Heavy lifting made safe with Combilift


Combilift forklifts continue to improve processes and drive safety for Australian steel manufacturers. Manufacturers’ Monthly speaks to Western Australian steel galvanizer Mgalv about the introduction of two new Combilift solutions.

Since 1971, The Meneghello family have been galvanizing to the Western Australian market. The family-owned business established Meneghello Galvanizing Industries (Mgalv) just over ten years later, with the addition of founder Angelo’s son Danny to the business.

Throughout the 90s, in a newly built plant in Lansdale, the Mgalv team began to implement innovative design techniques unique to this era, which continue to form the basis of processes today. The Lansdale plant continues to produce high quality work for steel fabricators, extending the legacy of the Meneghello name and making the company the longest established hot dip galvanizers in Western Australia.

Andre Meneghello, Mgalv general manager, explained how his grandfather and father built such a strong business model.

“Angelino and his brother started the business in 1971,” he said. “Their strengths being operations on the factory floor. Danny joined to concentrate more on the business and management side, while his father and uncle worked on the factory floor. Angelino always had the vision of the business it could become.”


Safety above all else

Handling long loads like extended lengths of steel, timber or aluminium is an inherently dangerous process for operators. The right materials handling safety procedures help avoid injury first and foremost, but also product and warehouse damage.

A standard counterbalance forklift has been commonly used in these applications for years, but more companies are utilising a more manoeuvrable solution to safely move longer loads.

Combilift’s range of multi-directional forklifts fill this need in the market. When asked about Combilift forklifts, one of Mgalv’s operators said “it’s like part of my hands.” The manoeuvrability of the solution is a clear difference-maker for those who work closely with the machines.

“What the Combilift forklifts have added is a safety component,” Meneghello said. “They’re making the warehouse environment much safer by the multi-directional capacity to transport long lengths of steel through the workshop.”

For up to two years, the eight tonne, three tonne and four tonne CB3000, C4000 and C8000 forklifts have helped improve safety and efficiencies with the longer lengths of steel in the workshop Danny and Angelino Menghello established in 1991. With equipment laid on the shop floor in any warehouse in Australia, traditional forklift’s inability to move around easily means lifting loads up high and transporting them over workstations, posing a risk to workers nearby on the production lines.

“We can carry a 12-metre length of steel down a passageway that’s only three metres wide. This avoids having to have a 12-metre passageway which we’d have to get staff to clear out of the way for,” Meneghello added.

Mgalv uses the C8000 unit to lift materials right out of the galvanising bath. The unit lifts an attachment specially designed to lift a large quantity of galvanised material out of the bath. The C8000 moves the material laterally either inside or in external storage areas.


Combilift’s CB series are effectively three units in one, with an ability to operate as a side-loader, counterbalance or narrow aisle forklift. For Mgalv, the ability for one unit to move long loads improves safety because it removes the need for unnecessary forklift movements and load handovers between units. Fewer employees have to be spotters for loads, removing them from the dangerous operating zone.

“It was a no brainer,” he said. “Any investment that reduces hazards and increases the safety of the environment is paramount.”

Chris Littlewood, Combilift country manager Australia, explained the rationale behind using multidirectional forklifts instead of traditional ones.

“The CB was introduced in 2006, where the company identified a market for customers that needed to use a regular forklift for handling palletised loads, but also the ability to drive sideways when handling long loads,” he said. “Regular forklifts are designed for handling palletised loads, so the design gives an ability to travel sideward.”

The Combilift multi directional C Series combines the advantages of a counterbalanced forklift, side loader and very narrow aisle (VNA) truck in one vehicle. Once again, this delivers huge space savings for customers, with narrow aisles and doorways not a problem because of the advanced steering system.

For Andre Meneghello, future expansion plans are in sight. In Mgalv’s journey to expand market capabilities, no doubt safety will remain front of mind for the forward-thinking business.