Motovated Case Studies

Steelbro Sidelifter Case Study


Steelbro NZ Ltd produces innovative container handling equipment for the container transport industry. Their sidelifter trailers are recognised for their quality and innovation worldwide. Steelbro sidelifter crane technology is supplied throughout New Zealand, Australia, Europe, South East Asia, Africa, and South America.

Steelbro approached Motovated Design & Analysis with the challenge to create a new sidelifter design that was:

  • Unique and would expand their catalogue by offering a ‘bridge-leg’ solution.
  • Lighter than previous designs.
  • Interchangeable with Steelbro’s current range of trailer bases.
  • Versatile enough to stabilise on various ground conditions and on a parallel trailer deck.
  • Designed to, and conforms with, international standards.

The Solution:

The engineering team at Motovated Design & Analysis worked collaboratively with the experts at Steelbro. Together, they came up with a robust solution by:

  • Working creatively and collaboratively on concept development.
  • Implementing a rigorous design phase, which included optimising the sidelifter leg design for mass production and manufacturability.
  • Incorporating Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to assess the strength of the sidelifter arm under extreme loading and fatigue scenarios.
  • Understanding and ensuring the resultant product conformed to New Zealand and European standards.

The Result:

Steelbro have reported that users of the new sidelifter are grateful for the superior capabilities and cost savings that the new design provides.

The new sidelifter arm:

  • Is lighter, more stable, and easier to use than other models.
  • Can unload a container from one trailer directly onto a parallel companion trailer.
  • Enables quicker cycle times than standard sidelifters.
  • Can be used reliably on various terrain.
Motovated Steelbro Sidelifter Case Study
Motovated Designed Sidelifter fully extended

Figure 1: Sidelifter leg fully extended

Motovated sidelifter FEA stress plot

Figure 2: Sidelifter FEA stress plot