Electric stair climbing trolleys to transport goods and electric stair climbing trolleys with crawler tracks to transport people in wheelchairs on stairs.
In the production of electric stair climbing trolleys and logistics solutions
In 1977, Orfeo, Angelo Giorgio, Alfonso Amedeo and Claudio Zonzini founded Meccanica Zonzini, in an area in the province of Verona, historically renowned for furniture production. The purpose of the company was to build trolleys and devices to transport furniture and accessories for floor transport. In 1977 they built the first trolleys for floor transport of furniture, mainly pallet trucks (even electric) and wheeled trolleys. But they also made specific trolleys to help contemporary manufacturers to work differently, at times reducing the physical component to increase productivity.
In 1980, in addition to manufacturing standard wheeled trolleys to transport furniture and accessories inside factories, the problem began to arise of delivering to the end customer. This led to the first electric lift called “Falco 2000” which was mounted on the balcony of one’s home and, by means of an electric motor, a jib extension and steel cables, lifted furniture so as to transport it directly to the floor, without needing to tackle the stairs.
1988 is an important date in Zonzini’s history and for all that would come later on. It’s the year that the first electric stair climbing trolley was made to transport furniture, electrical appliances and kitchen worktops. The model was called “Artiglio” due to the then innovative technology of climbing up and down stairs. In fact, it was a series of grips (or claws, considering their shape) which literally clamped the upper step and dragged the entire device along with the load. It was the first type of electric stair climbing trolley ever seen, which would from there on inspire several other companies to come up with alternative products.
In 1990, the Zonzini company introduced the new electric lift Falco 2000 in aluminum alloy which, unlike its predecessor, was considerably lighter to facilitate the operator’s floor transport job. Furthermore, this model was equipped with a higher “outreach” than the previous one to increase the volume of the transportable goods without interfering with the underlying balconies.
In 1997, Claudio Zonzini decided to go his own way and focus on the design and production of stair climbing trolleys. The growing demand and the difficulties facing installers and removals shifted focus to a topic which would become the core of Zonzini business from then on, namely transport on stairs. This led to the first manual TRACKED stair climbing trolley, model ZP250.
In 1999 many innovative ideas were put into practice, perhaps too many. 1999 was the year when the first electric tracked stair climbing trolley with tilting surface came to light. And for the record, we should recall that this trolley really worked well. It actually totally eliminated physical effort on stairs and the operator worked with his back upright and in comfort during the entire transport process. Unfortunately, its benefits were not recognised at the time and only a few hundred were produced. We’ll find out later on that the approach that this trolley had in climbing stairs was a far cry from what many customers expected to do back then. Basically, they considered it too different from what the market offered at the time and ignored it. And to think that precisely inspired by this stair climbing trolley, many years later, in 2014, the Domino model was created, which is now successfully sold throughout the world, enjoying enthusiastic feedback everywhere. At times, being too innovative doesn’t pay off right away.
In 2003, one of the safest and most reliable stair climbing trolleys ever built was created, the Skipper model with base with anti-tip system. It was a one-of-a-kind stair climber and would remain so for many years to come. It became a great classic. For years, the Skipper tracked stair climbing trolley was deemed the safest ever built because it used what would be become known as Zonzini crawler tracks, of unparalleled quality and reliability. Many companies used it, and still do, to transport vending machines, boilers, marble blocks and all types of heavy material.
At that time, Zonzini was quickly earning market share in the industry of tracked stair climbing trolleys for heavy transport, making it necessary to diversify in order to earn market share in sectors where the Zonzini brand was less known. This led to the Buddy and Buddy lift electric stair climbing trolleys, which were suitable to transport lighter and less demanding loads, such as electrical appliances. Buddy Lift was particularly appreciated by the public due to electric load lifting, which improved the center of gravity while travelling on the stairs. This type of technology is less sophisticated than crawler tracks, and still greatly relies on the operator’s skill in balancing the load on each step. This is why they are only suitable for lightweight and less bulky transport than tracked trolleys.
2014 is a very important year in Zonzini’s history. In fact, it is the year that the first Domino electric stair climbing trolley was made. As mentioned above, in 1999 a tracked electric stair climber very similar to Domino had already been made. It was not a market favourite at the time, and it’s hard to figure out why, as from a functional point of view no significant complaints were actually made by any of its users. The decision of whether to manufacture a product certainly more advanced and much more high-tech than the 1999 model was taken directly by company ownership who, when all was said and done, couldn’t figure out how a product that worked so well only had a marginal role at the time. The market’s response, following the launch of the brand-new Domino trolley, was incredible, and a new era began in the world of stair climbing trolleys. The unique ease-of-use, reliability and performance of the product made possible above all by the Zonzini crawler tracks, which were further improved, made it a new reference point in the world of tracked stair climbing trolleys for heavy transport. It’s absolutely true that every product has its time, and often anticipating those times can lead to rushed and often wrong conclusions.
The Zonzini research department has always been hard-pressed to constantly improve not only the reliability of the entire product range but also, and above all, user experience. In 2015 Domino undergoes an important upgrade and becomes Domino Automatic. The new red Zonzini colour makes it unmistakable and immediately recognisable. The Automatic function automatically adjusts the load surface. Therefore, for the first time in history, an operator is able to guide a load up to 400 kg on stairs by just moving a joystick. Domino Automatic perhaps proved to be one of the best electric stair climbers ever built.
The natural evolution of a tracked stair climbing trolley as easy to use and safe as Domino Automatic was the adaptation to electronic and manual wheelchair transport. This adaptation allowed many people who normally move with heavy electronic wheelchairs to be able to be carried on various types of stairs without needing an elevator or freight lift.
In 2020 the popular Skipper model undergoes a deep change and completely repositions itself in the tall loads range of the market. The technology used is the same as Domino Automatic, therefore with powerful traction motors and sophisticated electronics. Skipper completes the range together with Domino Automatic and covers the segment of tall load transports, from 2 m up, such as doors and windows, electric switchgear and firefighting cylinders.
Zonzini is a company always focused on innovation, and it proves it by completely renewing the entire product range. They are equipped with the all new Plasmoid electronics created at Zonzini and additional new features have been introduced, all aimed at improving safety, user experience and product performance.
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