The fight for freedom and peace in Afghanistan runs through, of all places, Cibolo, Texas, home of Kalmar RT Center’s headquarters.
On this 13.6 acre command post, Kalmar RT Center, the world’s only manufacturer of rough terrain reacher stackers, plays a vital role in the U.S.-led coalition’s 12-year quest to keep the troubled Middle Eastern country and its people free of Taliban rule. To operate effectively in one of the world’s most mountainous, remote and hard to travel countries, American and Australian Defense Forces are using Kalmar RT240 Rough Terrain Reach Stackers. The Kalmar RT240s allow the U.S. and ADF to easily cover treacherous grounds where infrastructure is non-existent or in ruins.
The ADF’s purchase is one of the first sales of a Kalmar RT240 since the machines became available to the commercial sector last fall. The RT240s were initially produced exclusively for the United States Armed Forces. Word is getting around the world of the immense tactical advantages the RT240 can offer.
Where other equipment may stall,
If the RT240, an 118,000-pound hauling Hercules sporting six-foot tires, has an operational motto, it’s virtually no terrain is too rough to travel. Whether operating in five feet of water in Barrow Island, a remote nature preserve off the northwest coast of Australia, three feet of mud, or the rock and rut-spiked hills of Afghanistan, the RT240 has yet to meet a geographic obstacle it can’t maneuver.
“It’s like any machine in the world in that it can tackle some very ominous terrain,” said Robert Schafer, Kalmar’s director of Global Accounts. “It’s an amazing machine.”
G.I. Joe would love one of these.
“Military agencies and companies around the globe are quickly learning how the Kalmar RT240 Rough Terrain Reacher Stacker increases production in ways they never imagined,” Randy Wingenroth, Kalmar RT Center vice president of product and business development said in a press release announcing the RT240’s commercial availability. “We are bringing the efficiencies learned through a decade of improving logistics for the U.S. military and sharing it with the world.”
With a satellite location in Kuwait, Kalmar RT Center has been a critical asset for the U.S.-led coalition’s cause and the uninterrupted flow and efficiency of supply trains. With the RT240, soldiers can stack and move supply containers three high. The $1 million machine boasts a lift capability of 53,000 pounds and is transportable by rail, truck or plane, including C-17s. The RT240 can roll at a top speed of 23 miles per hour.
It’s a Transformer, too.
“It raises the bar for (reach stackers) in its ability to operate in any terrain,” Schafer said. “It’s four-wheel drive, it folds down and the military loads it into a C-17. No other reach stacker in the world can do that.” It’s also a patriot machine.
“All over the world where remote logistics had to be set up (with the U.S. Army), (a Kalmar reach stacker) was there,” Schafer said. “In Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq (the U.S.’s long struggle to liberate the country), (a Kalmar reach stacker) was there.”
A subsidiary of Cargotec, Kalmar RT Center has long elusively provided stackers for the U.S. military. Kalmar has produced over 1,400 RT240s. But in a new day for the company, it’s going global and commercial with a sound plan to expand and supply to companies in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, construction, remote logistics, intermodal logistics, mining, forestry and governments.
Kalmar is moving into brave new territory and fertile new markets like Asia and Australia. The RT240’s future potential was on powerhouse display in its first commercial sale to Chevron and the Toll Group last year. Toll Group purchased RT240s to help carefully maneuver equipment around Barrow Island and protect the environment of the rare nature preserve home to at least 24 unique species of plants and animals.
Schafer sees thriving oil and logging markets in Texas, North Dakota and Canada among the RT240’s biggest potential markets for expansion.
“We’re continuing to tell the story about the product,” Schafer said. “We expect production to pick up with the success we’ve had with Chevron. The feedback we’ve had from Chevron was the important factor in moving forward. We know it’s tough to find a customer as good as the U.S. government … but the (RT240’s) story is still untold.”
For the RT240 still has a lot of wild new terrains to conquer.
Clete Campbell is a freelance journalist with 16 years of daily newspaper experience. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to contact Clete.