All aboard for R&M cranes at bus factory

16 November 2018

R&M Materials Handling manufactured more than 40 cranes and hoists for a bus production facility in California.

The equipment, supplied by R&M’s distributor CraneTech, was installed at Gillig’s operations at Livermore, California, following the bus manufacturer’s relocation from Hayward to a newlyconstructed, custom-designed

600,000 sq ft site at the Oaks Business Park, in the San Francisco Bay area.

CraneTech worked with Gillig’s design team to ensure that the cranes and hoists provided comprehensive material handling coverage of around 500,000 sq ft of the facility, which produces complete heavy-duty transit vehicles. The manufacturing process at the facility begins with small components and fabricates 29ft-, 35ft- and 40ft-long vehicles, with various drive systems. Production relies heavily on cranes and material handling systems in a range of capacities, up to 10t. Robert Murillo,

manufacturing engineering manager at Gillig, said: “Relocating and starting a greenfield project was a new experience for the team—but one that we approached with determination.

“We started with a blank canvas and had an opportunity to work with architects, engineers, crane professionals, and other specialists in their fields to create a state-ofthe- art manufacturing facility serviced by overhead lifting technologies, selected for the material handling needs of each particular production process. We had an existing relationship [with CraneTech] but we looked at a myriad of options and conducted site visits and tours to ensure we chose the best crane partner.”

Murillo explained that due to production demands, the existing Hayward site had to remain fully operational during the construction process, as Gillig couldn't endure any downtime once it was time to start installing equipment. Therefore, existing handling equipment, and other equipment, could not be relocated. Furthermore, the new manufacturing facility is more than double the size of the shop floor in Hayward, which measures around 200,000 sq ft.

The new facility features 15 separate crane bays, ranging from 20ft to 100ft in width and from 100ft to 1,150ft in length, as well as a number of jib cranes. CraneTech supplied Gillig with R&M’s Spacemaster SX wire rope hoists, from 1t–10t capacity, and R&M’s LK electric chain hoists ranging from 0.25t–2t. The hoists were chosen for their reliability, flexibility of options, efficiency, and the availability of spare parts for future maintenance. Jim Stewart, CEO at CraneTech, said: “Initially,

we were working from a spreadsheet. As the project got closer we attended a number of meetings to extend the scope to include workstation cranes and fall arrest systems. The sheer volume of equipment we were required to provide, coupled with orchestration of simultaneous installation made the Livermore project hugely challenging but extremely rewarding.”

Murillo explained that the material handling equipment is used for the duration of the daily production cycle, which sees buses move through the building as they take shape from chassis components and welded parts to finished vehicles, complete with tyres and engines.

Murillo said: “The cranes have performed well in line with our high expectations since production started at the new site. Our production facility has to demonstrate great versatility as we manufacture only to order and our customers can require anything from a single bus to a brand new fleet; this is a high quality manufacturing environment that produces renowned, custom products.”

Derek Maunus, president of Gillig, said: “Our new facility and the quality of buses built here represent a world-class operation that underscores our commitment to both our customers and our employees.

CraneTech supplied R&M’s Spacemaster SX wire rope hoists, with capacities from 1–10t.