Renting can make life easier and more efficient25 April 2017
As a recent housebuyer, I’ve become very aware of two things—firstly, the fact that a small flat in the south of England will cost you more than the three-bedroom semi-detached house your friend bought in the north-west, and secondly, there are advantages to both buying and renting a property.
One advantage of renting was made very clear to me when the bathroom floorboards started bending worryingly and had to be replaced—and as the owner, I of course had to cover the cost.
It does seem a worthwhile investment compared to the alternative—the floor eventually collapsing and me falling into the foundations of the building, possibly followed by the hand-basin, bath-tub and toilet—but nevertheless, as a previous long-term renter, covering unexpected maintenance costs as the owner can come as an unwelcome surprise.
In the lifting industry, some companies and end users opt to hire rigging lofts rather than buying outright, and there’s a number of benefits—including being able to leave the responsibility for inspection and maintenance, and the associated costs, with the hire company.
This in turn also reduces downtime. By exchanging rented equipment for new after a set period, before maintenance checks are due, customers can minimise changeover time, with the used equipment either inspected and maintained off-site, or in some cases discarded. In high-profit sectors such as the offshore industry, the time saved compared to inspecting on-site can equate to big saving.
You can read more on the rental sector in this issue, along with another interesting and developing sector, asset tracking. It also relates to the necessity—both legal and practical—for regular inspection of equipment, to detect and prevent failures before they happen. For this to happen effectively, operators need a surefire method of tracking each piece of equipment, and being able to correlate them all with their respective inspection history records.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is being widely adopted. In one of my previous editorial roles several years ago, on a packaging magazine, I wrote about the introduction of RFID into that sector, where it was being used to help track re-usable pallets and reduce the cost of lost units.
It’s good to see that, as with most technology, its capabilities are increasing all the time. At the same time the costs are going down, making it more accessible and enabling the lifting industry to improve efficiency. Talking of packaging, as I write I’m preparing for ProMat, which covers equipment for the full supply chain, from packaging to, of course, hoists and lifting gear. It will be good to make proper inroads into the industry there.
My other recent travels took me to Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands—this time for leisure, rather than professional reasons—and spotted a GH sling in action at the harbour, raising and lowering boats from the water. Hoists turn up everywhere, if you keep your eyes open.