sustainable, but this is no longer the case.

As the only manufacturer in the world offering lithium-ion powered electric truck-mounted forklifts, demand is growing steadily for our Moffett E-series. It’s ideal for urban night-time deliveries and creates opportunity for a longer operational window thanks to its silent operations and low emissions – perfect for low carbon zones.

Recently we launched our first electric crane trailer with a solar-powered charging installed within the flatbed trailer. This smaller scale crane solution means that it’s easier for SMEs to introduce the benefits of sustainable transport solutions into their operations.

We’ve been speaking to our blue-chip customers about electrification and sustainable lifting equipment for quite some time. It’s been really useful to have the conversations because they’ve been testing products for us and giving us the flexibility to refine our products.

One example of this is the development of a fully electric powered roller crane, the ‘e-roller’. We’re working in partnership with an existing customer to help them offer a solution to deliver construction materials in urban areas outside normal working hours.

If the pilot is successful there will be scope to roll this out further. I’m confident it will bring significant benefits to businesses operating large-scale logistics operations and distribution centres too.

Hiab’s team of experts has also developed heavy-duty cranes which operate on electric PTO, this will bring huge environmental and cost saving benefits once widely available.

For businesses that aren’t in a position to invest in electric yet, data intelligence software is bridging the gap. Tools like HiConnect can help businesses reduce carbon emissions by monitoring crane operator performance. The real-time data is a window into how the cranes are operating, where, what times and with what capacity.

Whilst research tells us that businesses intend to invest in electric vehicles because of the government changes in legislation and the cost of maintaining traditional vehicles, I would be interested to know if the pandemic has accelerated or stalled planned investment programmes – only time will tell.

Alastair Evans, product manager, Hiab