Across the globe, vehicle manufacturers are under increasing pressure to develop engines that are environmentally clean yet still provide excellent performance. This has resulted in huge investment and ongoing trials of alternative fuels to achieve extremely low or zero CO2 emissions. Whilst encouraging progress continues to be made, particularly in electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, it’s important to ensure that vehicle workshops are prepared for this new scenario.
Crucially, this preparedness should not only include regular product training on the latest generation of vehicle engines, but also the adoption of environmentally-friendly workshop equipment and practices. Also, of course, this needs to be achieved against a backcloth of rigorous health and safety standards.
THE STERTIL KONI EARTHLIFT
With over 70 years of experience, Stertil Koni is a world leader in heavy duty vehicle lifts and a preferred supplier to many leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles and buses. In 2007, following an extensive programme of development and investment, the company introduced its revolutionary Earthlift heavy duty mobile column vehicle lift. The Earthlift range offers safe lifting capacities of 8.5, 10 and 13 tonnes per column and, depending on the application, up to 32 linked columns may be used simultaneously.
In conceiving the Earthlift, Stertil Koni set out to design an ergonomically efficient, economically productive and user-friendly model, which would contribute towards the reduction of a workshop’s carbon footprint. For example, the company developed a unique Active Energy Retrieval System, using gravity and the load of the lifted vehicle to retrieve energy and then store it in the batteries of the Earthlift’s wireless mobile columns.
The principle of the patented Active Energy Retrieval System is as brilliant as it is simple - to use the energy generated by the raised vehicle as it comes back down: in other words, to regain the gravitational energy. This system increases the number of lifting cycles by about 35%, compared to a fully-charged set of wireless mobiles under maximum load. In addition to the reduction in power consumption, the Earthlift’s batteries need less recharging, thus increasing productivity and reducing costs.
The latest generation Earthlift incorporates Stertil Koni’s revolutionary ebright Smart Control System which allows workshop staff to operate the lifts from any column in the set. Crucially, the ebright’s wireless mesh networking system eliminates any possibility of communication problems between individual columns when numerous sets are used in the same building.
Featuring full-colour touch screen consoles, the ebright Smart Control System has been designed and developed to simplify operation by providing maximum visual information about every lifting operation - all at the fingertips of the workshop technicians. For added safety and performance, the ebright Smart Control System also shows how many columns in the set are being used.
The absence of cables provides maximum access to the vehicle, with no risk of tripping and also makes the installation of the columns quicker and simpler. Furthermore, the Earthlift’s variable raising and lowering speeds mean that vehicles can be positioned extremely accurately.
Thanks to the careful selection of its manufacturing components, including bio-degradable hydraulic oil, 98% of all Earthlifts can be recycled at the end of their long working lives. The combination of this benefit and its energy-saving features, ensure that the Stertil Koni Earthlift is widely acknowledged as the world’s most sustainable wireless mobile column lift.
“Since its launch in 2007, the Earthlift has been continually updated and improved,” says Tony Edge, General Manager of Stertil Koni. “Today, with increasing emphasis on clean and sustainable fuel sources, we believe that equal importance should be given to environmentally-friendly workshop equipment and practices. In that respect, the latest generation Earthlift certainly ticks all the boxes.”