Safety came first when infrastructure support service leader Amey ordered a fleet of crane-equipped 3.5 tonne tippers for highways maintenance duties. The company invested in 80 new vehicles fitted with 250kg ‘Swinglift’ electric cranes by Penny Hydraulics, and tipping bodies Bevan Specialist Products.
The cranes are the latest model in Chesterfield-based Penny Hydraulics’ range. Mounted to the vehicles’ headboards, these compact lifters are suitable for loading whacker plates as well as other plant, signage or chemical drums. Their design incorporates a high-speed hoist and has a maximum working capacity of 250kg to easily handle equipment used by the highways engineers. Supplied in both 12V and 24V options; the crane runs off the vehicle battery.
The cranes are ultra-lightweight: the lightest model to ever be designed by the lifting equipment manufacturer, weighing just 20kg. Penny’s in-house design engineers worked hard on the crane design to remove weight without compromising on quality or safety. Using advanced CAD and finite element analysis tools, the team re-engineered existing crane models to reduce weight through optimised design and use of alternative materials.
Thanks to advanced design, Amey can have lifting equipment installed that has minimal impact on the overall vehicle weight, to leave more carrying capacity for maximised operational flexibility and productivity. Thanks to the crane structures being so light, Amey are also assured that fleet vehicle emissions will be kept to a minimum.
The crane comes with an easy to use wander lead remote control and being fully demountable, the cranes can be deployed on other vehicles, or removed completely meaning fleet flexibility can be maintained. Similarly, the MC250’s can be easily refitted to new, or replacement vehicles.
Safety is king when it comes to mechanical handling equipment. The MC250 model has a built-in overload device that ensures operator safety is maintained, as the crane does not allow lifting beyond its safe working load. The cranes are manufactured in the UK to stringent EU standards too, they’re CE marked and comply with all relevant UK legislation, giving Amey peace of mind that their equipment is perfectly safe for their operators to use.
Regular statutory examinations in accordance with Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), throughout the cranes life will ensure that the equipment remains safe for many years to come.
The vehicles’ safety credentials are further enhanced by the specification of their tipper bodies. Bevan Specialist Products, of Stone, Staffordshire, incorporated its innovative Safe-T-Drop system, which guards against the risk of a fall from height by operatives working on the vehicle bed, into the design.
The patented Safe-T-Drop rails can be easily folded away for loading and unloading, and are strong enough to withstand impacts from other vehicles such as fork-lifts. Raising the dropsides is also quick and simple; they can only be closed with the Safe-T-Drop rails in place, ensuring correct use of the rails at all times.
The benefits to Amey of choosing Penny Hydraulics cranes and Bevan bodies are clear: load handling devices such as the MC250 allow safer and more productive working, while the Safe-T-Drop systems further reduces the risk of accidents. Although important in all sectors, this is of upmost importance to the road transport industry which is historically renowned for being one of the most challenging industries to work in.
“Over 35% of accidents that happen in the road transport industry are related to manual handling,” said Richard Short, Penny Hydraulics Sales Director. “Responsible employers like Amey are taking proactive steps to reduce the risk of an accident and resulting injury, by removing the potential cause. Providing employees with a crane on their vehicles is a good place to start. We continue to play our part by developing new load handling devices and adding new features that promote safety and make it easier for operators to specify and have lifting equipment installed.”
Bevan Group Sales Director Roy Shelton added: “Amey were keen to explore ways of enhancing safety for their operatives when specifying these vehicles and the Safe-T-Drop package is a good case in point. Unlike some other systems, the Safe-T-Drop rails are permanently fixed to the vehicle, so it’s not possible to forget them. This means that whenever and wherever they are, Amey’s Bevan-built tippers always meet their stringent health and safety standards.”
Richard Guy, Amey’s Head of Fleet Operations, said: “We are pleased we had the opportunity to have been involved in the design process of these vehicles. We’ve worked closely with Bevan and Penny Hydraulics to ensure that we deliver the best design that meets the needs of our highways operations and helps us to improve the safety of our teams. We are really looking forward to receiving these vehicles and putting them into operation.”