A specially-design Mobicon straddle carrier is being employed by Unitised Building to move their factory-built housing units onto trucks for transportation to an apartment development for installation.
Unitised Building made headlines earlier this year when their factory-built units were incorporated into the Fender Katsalidis-designed Little Hero apartment development in inner-city Melbourne.
The Unitised Building technology has transformed the Victorian building landscape with the innovative apartment and home-building techniques.
While works such as foundations and concrete slabs are being carried out on-site, the housing modules are simultaneously manufactured at the Unitised Building facility at Brooklyn in Melbourne's west.
Customised to the needs of each project, the factory-built units complete with windows and doors as well as bathroom and kitchen fittings are transported to the prepared site and simply bolted into position. This building innovation cuts building time by half.
According to Unitised Building's Mobicon operator Harry Antoniou, they needed a straddle carrier, which could be adjusted to pick up and move as well as load and unload modules of various sizes, varying in length from 10m to 15m, and up to five metres wide and four metres high.
Depending on the building design, the modules are produced in various sizes and delivered to the site.
Mr Antoniou says that Mobicon straddle carriers can display amazing performance in the very confined spaces of the factory. He believes forklifts cannot match up to this performance, especially with some modules that are up to 5m wide.
Mobicon straddle carriers feature an independent twin tower system with eight-wheel independent steering capability. Mobicon offers the capability to handle modules of varying sizes easily.
Mr Antoniou says that a special dual-twist locking mechanism developed especially for Unitised Building allows the vehicle to virtually spin around and move the module anywhere in the factory and onto trucks ready for delivery to the building site.
About a year ago, architectural firm principal Nonda Katsalidis visited the Brisbane factory where the Mobicon straddle carriers are manufactured.
Inventor and Managing Director of Mobicon Systems, Tom Schults says that the Mobicon straddle carrier had already become a success story over the past decade with almost 100 units manufactured for use in the general container movement, transport and logistics area.
The Mobicon is designed to load and unload any size container on and off trucks, moving the containers in and out of buildings and around confined spaces in yards.
When Nonda Katsalidis saw the Mobicon in action with containers, he also saw the possibility of the equipment being modified to help with the logistics involved with his pre-fab building modules.
Mr Schults, who had already worked with his engineers to develop a specially modified Mobicon for the US Navy's Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) program a couple of years before set about designing a new specialised machine for Unitised Building in Melbourne.
The special Mobicon straddle carrier was built on-site in Brisbane and has been in operation at Unitised Building in Melbourne since June this year.