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Case Study: 5.5t Diesel forklifts thrive in tough applications!

Posted on: 11 Aug 2020
Topic: General News


At Hydro Precision Tubing in Belgium, Clark has again proven to be "Built-to-last". Two Clark C55sD’s are not only withstanding the enormous heat of an aluminium melting oven, but also proving their reliability handling heavy loads.


What’s the Application?

Hydro Precision Tubing is part of the Norwegian group Norsk Hydro ASA, an aluminium supplier that operates worldwide producing high-frequency welded aluminium tubes manufactured from recycled aluminium for well-known companies in the automotive and materials handling industry. The plant has more than 70 years of experience.


Hydro recycles 80 to 100 tons of aluminium scrap per day for tube production. Slabs are cast from the melted aluminium with the slabs weighing 7.5 tons each with a length of 5 meters. The slabs are further processed in the rolling mill into coils from which tubes are later produced. To ensure that the individual production steps run smoothly, the aluminum specialist not only uses state-of-the-art production technology, but also powerful and reliable solutions for internal material flow - the Clark C55sD fits the bill perfectly.

What’s the Daily Test For the Forklifts?

The Clark C55sD series with a nominal capacity of 5.5 tons have been working on the re-melting part of the cast house. Old aluminium is melted at temperatures of up to 700 degrees. The C55sD’s remove the dross from the hot furnace after each melting process before it is refilled. Reliability is key: "We only shut down the melting oven and casting furnace once a year for maintenance," explains Yves Viaene, Manager of the Foundry.

Equipped with wet multi-disk brakes, a solid chassis and fully automatic 2-speed transmission, this series is particularly powerful and durable. Hydro’s C55sD’s are fitted with a rotating 5-metre long mandrel with a scraping device at the end to remove the dross from the furnace. Making the job harder, the forklift is exposed to very high heat.

How Does the CLARK Forklifts Stand Up To The Task?

The mast is also of paramount importance in this demanding application, which put’s it under enormous strain through the heavy attachments. "The predecessor vehicles of a market competitors were constantly defective because the mast could not withstand the hard application," says Yves Viaene. "We have now solved this problem with the Clark forklifts. Clark keeps its Built to Last promise."


The C55sD are designed for heavy loads and tough applications just like this, especially the mast with a robust torsion-resistant 6-roller fork carriage and adjustable inclined support rollers ensures the best possible distribution of the load and minimal play.

What’s Unique About these Clark Forklifts?

In order to perform in this demanding task, the forklifts had to be protected against intense heat and had to have additional safety features fitted in order to meet Hydro's strict safety regulations. The windscreen has been fitted with heat-resistant glass to prevent it from cracking; the air conditioning system was also protected against the heat. This kind of modification is only advisable on the most reliable forklifts – with high cost implications on a truck not “Built to Last”.

The C55sD’s are equipped with the Clark Blue Safety Light, attached to the top of the overhead guard frame and projects a large blue dot onto the floor warning people and other forklift drivers of approaching vehicles.

What Do The Operators Think?

Hydro's employees also had a say in the decision to purchase the trucks. "Our employees tested some of the competition vehicles in advance, because after all, they are the ones who have to work with the trucks every day. They were enthusiastic about the Clark forklifts right from the start” says Yves Viaene 


What’s The Verdict on Clark Forklift’s?

Because the Clark forklifts have proven so successful, Hydro has purchased two more Clark counterbalanced forklifts. These are a GEX30 electric forklift and a third C55sD diesel forklift, this time with a triplex mast used in another department.


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