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Side loading machinery - is it a lost art?

Thu 11 Jul 2013

Side loading machinery - is it a lost art?

When I first started out in this industry as a young machine operator in the late 70's it was always common practice to load any kind of machinery on to a low loader "over the side".† And with one of the companies I used to work for in Southampton, I was often to be seen doing this on a regular basis. But in recent years I have noticed that it is hardly ever done anymore and some of the younger operators I have spoken to haven't got a clue what I am talking about when I mention going over the side! One example was in 2004 when I was working on a site on Plymouth Hoe, in Devon. A Komatsu PC450 45 ton machine which had been off hired, was being picked up to go back to London one afternoon, the low loader driver was in a hurry and said to the machine operator "chuck it on over the side driver"? The operator looked confused and said he had never done it before, and stated that he would not be happy doing it. At this point the foreman on the job asked me if I would put the machine on for him. To be honest I had put 1000ís of 13 and 20 ton machines over the side, but never anything as big as a 45 tonner, however I didnít want to embarrass myself by saying no, so I cracked on with it! Luckily for me it all went swimmingly, and the lorry driver was on his way back to London in no time at all. When I first posted these photos many years ago on an American machinery forum, it prompted a lot of debate about the rights and wrongs of this practice. I would be keen to hear our current readerís thoughts on it.    

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