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During the beginning of the nineteen fifties, Henry Le Grande Lull from the Lull Manufacturing Company originally made the sideloader forklift. These early models were requested from the US Air Force. The first idea was patented for commercial use but it was not developed until Lull Manufacturing was taken over in the year 1959 by the Baker Raulang Company. It was Baker Raulang who produced the design. Later, the name was changed to Baker Traveloader. During the late 1950s, the side-loaders were launched in Europe. The early models were made by Italian manufacturer Fiora and the afterwards B-P Battioni e Pagani who pioneered the machine's use in timber yards.
Side-loaders vary a bit from forward traveling, counterbalance forklifts in that they have their forks situated on the side of the machinery. The operator drives the machine sitting in a cabin like a standard forklift. The loading, unloading and lifting functions are done by the mast located at the right-hand side of the driver. The load is normally transported lying on a metal or wooden deck. This helps to decrease distortion, stress and damage to the load. Recent innovations to the side-loader design have integrated a large variety of lifting accessories being developed.
Some of the benefits of utilizing side-loaders over reach-stackers or standard forklifts consist of: enhanced visibility, safer operating conditions, and faster traveling speeds as well as the ability to utilize available space more effectively.
In order to maintain safety, having an evenly distributed load is helpful to prevent lack of vehicle stability, and excessive tilting. A load that is even helps to prevent unacceptable load concentrations, and unacceptable vehicle axle loading.
The eccentricity of the center of gravity differs, with the load distribution in the container. It is very important that the designers of containers and handling machines consider during the engineering process. Like for example, when sixty percent of the load by mass is distributed in 50% of the length of the container measured from one end of the equipment, the eccentricity corresponds to 5%.