Since December the Bridon wire rope factory in the UK has not worried about its lifting equipment. It has been someone else’s problem. In fact it has been the problem of Certex UK, which has launched a lifting equipment service and management system called LEMIS (lifting equipment management and inspection system).

Certex supplies all lifting products and services on a six-monthly supply rotation to the Bridon factory. The LEMIS contract is tailored to meet the factory’s needs which at this stage involves steel ropes and associated lifting products. It is anticipated that this supply will be further tailored as the exact lifting requirements are fully determined.

With the LEMIS package Certex says it can lift the burden of using lifting equipment from its customers, allowing them to concentrate on core business. The company believes the increasing amount of legislative standards for lifting equipment and operations makes their management a difficult and time consuming operation.

Bridon’s Stockbridge plant engineering manager, Martin Lowe, concurs. “Recent legislation has rightly tightened up on inspection and certification of lifting products and we thought it economical to contract this increasingly important part of the business to material handling specialists.” Another advantage, says Lowe, is that Certex can advise on lifting equipment and products to reduce costs and time in Bridon’s lifting operations.

Perhaps not coincidentally Certex and Bridon are sister companies. Both are subsidiaries of FKI Group, which also includes other ancillary lifting equipment manufacturers such as Crosby and Parsons. But in this context, Bridon is just another LEMIS client.

Certex says it has the in-house expertise and associations to take care of all the lifting needs of its customers efficiently. Through the LEMIS programme Certex offers a rental package of lifting gear and management supplied to its customers’ plant. LEMIS has six elements – rental, supply, testing, management, maintenance and inspection. The focus is rental, whereby Certex offers to become the owner or duty holder of its clients’ portable lifting machines and accessories. This releases the client from responsibility for all problems associated with the equipment. The lifting equipment can be supplied to clients in a customised container, rigging loft or on a pallet, from where it can be stored in a suitable area on the client’s site.

Based around this, clients can develop a LEMIS contract tailored to their specific needs. Additional services may include testing of fixed lifting equipment, site engineers and contract management dedicated to providing a 24-hours-a-day service. It might also include the fabrication of lifting beams, swing jibs and other material handling requirements.

According to Certex the LEMIS service is already well established in the offshore oil and gas market where the extreme environment lends itself to dedicated expertise. Certex is now targeting inland businesses, such as large manufacturing facilities, which it believes will also benefit from the same cost saving principles.

Certex consists of more than 30 separate business enterprises that operate from more than 130 distribution locations in 20 different countries, including 39 in the USA. It has annual global sales of more than $350m. It is primarily an equipment distributor, so moving into service contracting represents a new avenue for the company. To date, however, it only has contracts for the new LEMIS service in the UK.

Now, though, it is set to market the service internationally. The company already claims a strong presence in the USA and is training staff to deliver the LEMIS package to its customers there.

Personnel from Certex Houston are in the UK for a full training and development programme expected to last until April.

Although certain elements of the LEMIS service are available in North America and have had certain successes offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, the aim is to expand the whole LEMIS service across the country. Chris Black, general manager of Certex Central USA, comments: “We aim to fully develop the LEMIS service across North America and foresee great potential in both the offshore and inshore markets. We are in the process of implementing a staff training programme which should see the service available on a phased basis until it is fully implemented later on in the year.”