GTS Lift and Slide

Until August this year, the neighbourhood streets in the west Melbourne suburb of Melton were serviced by a tag team of two Citywide rigid vehicles removing unnecessary or unsafe trees, branches and shrubbery.

At the time, each vehicle had a crew of three on board and both tilt trays carried either a wood chipper or a mobile tree stump grinder – equipment integral to Citywide’s commercial tree services.

The system worked, but Paul Wellington, Citywide Asset and Equipment Coordinator, wanted to make the process more efficient by carrying both the stump grinder and woodchipper on the one truck. To find a solution, Paul reached out to Dandenong-based body builder Fleetweld, who elicited the help of Joe Bugeja from Gough Transport Solutions and his team of engineers.

“Rather than use a tailgate to lift the stump grinder then manoeuvring it into place, we designed a side loading truck tray system,” Joe says. “In a similar movement to a tailgate loader, the hydraulically driven platform lifts the 900kg stump grinder from the ground to the chassis height, then slides the entire platform on to the chassis.”

Joe explains that the ‘Lift and Slide’ mechanism allows the stump grinder to fit neatly on the truck tray in front of the woodchipper, completely negating the need for a second truck. “Now, Citywide can undertake the same jobs with half the number of crew, and half the trucks,” Joe says. “It’s a much more efficient use of resources, while also being more user-friendly for the workers.”

Mounted to a Hino 500 series rigid, the Lift and Slide is operated by a hand-held remote that allows the entire loading process to take place from the ground level, which Joe says is a substantial increase in OH&S for the Citywide operators. In the past, getting the stump grinder in the right spot on the truck meant having to drive it off the tailgate onto the tray; then the driver would climb off the tray back to the ground,” Joe says – adding that the system also allows the workers to safely secure the equipment to the platform while it is on the ground.

“Safety was at a premium for this project, so we have used reliable equipment from our proven range of Italian hydraulics across the Lift and Slide. It has an OMFB Kube powerpack with a built-in hand pump, Penta hoists and a Gough tow bar – all equipment we have either been importing or manufacturing for years,” Joe explains. “We have also included two hydraulic landing legs to stabilise the truck while the platform is lifting the 900kg stump grinder.”

According to Joe, the Lift and Slide platform is not exclusively for stump grinders, as it can lift any type of plant machinery. 

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