The pioneers from Heilbronn.

With its radically new ideas and a clear focus on the user, Bär Cargolift has evolved to become one of Europe's biggest manufacturers of lifting platforms.

One thing is certain for Bär Cargolift, and has been since the company was founded in 1981: it is the customers and their needs that determine the nature of the solution. The product must function perfectly within the customer's working environment and deliver genuine added value before it will be produced by Bär. The key objective remains the continual further development and adaptation to specific new applications. 

Many developments come about because we talk to the customer, identify their problems and then work to come up with a solution.
Thomas Dürr Head of Sales D, A, CH and Key Account Management

Across so many sectors and potential uses, each customer's specific application is as different as their transportation needs. Uses might include, for example, the loading of wheeled containers in laundries or in the food sector, through to whole Euro-pallets together with a pallet lifter in the trades and services sector. But one thing remains the same: every potential customer is looking for an efficient, time-saving and fuel-efficient solution for loading and unloading their vehicle. Something that the Bär VanLift FreeAccess delivers in unique style.

As the name "VanLift FreeAccess" already suggests, this type of lifting platform has been specifically developed for the van segment.  It is particularly suited to compact commercial vehicles such as the Sprinter, which combine the flexibility of a passenger car with a high payload.

With the "FreeAccess", the operative retains free access to the rear of the vehicle at all times. The customer still has direct access to the vehicle, because the lift platform folds in half vertically, thereby reducing its width by half when folded. When unfolded, a platform nevertheless extends across the full width of the rear doors, so allowing the transport of large, bulky goods. "The optimum and symmetric distribution of force across the vehicle means that weights of up to 600 kg can be carried", Thomas Dürr explains. A further feature is the standard remote control unit, which allows safe operation of the VanLift.

A Sprinter and a lift in one integral unit.

The Sprinter and the VanLift FreeAccess are linked by more than the shared intended use. "We see our role as integral to the vehicle", explains Thomas Dürr in an interview. "When a new vehicle comes onto the market, as for example the new Sprinter, we have to get talking very early on to the design and development department at Mercedes-Benz Vans so that we can familiarise ourselves with all the mechanical as well as the electrical interfaces."

One development objective is to be able to fit the lift without the need to modify the bodywork. The VanLift therefore uses the mounting points that are provided as standard for the trailer coupling.

Probably the most important factor that is common to both Mercedes-Benz Vans and Bär Cargolift is, and remains, the aspiration to achieve 100-percent reliability with the product. This is particularly true in the case of the Mercedes-Benz VanSolution. "The customer gets a vehicle from a single source. A product in which all the components are matched to one another", says Thomas Dürr.

We want to offer the highest quality and be drivers of innovation – not just for ourselves, but also for our whole sector.
Thomas Dürr Head of Sales D, A, CH and Key Account Management

A look behind the scenes at Gerd Bär GmbH.

The best solutions are the result of collaboration.

"Bär as a company would probably not exist in this form without Daimler", admits Thomas Dürr. In the year the company was established, 1981, founder Gerd Bär made contact with the largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in the German region of Swabia – Daimler AG.

Following a successful start with the "Düsseldorf", one of the first Mercedes-Benz panel vans, equipped with a Bär fold-under taillift, history took its course. The VanLift FreeAccess has been an established concomitant to the Sprinter range since 2006.

A not insignificant factor in this good cooperation is the shared objective of following new and trailblazing paths. This is also apparent within the company:

We have a lot of motivated, long-serving employees and ambitious young colleagues. We have learned how to bring different characters and cultures together to create a sense of togetherness that is characterised by a spirit of mutual support. This is very important in today's world.

We have a shared spirit. In a play on words of our company name, we call our employees "Bears", because they don't just do their jobs, but give their all for our product.
Thomas Dürr Head of Sales D, A, CH and Key Account Management

With a keen eye to the future, Thomas Dürr can report: "We are currently working on networking our cargo lifts with the vehicles. All our products already feature intelligent controls. In the future, a telematics interface will bring further benefits in terms of availability, safety and inventory control."

A service technician these days is already able to access a digital error log. In future, the fleet manager will be alerted by the vehicle's telematics system to a potential need for servicing or maintenance work.

The maximum permissible weight of the vehicle itself will in future move more and more towards 3.5 tonnes – the reason for this being its increasingly urban working environment. What will not change, however, are the high demands made of any vehicle used for transportation purposes.

All in all, an ideal starting point from which Mercedes-Benz VanSolution and Bär Cargolift can move forward together.