For many in the salvage, recycling and waste industries, roll-off containers and hoists are essential pieces of equipment for the collection and transportation of material. Many companies across the United States manufacture either one or both pieces of equipment.
There are two standard hoist systems used- the roll-off hoist and the hook-lift hoist.
Roll-off hoists use a cable system that hooks on a container and pulls it up on to the back of the truck, using hydraulics to winch the cables. The containers and trailer have rails that connect and hold the container in place on the back of the truck.
Mark Rudolph of Rudco Products said roll-off hoists offer versatility as a number of different containers, compactors, and flatbed platforms can fit on the trailer, changing the truck to fit different needs.
Mr. Rudolph explained that there are industry standards for roll-off hoists and containers.
"There is an industry standard for the pick-up bar, rear load pockets and front load containers."
Roll-off hoists are offered to handle different size capacities and different size containers. Rudco's hoists are for 30,000- 50,000-, 60,000- and 75,000-pound capacities and fit up to 22-foot containers.
Galfab, another company that offers cable-hoists, manufacture single axle 20,000- to 30,000-pound capacity hoists and 60,000- to 75,000-pound tandem and tri-axle hoists.
Both companies also offer an extendable tail, also known as a stinger tail.
"This allows for more maneuverability in a tight spot," Mr. Rudolph explained, "but the load is limited to 50,000 pounds."
Perry Frakes of Galfab said they offer another cable hoist design called a deadlift system.
"It's really popular in very small areas and hasn't really grown outside those areas.
He said the Ohio Corporation designed the deadlift. When a cable hoists goes up, the back of the trailer normally touches the ground. On a deadlift system the trailer still goes up, but the end of the trailer doesn't touch the ground. The cable pulls the container up in the air onto rollers, which guides the container on to the rails.
When looking for a roll-off hoist, Mr. Rudolph advised people to look for a main tube that is 8' x 4' x 1/2" and a subframe quarter end that is 4' x 3'. If purchasing a trailer without a subframe, the main tube should be 10' x 4' x 1/2".
Mr. Rudolph also said that customers should make sure the cylinders are protected, and that the hoses are routed so that they are not rubbing against anything. "Rubbing can cause early wear or breakage. We put special blocks between our hoses and special hose clamps so this doesn't happen."
Cable hoists are offered with inside and outside rails or just outside rails, depending on the customer's wishes. "It is really just a customer preference. Neither offers a design advantage," he added.
Mr. Frakes of Galfab said, "Your hoist manufacturer needs to know what you are going to haul, how long your containers are going to be and what type of understructure you want on the hoists. We also need to know the details of your truck, whether it's Freightliner, Mack and so on, and the type of transmission it will have."
He said the severity of the load would make a difference on how heavy your axles are and how heavy a frame you will need.
With tri-axle and tandem-axle trailers, it is necessary to know the front axle capacity and the drive tandem capacity. On single axle trucks, the company needs to know the transmission, the PTO gear and the air brake system.
Mr. Rudolph said, "We offer a speed limiter on our hoists, too. If the hoist is left in the up position, the engine will not allow the truck to go above 5 or 10 miles per hour, until the driver puts down the hoist. We have a patent on this and not everyone can offer it. It's a great safety feature."
Hook-lift systems operate with 100 percent hydraulics. Dutch Frank, general manager of Ampliroll, explained that a hook-lift system does not have cables or winches.
Drivers do not get out of the cab to deliver and pick-up containers.
The hook-lift systems also have rails that the containers follow to slide onto the trailer.
The rear of the trailer is lined with rollers, which help guide the container into place.
"Our system locks the container into place and it is then prevented from coming off," said Mr. Frank.
He explained the system works by the driver backing up to a container, lowering a hook and catching the container and pulling it up on to the rails. "In less than a minute a dump container can be obtained by the driver."
He said that containers that are in tight spots can be turned easily and pulled up on to a truck.
"As long as a driver has 50 degrees, he can hook the container and turn it to an angle where he can pull it up on the truck," Mr. Frank said. "This system is all hydraulic and this offers power in both directions. If needed, a truck could back up to a loading dock and push the container off, without having to tilt the trailer," Mr. Frank said.
Hook-lifts, like roll-offs, have various types of containers and flatbeds that can be used on the trailer, converting it from an open-top container, closed containers, flatbeds and so on.
"You can change the whole truck and use of the truck," Mr. Frank added.
Ampliroll makes hook-lift systems for larger trucks and smaller trucks. The systems are made for capacities from 6,600-to 65,000 pounds for 10' - 24' trailers. There are shorter frame styles with capacity up to 12,500 pounds and can handle 10' - 14' trailers.
Roll-off containers and hook-lift containers also follow industry standards so that they can be used with the hoist system from any manufacturer.
Mr. Rudolph, Mr. Frakes and Dennis Weaver of Buck's Fabricating all pointed out that container manufacturers should help customers get the container that is right for their needs.
"It is important to understand how the customer will be using the containers," said Mr. Weaver. "There is no reason to sell things heavier than what they need to be. We ask the questions to try to get the customers to anticipate the use of the container."
Mr. Frakes explained, "Depending on what the person is hauling will depend on how heavy the sides and floor need to be."
Mr. Rudolph said, " Customers should look for better materials, steel that is at least 11 gauge with good welds. A good primer coat and good top coat on the finish will make it last longer, too."
"An important feature to look at are the rails," Mr. Weaver said. "The rails really take a beating when the container is getting loaded. Such as at a construction site where the container is being loaded with a crane or with forklift and forks. The equipment tends to bang into these rails. We feel that it is very important to make these strong. Our top rails are 3" x 4" x 3/16". The rails add strength to the side. Once there is a kink in the top rail, the strength of the side wall is gone."
He also pointed out that long rails need to be strong as they take a beating when getting loaded. "We offer 2" x 6" x 1/4" to help withstand weights up to 60,000 pounds. If these rails are not strong enough, they can break and will wear down quickly. Even on hook lifts, the rails can get flattened by the rollers if they are not strong enough."
Hinges and latches are items that should be checked. Mr. Frakes said, "The hinges and latches need to be substantial enough to handle pressure from the load."
The container market is very competitive, according to all three manufacturers. They stressed it is important to look for a quality container, to look to companies that manufacture containers for a living, and shop around and see want comes standard and what is an option.
Mr. Rudolph said, "Corner wraps make a stronger box and adds longevity, and we offer these standard, along with more channels in the floor, which makes a stronger floor. Our rollers are heavier to last longer, too."
"Having experience making containers, we know where the stress points are," Mr. Frakes said. "We offer options that the guy who doesn't build containers everyday wouldn't think to offer. We don't reduce quality, even if we reduce the price, to win a bid. Our name goes on the containers and hoists and we want them to stay together and perform well."