Barrett Steel Buildings, as its name suggests, designs, fabricates and erects steel buildings. All steelwork is fabricated on its premises in Bradford in the UK, and most of the steel is supplied by its sister company, Barrett Steel.

More than 15,000t of structural steelwork is produced by Barrett Steel Buildings each year for around 100 projects which include the construction of multiplex cinemas, distribution warehousing and leisure complexes throughout the UK.

Recent success means that the company has to work to extremely tight production deadlines. It has therefore made substantial investment in improving its production facilities. One key investment has been the upgrading of its crane systems, replacing pendant control and old radio control equipment with new HBC radio control systems supplied by Crane Care Ltd.

Crane Care was commissioned to install FST 716/12 Micron push button radio control systems on a selection of 5t and 10t overhead travelling cranes in Barrett Steel Buildings’ production facility.

The hand-held, battery operated HBC Micron 3 transmitter provides up to 16 digital commands, special ‘tandem drive’ operation and is compatible with HBC’s FSE 716 or FSE 707 receivers.

Joe Singh, production assistant at Barrett Steel Buildings, says: “Although we already had some radio control systems supplied by other manufacturers, we were not very impressed from a maintenance perspective, with their performance.

“The three systems fitted to the cranes in our ‘goods in’ and shotblast area were particularly problematic,” says Singh, “incurring £3,000 ($5,000) of repair costs in just 10 months. It therefore became increasingly clear it would be much more cost effective to replace the systems with new radio control equipment.” New radio control systems were installed on 11 cranes, two of which have the tandem drive feature, where only one transmitter is required to control both cranes simultaneously.

“The fact that we only need one operator, instead of two, to activate both cranes at the same time means that we no longer run the risk of accidents caused by operators mis-communicating directions to one another,” Singh says.

“One of the major problems we had with pendant control,” he continues, “was the amount of time we spent repairing loose plug and socket connections caused by every day wear and tear. We still have the pendants for back-up but rarely have to use them as the radio control systems are so reliable.

Singh adds: “Crane Care installed the first four radio control systems at a time when we were extremely busy. In order that we could meet our delivery deadlines, Crane Care were extremely co-operative, and installed the radio equipment during the weekend prior to Christmas to minimise any disruption. The seven remaining cranes were fitted early in the New Year, and although it was a bit quieter on the production floor, their engineer worked closely with us to minimise any disruption during this period.”