Posted: October 2019
Manitou started life in France in 1958 and is now a world leader in the materials handling sector. Over 60 years ago Marcel Braud designed his first forklift truck, but since then the range has grown to include rotating telehandlers, masted forklift trucks, aerial work platforms, articulated loaders, and backhoe loaders. A complete range, with equipment for every application. This is also true of the MHT (Manitou Heavy Telescopic) Mining range, which has been engineered to carry heavy and bulky loads across rough terrain in particularly difficult environments, powered by engines tailored to suit the destination country.
Fully made in Italy, the range includes telehandlers with a lift range of between 7 and 10 metres and a load capacity ranging between 9 and 23 tonnes – a perfect mix of efficiency and versatility. All models are designed to maximise productivity, and of course safety: emergency braking and steering, ROPS/FOPS cab, automatic equipment recognition, automatic parking brake, fire protection system, and so on.
The ergonomic cabin provides a panoramic view ensuring that work is carried out under optimal conditions; the controls are user-friendly and produce an instant response from the vehicle, which is easily manoeuvred via a JSM (Joystick Switch and Move); the hydrostatic transmission and low consumption engine guarantee a balanced combination of power and precision; and last but not least a large number of attachments to fit the range are available, making the vehicles in the MHT series truly multi-purpose – they can pick and carry large blocks of stone or marble, or handle long components such as steel bars, rails or metallic structures. And, thanks to the collaboration between Manitou and Brigade Electronics, all these operations are conducted with total regard for the safety of both drivers and quarry workers. Brigade Electronics specialises in safety systems for commercial vehicles and plant machinery. Manitou’s materials handling vehicles have been fitted with Backeye®360 for some time: this system combines, in a single real-time image, all the information from four high-mounted cameras positioned around the vehicle thereby eliminating blind spots. But now Manitou has moved away from the first version of Backeye®360 and adopted the new generation model, which performs even better: the area that can be viewed on the monitor has increased by 22%; the configuration and views can be personalised to fit the application with an extensive 19 monitor visualisation modes to choose from based on the speed chosen; either horizontal or vertical viewing can be selected, including when in split-screen mode. In other words, in addition to displaying full screen panoramic images of the vehicle, the screen can be subdivided to focus on selected views, such as the areas to the front or to the rear of the vehicle, ideal when manoeuvring at low speed. These constitute a range of upgrades to a system that was already highly sophisticated, one that uses software specially designed to flatten ultra-wide-angle digital images, instantly eliminate fisheye distortion and balance out any variations in brightness whilst processing and merging in real time the various shots that are used to build a single image – one that is clear and visible on the cabin monitor.
For the larger vehicles in the Mining Series, Manitou and Brigade Electronics have designed an ad hoc solution that guarantees a full view of the vehicle and its load. Specifically, the MHT10230 vehicles are fitted with a VBV-320C video camera in addition to Backeye®360 so that the surrounding area – including the area beyond the load – can be viewed even more accurately.
VBV-320C is a flush mount eyeball camera for normal viewing with a lens that can rotate 180°. It is robust and suited to work in extreme conditions: it has 5 infrared LEDs – crucial in poor light conditions – and can function at temperatures ranging from -30° C to +70° C; it can withstand mechanical vibrations up to 8.5 G, and shocks up to 51 G. It is paired with a DW-1000-TX transmitter and a DW-1000-RX receiver, both powered by the vehicle, to enable viewing on the cabin monitor. The equipment is wireless meaning that cables are not required: this is particularly beneficial in vehicles where routing cables is problematic and where, as a consequence, cables are prone to damage.
The images from Backeye®360 and from VBV-320C are sent to a 7 inch screen in the cabin – a Brigade VBV-770M. This is solid and resilient and has a battery life of 20,000 hours. The screen can be split to give up to four images and is anti-glare, high definition and well illuminated. It has a lock button to prevent tampering and the menu is simple and user-friendly.
Manitou is considering fitting Backeye®360 into all its materials handling vehicles, as clients appreciate its merits and increasingly request it. It is beneficial when manoeuvring and crucial for total safety in all working environments, whether quarries, building sites or the open road.