The manufacturer calls it an outreach system and that’s kind of the best way of describing it.

Consulting engineer Craven Associates will distribute the vehicle-mounted outreach hoist, manufactured by fellow UK company NIKO Ltd.


Suitable for a variety of delivery vans, the system enables up to 250kg to be handled from ground level at 1.1m behind the vehicle, and moved forward into the front for transit.

It’s a nice idea. After all, the problem of moving a load onto a tail lift or negotiating a pallet stacker, for example, around nearby vehicles, is eliminated. As long as there’s room for the back doors to open, there’s basically enough room to get the load on board.


While forklifts serve a purpose, I’ve gone on record before and stated that they are over-used where alternative forms of lifting, particularly from overhead, should be considered.

This particular system is powered directly from the vehicle’s 12 or 24 volt battery and is operated by a hand held remote control which is recharged from the cigarette lighter socket when not in use.


Forward and reverse travel of the side rails and load carriage is by high tensile chain drives, which are able to move the maximum load even on an upward slope “without any great effect on the vehicle’s stability,” Niko told me.

The main control cabinet is mounted on the bulkhead behind the driver and contains over-ride controls for use in the event that the remote unit is lost or damaged. When in transit, the load carriage is parked in the fully forward position and is automatically locked in place.

Niko’s main business is the provision of crane rail systems in kit form to the trade, rather than end user installations. This new van-mounted system is a derivation of its standard parts with the addition of electronic controls.

Craven Associates, meanwhile, has bought crane rail systems from Niko Ltd. for a number of years to supply its clients in the manufacturing industry.

I’d be interested to see how it works in real life. For a demonstration at your premises, or for further information, contact Craven Associates, tel: +44 (0)1452 712 233, email:

If you do get a demo, I’d be delighted to hear what you thought. Will you be putting in an order?

Keep in touch,

Richard Howes, Editor