Barrett Steel, the UK’s largest independent steel stockholder, has taken delivery of its 18th new Baumann sideloader, following an agreement which will see the long load equipment delivered across most of the company’s 32 sites.

Models from Baumann’s GX diesel and EGX electric sideloader ranges have been modified with steel decks, timber bearers and specialist load guards to maximise load security and operator safety.

The introduction of models with 1400mm deck widths and forks enables more loading of steel directly on to lorry beds, whilst onboard fleet management, auto-deck levelling and high visibility cabins have also provided additional benefits.

Barrett Steel’s operations director, Paul Burke, says the business previously had a mixed MHE fleet and had been looking for a flexible and reliable way to improve load handling.

Said Paul: “We have acquired different handling equipment and different handling methods over time, and we looked for a way to bring this together in the most appropriate way. Without doubt, Baumann sideloaders proved effective and reliable and give us the flexibility we need to work efficiently and safely. The equipment quality is there to see, and when you are working with steel, it needs to be up to the job.”

Baumann UK managing director, Mark Bann, says understanding the different site needs in the UK has helped deliver a practical fleet, whilst the good working relationship with Paul and the various branch managers has helped deliver excellent results.

Said Mark: “We are very pleased with the relationship we’ve developed with Paul and the team and it’s great to see the trucks going to work across the country. Steel is obviously a key sector for us. We have a very well-established steel sector customer base across Europe and it is great to see one of the UK’s largest players getting the benefit of our equipment.”

Steel is one of the largest sectors for sideloaders after timber, in part due to the way sideloaders can cope with the combination of load length and heavy load weight. Travelling longer distances, or over uneven ground, is also a key strength of the Baumann equipment which is renowned for its durability and quality amongst a loyal customer base.

Included in the Barrett Steel fleet are a number of electric EGX80L models, the largest capacity 120v electric sideloaders available on the market and unique to Baumann in operation.

Electrics offer zero emissions, are cheaper to run and maintain, as well as offering a better operator environment. Noise and cost savings will also benefit long-established companies, such as Barrett Steel, which have seen towns grow up around them, and are under pressure to reduce emissions and noise pollution wherever possible.

Added Mark: “Sales of electric sideloaders are outpacing engine powered alternatives by some margin, but it still takes foresight and a business committed to a better working environment for their operators to make the change after years of working in a particular way. For that, Barrett should be highly commended.”

Established in Bradford in 1866, Barrett’s extensive steel processing facilities enable it to hold over 100kt of steel stock, via its general steel, engineering and tube processing divisions.

Recently the company announced it had completed the acquisition of certain British Steel Distribution depots, taking the 6th generation family steel businesses network to 32 locations.

All sites are varied in size and scope, often located for the convenience of customers in the construction, oil and gas, transport and engineering sectors, amongst others. Further Baumann deliveries are set to take place in the year, with Barrett adapting more sites for sideloader operations.

Concludes Paul: “The trucks are performing well and the support we’ve received is excellent. We are confident that we’ve found the right partner in Baumann to help us grow and deliver for our customers well into the future.”

Based in Cavaion on the shores of Lake Garda, Baumann has led the sector for over 50 years, and now sells its products worldwide through 106 dealers in 76 countries. The double Fork Lift Truck Association Innovation award winner produces equipment up to 60 tonnes capacity, and has a reputation for consistent invention and the highest level of design and productivity. In recent years, a number of important markets for Baumann have seen equipment capacities increase and industries such as timber, steel and concrete producers rediscovering the art of working sideways.