Barrett Steel has begun a new phase of electrification of its sideloader fleet, having taken delivery of its first Baumann 120v ELX models. One of the UK’s largest steel stockholders now has 20 new Baumann sideloaders, across 32 UK sites, with a further 23 on order.

The Baumann ELX series has a smaller chassis size, increasing manoeuvrability in tight areas, and has been modified with steel decks, timber bearers, onboard fleet management and specialist load guards to maximise load security and operator safety.

Baumann electric sideloader with steel loadThe introduction of models with 1400mm deck widths and forks enables more loading of steel directly on to lorry beds, whilst auto-deck levelling and high visibility cabins have also provided additional benefits.

Barrett Steel’s head of engineering, Paul Burke, says the business previously had a mixed MHE fleet and had been looking for a flexible and reliable way to improve load handling. Said Paul: “Baumann sideloaders proved effective and reliable and give us the flexibility we need to work efficiently and safely. The equipment quality is there to see, and when you are working with steel, it needs to be up to the job.”


Steel is one of the biggest markets for medium and large capacity Baumann sideloaders. Beams, sheets, plates, tubes, re-bar, even coils, are the types of heavy loads that require careful handling. To do so with a forklift can be difficult and dangerous. Travelling with long loads up high is never a good idea at any time, but with a heavy metal load, it can be fatal.

Safety is a big factor in such industries, so the best equipment has features to protect both operator and onlooker, as well as protect the surroundings and the equipment itself from damage.

Baumann electric sideloader indoors at steel stockholderBaumann UK sales director, Mark Bann, believes the high specification of the ELX trucks bring many advantages. Said Mark: “Often you will hear users talk about the heavy demands of steel on equipment, in particular the weight and ‘metal on metal’. There’s also a greater awareness of safety and the potential dangers for pedestrians.”

Some features, such as camera systems with pedestrian recognition alerts, red zonal lights, blue safety lights, audible alarms and on-board operator monitoring systems are becoming increasingly popular on Baumann sideloaders. They are effective, yet passive, alerting the manager, operator or pedestrian to imminent dangers.

Other operator-assistance features gently nudge behaviour, such as the built-in creep speed when the forks are positioned outside the boundary of the chassis, or the driver door interlock, which ensures the truck will only operate with the door closed.

Also included in the Barrett Steel fleet are electric EGX80L models, the largest capacity 120v electric sideloaders available on the market and unique to Baumann.
Electrics offer zero emissions, are cheaper to run and maintain, as well as offering a better operator environment. Noise and cost savings will also benefit long-established companies, such as Barrett Steel, which have seen towns grow up around them, and are under pressure to reduce emissions and noise pollution wherever possible.

Added Mark: “Sales of electric sideloaders are outpacing engine powered alternatives by some margin, but it still takes foresight and a business committed to a better working environment for their operators to make the change after years of working in a particular way. For that, Barrett should be highly commended.”

Net Zero Ambitions

Established in Bradford in 1866, Barrett’s extensive steel processing facilities enable it to hold over 120kt of steel stock, via its general steel, engineering and tube processing divisions.

It was the first Stockholder in the UK to join The Climate Groups #SteelZero initiative and recently launched its Net Carbon Zero Road Map heading to 2035, of which the electric materialsh handling fleet transition plays a central role.

All sites are varied in size and scope, often located for the convenience of customers in the construction, oil and gas, transport and engineering sectors, amongst others. Further Baumann deliveries are set to take place in the year, with Barrett adapting more sites for sideloader operations.

Concludes Paul: “The trucks are performing well and the support we’ve received is excellent. We are confident that we’ve found the right partner in Baumann to help us grow and deliver for our customers well into the future.”

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