The hoists join seven overhead cranes and two semi-gantry cranes already in operation at the facility.

Inductotherm Equipment Belgium, a member of the Inductotherm group, is a specialist in the design, manufacture and commission of induction heating equipment for the steel industry.

Serge Houet, new factory project manager at the manufacturer, said: "Our old plant at Herstal dates from the 1920s and we absolutely needed to modernise our production organisation. To meet our needs for greater space we therefore took the decision to build a new plant of 10,000m² on the Hauts Sarts industrial estate in the commune of Herstal.

“We were already experienced in operating Verlinde lifting and handling equipment. Europa-Levage secured the awarded contract by proposing the supply of Verlinde hoists that met our specifications in every detail.

“Our new building includes a main bay that we call High Bay, 100m long by 50m wide with a lifting hook clearance height of 9m. At right angles to High Bay, we have five Low Bays which are 50m long by 20m wide with a lifting hook clearance height of 6m. For our lifting and handling operations in these six bays we have installed seven overhead cranes, two semi-gantry cranes and eleven Verlinde hoists.

“The High Bay, in which we assemble parts and components made in the Low Bays, is equipped with a double girder box-type crane bearing two Verlinde hoists, one a 32t Eurobloc type VT4 and the other a 3.2t type VT1. These two hoists on the same overhead crane are used individually to move loads or together to turn parts over.

“We have also installed in High Bay another overhead crane, a single box-type, fitted with a 3.2t Verlinde Eurobloc VT1 for back-up handling operations.

"The Low Bays have a lifting hook clearance height of 6m. The first four are equipped with single girder box type overhead cranes with a 3.2t Verlinde Eurobloc VT1 hoist. In the fifth Low Bay a double girder box type overhead crane equipped with a 12.5t Eurobloc VT3 hoist and a 3.2t VT1 hoist enable the handling of heavy items such as copper induction reels.

“Lastly, at the extreme end of each of the first two Low Bays, a semi-gantry crane with a 3m lift height, is equipped with a 1t hoist to handle small loads. These two gantry cranes travel on one side on the same roller path.

“We handle and move heavy, cumbersome loads across significant horizontal and vertical distances, so safety and reliability of the cranes and hoists operated by the personnel are decisive aspects. It was important for us that the equipment of our new plant benefitted from the latest handling equipment technology. For instance, for all overhead crane and hoist travel we decided on frequency variation speed control electric motors that offer great flexibility, greater precision, are jolt-free, offer low load sway and smooth braking thus keeping not only brake pad maintenance to a minimum but also ensure low wear of mechanical drive components. For travel safety we added anti-collision systems to the limit switches and rubber stops in order to eliminate any shock between equipment units. Finally, all cranes and hoists are radio-controlled.”