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A tilt towards efficiency

For metals recyclers, the process of loading and unloading of export containers has traditionally been slow and inefficient. However, such processes are being revolutionised by tilter technology.

Tilters – hydraulic rigs that vertically tip ISO containers for easier processing – are already in use by some of the UK’s biggest metals recyclers, including EMR, Sims Metal Management and Metal & Waste.

A-Ward’s loader tilters come in two sizes - 20ft only, which can elevate smaller ISO containers to 90 degrees, while the larger model can lift both 20 and 40ft containers to 50 degrees. Each tilter weighs 40 and 50 tonnes with a full container, respectively, while the separate unloader rig only supports 20ft containers. The freestanding rigs can also be tipped onto four small wheels and moved around the yard as required.

The container is locked to the rig at two points on each corner, without need for tethers, and lifted vertically using a 3000psi hydraulic pump

Both loader and unloader rigs accept truck bound containers using A-Ward’s unique guide wheels to accommodate various truck dimensions. The container is locked to the rig at two points on each corner, without need for tethers, and lifted vertically using a 3000psi hydraulic pump, powered by a 13 horsepower petrol engine. The container’s doors can then be automatically pulled open using the remote control, which works at a distance of up to 300 metres.  

In addition to the remote control, the A-Ward tilters incorporate eight safety systems, including automatic lock valves in order to prevent hydraulic failure and front and side container locks, so the container cannot detach from the rig.

Traditionally, containers are loaded with the help of a high speed conveyer, a forklift, or a telehandler; they ram scrap into the container as densely as possible, which may inadvertently cause damage to the containers and the vehicles, and prevent the container reaching full capacity.

“When the container is horizontal, you don’t fill the top corners or the top of the container.  And you don’t fill it to its maximum potential – there’s too much airspace,” explains A-Ward European sales manager Mark Tuckey.

Tilters solve this problem by tilting the container as high as 50 or 90 degrees. This allows up to 30 tonnes of product to be loaded with a crane or a conveyer into the upward facing doors, and up to 20% more than using a truck or a telehandler.

“The other problem you have with traditional methods, is that you cannot weigh [using] them” says Tuckey.“Companies can’t afford to go overweight, because then they’ve got to re-open the container and take some out, so they have to keep going back and forward to the weigh bridge to check the weight.”

“Companies can’t afford to go overweight, because then they’ve got to re-open the container and take some out, so they have to keep going back and forward to the weigh bridge to check the weight.” Mark Tuckey

However, the A-Ward tilters include a built-in weighing machine, to ensure the container is not overloaded.  

Unloading containers in the traditional method is just as inefficient and even more dangerous, explains Tuckey: “They’ve got to take it off the container with a fork truck, or they use a crane and have to tip it up on end. But lifting up a 30 tonne object at one end to allow all the stuff just to fall out is not very safe.”

The unloader tilter automatically open the doors, while a ramp follows the angle mouth of the container as it raises, allowing the contents to empty safely.

“It’s more controlled and there’s nobody near the machine. You haven’t got to hire a crane, or have all the machinery to do it,” Tuckey says.

According to Tuckey, the tilter also halves the 40 minutes it takes to unload a container manually. While experienced tilter operators can load between two and three containers per hour.

This means that container tilters represent a safer, faster and more efficient alternative to traditional bulk material processing methods.

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