Stay in the Cab!
Published: 13/7, 2018
Stay in the cab!
Steelwrist A New Player for Quick and Easy Switches of Demolition and Recycling Attachments
Steelwrist, a well-known manufacturer of among others tiltrotators and quick couplers, is now also entering the demolition and recycling industries with their new systems for quick and easy tool changes. The manufacturer has recently set up their own US subsidiary in Berlin, Conn.
Over the last decade or so, every professional excavator operator has learned that fully automatic quick coupling hydraulic systems are now a powerful and competitive asset in the demolition and recycling industry. As the demands for increased safety, efficiency and improved material separation in the workplace has become more prominent, the need to change tools more often has also increased. This has correspondingly increased the demands placed on demolition and recycling equipment, especially in “heavier” applications.
Four well-known systems
Today, modern operators strive to get in-and-out of the excavator as little as possible to change tools. When there is a real need, the break in work needs to be as short as possible, with little oil spill, and with a small a risk as possible of injury to anyone. Ultimately, this needs to be accomplished with as much efficiency and flexibility as possible.
Historically, in the demolition and recycling context, four automatic quick coupling systems have dominated the market: Likufix, VarioLock, and OilQuick with OilQuick being the biggest. In the Nordic markets of Europe, OilQuick is considered being very advanced and has dominated to market so far. The Likufix system is owned by Liebherr, and is strong in German-speaking markets, with a strong link to operators of Liebherr excavators. Lehnhoff, currently owned by Komatsu, manufactures VarioLock. OilQuick is a particularly well-known system, being a particularly appreciated quick coupler system among heavy demolition contractors, especially in Europe. Engcon, as with OilQuick, is a Swedish manufacturer, and has developed EC-Oil. This is being used by demolition contractors increasingly in Nordic countries, but OilQuick's more advanced system, dominates the market.
What generally differentiates the fully automatic quick couplings is the design, which effectively divides the four manufacturers into two groups. This is most clearly apparent in the locking mechanism itself for when the quick coupling closes and the connections are being protected. Likufix and VarioLock’s “female” connection sides are exposed horizontally, while the comparable coupling sides for OilQuick and EC-Oil are vertically exposed. The vertical locking function has proved preferable as it more efficiently prevents dust and harmful particles getting into the sensitive parts of the system.
Steelwrist’s fully automatic SQ mountings and Qplus
A new development emerged 2017 that shock up the market. A new Swedish manufacturer appeared, Steelwrist, with a new automatic quick coupling system that also possesses a vertical locking function to better protect the sensitive connection area.
Steelwrist itself is not a new company. It has manufactured and sold a series of tiltrotators, quick hitches, and mechanical and hydraulic attachments since 2005. Its new quick coupling system is called the SQ, and offers quick and safe tool replacements in just a few seconds directly from the cab. Initially the products were launched solely to the Swedish market, but success has seen the range now available internationally. Since 2017, Steelwrist has founded its US subsidiary with sales, service, and inventory in Berlin, Conn.
PDa’s editor-in-chief had the privilege of recently meeting the company's founder and chief executive, Stefan Stockhaus, and the company’s US Sales Coordinator Sofia Danielsson, at Steewrist’s plant in Sollentuna, north of Stockholm, Sweden.
Both the SQ Series and Qplus are fully compatible with OilQuick’s OQ hitches. In order to make operation as efficient and easy as possible for contractor and operators, Qplus maximizes oil flow, prolongs operating time, and enables easier service when compared to alternative solutions. Steelwrist automatic oil couplers follow the internationally expanding symmetrical standard, and possess a wedge lock system to ISO 13031: 2016. In addition to complying with ISO 13031: 2016, Steelwrist brackets and tiltrotators also include the patented “Front Pin Lock” technology, which increases operator safety by ensuring that the attachment is not “lost.”
New, smart and easy business focused solution
The tool attachment market has tended to be limited when it comes to product choice. Depending on which standard system contractors in different countries choose, the user is bound to that standard without many alternatives. With its new SQ series and Qplus, Steelwrist has sought to simplify this for the contractor by making its system compatible with OilQuick. However, when a similar name as OilQuick was chosen, namely OQ, this was not warmly welcomed.
“Our intention was to make it easy for the customers to know which products are compatible with each other, and to build an international standard for automatic oil connections,” Stockhaus says. “This proved to be very sensitive to OilQuick AB's management, who chose to apply for trademark registration of OQ the day after our product launch. We therefore chose to change product designations to Steelwrist SQ. We have received a great reception since the product launch and for us, the name is not important, since we believe that customers already understand that Steelwrist SQ is fully compatible with OilQuick OQ.”
Steelwrist did have an alternative solution to not making a compatible system, but this was rejected.
“The world does not need a new connection system,” says Stockhaus. “Instead the excavator owner needs a cost effective standardised solution for easy replacement of work tools. Now, we focused on making the product even better while maintaining compatibility.”
What is even more interesting is what Steelwrist has accomplished with the Qplus inside couplings. Since initial production of the series began, improvements in the connections have substantially increased flow capacity. Depending on the coupling size, the flow area has been increased by up to 37%. In addition, the customer also benefits through increases in operational time, as the time required between sealing changes has increased. Essentially, the change is now much easier and faster than previously, and without the need for special tools.
“We are now building up production capacity further to meet demand, and Qplus is standard in all SQ deliveries since November, 2017,” says Stockhaus.
Today, Steelwrist’s fully automated quick couplers include SQ auto connect systems in three sizes—SQ60 for 12-20t excavators, SQ70 for excavators between 18-33t, and the recently launched SQ80 for excavators between 25-43t.
“It is in this segment that our automated quick couplings become really interesting for the demolition and recycling market,” says Stockhaus.
The investment in a fully automated quick coupling system for a demolition or recycling contractor results in a significant increase in both efficiency and safety in the workplace. It is also considerably more environmentally friendly, as any oil spill is radically decreased. The amount of sorting at the worksite can be increased through the easy use of several types of attachments. For the contractor however, the first thought is cost.
The pricing levels of the existing systems vary in terms of function and price. It is probably true that for many years, manufacturers have not invested in developing or simplifying their solutions, or in making them more cost-efficient.
Steelwrist approached this head on. With its new fully automated quick coupling system and Qplus, has delivered a solution with a significantly lower purchase price in comparison to the big selling OilQuick. In addition, it possesses a higher degree of simplicity in order to replace, for example, seals without recourse to special tools.