The 2011 LiftEx in Leeds last November was the seventh of the shows to be organised by LEEA. Floorspace for the event was up 38% on previous years, and it attracted a record breaking 67 exhibitors. Exhibits ranged from heavy cranes with complex control systems for steel or pipe handling, through to a number of lower capacity manual hoists.

LiftEx is in many ways a showcase for LEEA members, and for the organisation as a whole. At this year’s event, it was clear to see that the association is becoming increasingly international.

One of the most important activities LEEA staff have been undertaking this year has been to develop compliance with ISO 17024, the international standard for personnel certification. This will allow the organisation to offer training that meets the needs of its increasingly international membership.

The announcement, shortly after the show, that LEEA had recruited its 500th member demonstrates the progress that it has made in moving beyond its historic base in the UK. The Indonesian branch of All-Rig Lifting and Engineering Supplies was announced as the 500th member of LEEA in December. Originally formed in 1944, LEEA has expanded rapidly in recent years, with membership more than trebling since 2003.

Welcoming All-Rig Indonesia, Geoff Holden, chief executive of LEEA, said: “The growing interest in LEEA membership reflects the quality and integrity of the training, accreditation and support services we provide for the overhead lifting industry. Our members and staff have worked incredibly hard to develop the association, with notable achievements including the creation of a purpose-designed training centre, new membership committees in the Middle East, Singapore and Australia, and the introduction of the ‘TEAM card’ identity scheme for engineers that pass our Diploma examination.”

All-Rig Indonesia joins its Australian-based operation as a full member of LEEA. Mark Heath, general manager of All-Rig, said: “Being a member of LEEA has enhanced our position as a creditable organisation by ensuring that our employees are trained to the highest level within the lifting equipment industry. It has also enabled the company to provide a range of services— such as on-site inspections, testing and supply of lifting equipment—where clients will only specify LEEA-accredited suppliers. In the area of Indonesia where All-Rig is based there is a significant offshore oil industry, and LEEA qualifications are mandatory in providing services to a large number of companies in this sector.”

Established as the Chain Testers Association in London in 1944, LEEA is now a truly global organisation, with over half of its members based outside the UK.

LEEA provides members with access to industry-recognised, CPD-certified training, qualifications and accreditation for lifting equipment engineers. Every year, hundreds of people participate in LEEA’s distance learning courses and Diploma examination programme. LEEA also offers a series of practical training courses, held at its purpose designed training centre in Huntingdon, and other locations worldwide, and produces authoritative publications on the safe use of overhead lifting equipment. The association is actively involved in the preparation of regulations and standards.

Although the Barcelona-based Airpes have had a presence in the UK for around five years, this was the company’s first year at Liftex.

With a worldwide dealer network covering six continents, Airpes engineers and manufactures a range of lifting equipment from load cells and weighing equipment to spreader beams, vacuum lifters, lifting beams and coil grabs.

The company’s representatives at Liftex for the UK were its distributor Industrial Remote Control Systems, based in County Durham, which is also a distributor for remote control manufacturer Ikusi’s products.

Although the manufacturing of Airpes products is done solely in Spain, the firm’s entire product range is now available in the UK. Currently the firm is working on a project with modular building manufacturer portakabin, providing vacuum lifting solutions for the job.

Airpes sales engineer, Nick Hodgson, says that the particular strength of the Airpes brand is the firm’s strong engineering staff in Spain and its versatility, enabling it to tackle a wide range of customer requirements.

“We do load rotating devices as well. There was one customer who was interested but thought from the brochure our products were too large for his application. But we can design the product specifically for that application. If you want to pick up 60kgs then we’ll design for you to pick p 60kgs. If you want to pick up 20t we’ll design for you to pick up 20t.”

Bridon attended Liftex to better promote the wide range of products they produce, not just for the lifting industry.

Although best known within lifting circles for its wire rope products such as its compacted 18mm Dyform heavy lifting strand, according to area sales manager Nick Wright, too few customers are aware of the range of general construction products that they provide, such as prestressed concrete strand and fibre ropes.

“It’s quite interesting, the amount of people that are involved in rigging, etc, that use fibres. It is another part of the business that we have had for several years, but not a lot of people know about it.

“The sort of applications that we use it for are your mooring applications on the docks, towing applications and cable laying applications, so when people mention that they do fibres, that’s an area that we can help.”

For some time now Bridon has been trying to develop a ‘hybrid’ wire/fibre rope product aimed at the offshore industry, where deeper drilling operations require a rope that will not break under the higher pressures at such great depths.

Wright said: “Now we’re looking at putting in development a hybrid product, joining the fibre and the steel wire together. At the minute there are processes in place in the factory to actually draw fibre like we do a wire so that we can make the wire out of the fibre, and possibly spin [the steel and the fibre] together. These are the things that we’re currently working on so we can get a lot deeper, and obviously it’s not going to be as heavy.”

Neptune Quay
Shortly after the event, Bridon announced plans for its new £30m rope making facility in Newcastle. The new Neptune Quay facility will produce multi-strand ropes in gross package weights of up to 650t making them by far the largest and most complex in the world. The facility intends to produce crane ropes of unmatched strength, safety and durability.

The plant, on Newcastle’s Tyneside, will be fully operational by the end of 2012. Bridon has already received production inquiries from a number of major multinational operators, and is planning a production schedule that will cater to the highest possible levels of demand.

Key to the site’s unrivalled capacity is its unique closer machine, which is used to draw together thousands of wire strands into a single rope. Bridon’s closer is the first of its kind capable of making a 600t rope in a single pass, enabling the production of longer and higher capacity ropes in a single piece and avoiding the need for multiple passes.

Bridon Neptune Quay’s closer also boasts 24 bobbins (15t and 38t capacity), giving it the ability to make far more complex ropes than had ever previously been possible with such weights.

Up until now, closers capable of producing very large ropes have typically had no more than eight bobbins.

Bridon Neptune Quay’s offer is not limited to the scale and complexity of the ropes it will produce. The site’s deepwater portside location will allow Bridonto use innovative loading solutions to reduce delivery timescales and order lead times for customers.

Jon Templeman, CEO of the Bridon Group, said: “The ropes produced at this state of the art facility will expand the boundaries of the possible for customers across the sector. Bridon Neptune Quay has been built to help us solve our customers’ most significant technological challenges, whether it is reaching new depths off the coast of Brazil, or operating in some of the most challenging environmental conditions on earth.

“This factory, which is the most advanced of its kind ever built, is a crucial part of Bridon’s work to become the global technology leader in wire and rope solutions for crane applications” British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who on a recent visit to the site confirmed a grant from the government’s Regional Growth Fund for the project, said: “Bridon is a global technology leader in the manufacturing of steel and wire rope, and this state-of-the-art facility can be a valuable asset in strengthening the local and regional economy. We’ll be proud to see the facility furthering the region’s reputation as a global manufacturing base.”

Brindley Chains
Brindley Chains has been an established lifting equipment supplier in the UK market for over 27 years, and has been associated with Austrian chain manufacturer Pewag Chains for just as long.

However at Liftex 2011, the company also announced that they have just signed a deal with Japanese lifting equipment manufacturer Nitchi to supply its chain blocks and lever hoists.

Although for many years Brindley sold Pewag’s grade 8 steel chain products, the company left the market for grade 8 products in 2003 when Pewag decided to switch to production of Pewag’s grade 10 ‘Winner’ range of chain products.

Now Brindley Chains is re-entering the market for grade 8 chains, as according to Brindley Chains’ sales director, Harry Johnson, the switch to grade 10 products didn’t go down in the UK as well as had been hoped.

“As a company we have just launched a grade 8 system now, so we have now got a grade 8, grade 10 and a grade 12 system. Unfortunately, in the UK the marketplace [for grade 10] hasn’t taken off as we’d expected it would, and grade 8 is still taking the lion’s share, 75%–80%, which is why we’ve gone back into that sort of marketplace to operate.”

Brindley Chains is also hoping for a better reception for the grade 12 ‘Winner Pro’ range, which has been on the market in the US for four years but is relatively new to the UK. Currently only available to order from Brindley Chains, Johnson says that the Winner Pro offers a better lifting capacity relative to grade 8 products, pointing out that a 7mm grade 8 chain can lift up to 1.5t whereas a grade 12 chain can lift 2.36t.

In addition to its chain products, Brindley Chains used Liftex 2011 to promote its newly developed stainless steel pump-handle lifting clamp, designed for use in the water treatment industry.

Johnson explains: “The PH allows you to attach the pump chain directly onto the pump handle without the requirement for a shackle, and it gives you a much more generous range up to 50mm wide pump handle, whereas for a bit of shackle on a small jaw width you’d have to go up to using a 5t or 6t shackle, which is obviously very expensive. That’s new product which we also developed ourselves.”

Crane Care
At Liftex 2011 Birmingham, UK based lifting equipment specialists Crane Care’s big news was that they have recently become the UK agents for Swiss family firm Truninger’s magnet lifting products.

Truninger products are designed for the handling of materials such as steel coils, steel plates, sheet metal, tubes, rebar and scrap metal.

With a range of magnetic lifting solutions for lighter applications, along with heavy-duty magnets such as the Mill Master scrap handler for weights up to around 10t, Truninger products use the Quick Pick control system. According to the firm, the Quick Pick system exceeds all national standards along with CEN standards for load lifting equipment.

Each system features a backup battery for independent power in the event of a power failure or fault with any phase of control. To this end the power cables, along with the temperatures of the magnets, are monitored continuously to guard against overheating and other problems. The system can be controlled using a master programmable logic controller.

Features of Truninger products include Compensated Field Reduction (CFR), which allows a stack of picked items, such as steel plates, to be placed before the magnetic field strength is lowered, allowing the number of steel plates to be picked up from this pile to be controlled.

For scrap magnets, the Quick Pick Single is Truninger’s system of choice. It is housed in a 600mm x 400mm x 200mm IP54 compliant cabinet for outdoor use, and weighs 36kgs.

As with the Quick Pick system, lockout protection systems that guard against overheating of the magnet and generator, along with a sensor controlled magnet current and CFR system are included in the Quick Pick Single.

As well as highlighting reduced European lead times for Crosby block and sheave products, thanks to the block and sheave centre opened at Crosby’s Putte, Belgium facility in 2009, one of the main reasons for Crosby’s attendance at Liftex 2011 was to publicise the Crosby Quick-Check Inspection and Identification System. Crosby has had RFID tags integrated into its product lines for many years now and is seen by some as a pioneer of the technology within the industrial lifting industry. However, according to Crosby sales director Andrew Charlesworth, ar too many are unfamiliar with the company’s role in promoting the technology over the years. Charlesworth says: “It was us who introduced item-level RFID into lifting. Three years ago when I did a presentation on RFID in lifting, there were no RFID companies at Liftex. After we talked to a few, lo and behold, the next year one turned up, the next year there were two, and I think there’s three or four here this year.”

Standard Crosby products such as the company’s red-pin shackles, hoist rings McKissick blocks, Crosby Eliminators and IP and Clamp Co Lifting Clamps all have RFID tags embedded during the fabrication process, making their use with the Quiccheck system easy whether for asset tracking or for inspection.

As well as the cost reductions possible through using RFIDbased inspection systems, which Charlesworth claims can be as much as 72% according to customer reports, the system allows firms to access the information on the tags using their own RFID readers. This enables them to see details of the last time a piece of equipment was inspected, and its condition at that time during their own in-house inspections, unlike RFID systems used by other companies who may use read-only RFID tags, and helps guard against less thorough inspections by “cowboy” inspection companies.

Gunnebo Lifting
Gunnebo Lifting is an international producer of lifting systems. Its main products are chain and components— such as master links, couplers, hooks, swivels— and shackles and blocks. lamps, steel wire ropes, and polyester product together form another big part of the range.

Gunnebo Lifting showed a range of product innovations. One of the most recent is the MFH, or Master Link Hybrid, designed for use with large DIN 15401 hooks. The link has been designed to fit perfectly on the hook, while balancing the load evenly. The inside top of the MFH is flattened, increasing the surface area in contact with the hook, and reducing wear which could cause corrosion. The bottom of the hook however remains round, ensuring the load is well-balanced.

The company says that, unlike pear shaped master links, the MFH has parallel legs offering generous space to connect multiple legs, and makes assembly easier for the user.

Gunnebo Lifting also showed a new version of its rotating lifting point, RLP. The new ERLP builds on the original concept, but takes on board customer requests for a product that could still rotate in confined spaces. The new ERLP has a slimmer, smooth profile design, making it suitable for use in these situations.

The company was also promoting its new lifting clamp range for steel plates, and the Arctic shackle which can withstand temperatures down to -40°C without decreasing the working load limit.

Gunnebo Lifting has recently started supplying all customers directly from a centrally located warehouse. This will allow it to offer enhanced service and delivery accuracy all over the world.

Red Rooster
UK-headquartered lifting, winching and load measuring equipment supplier Red Rooster used LiftEx to present a new radio remote control system for pneumatic hoists, and to demonstrate the development of its new branch in Stavanger, Norway.

The new Red Rooster radio remote control system has been developed to be particularly useful where long control lines are an issue. It offers an alternative means of operation for the hoist, hoist and trolley, or complete crane system.

Many of the customers served by Red Rooster from its locations in Aberdeen and Stavanger work in the oil and gas sector. The new remote control system on display at LiftEx can be used in nonhazardous areas. Red Rooster is also currently developing a remote control for air hoists that can be used in ATEX Zones.

The new radio remote system for pneumatic hoisting applications is suitable for use on wire rope hoists and chain hoists. It is fitted with a safety STOP function, compliant to standard Category 3 CE EN-954-1 or EN13849. It can be used with 24, 48, 155 and 230v AC receiver power supplies, with a maximum of 6 output relays. The transmitter can be powered by two AA alkaline batteries or two AA NiMH rechargeable batteries.

Red Rooster established its Norwegian business, Red Rooster Norge AS, in 2010. Over the last year, Red Rooster Norge has been developing its quality assurance and accreditation in line with Norwegian requirements. Red Rooster stressed that he accreditation applies specifically to the Norwegian unit. Having this accreditation classifies Red Rooster Norge AS a ‘Competent Company’ approved to inspect and certify lifting equipment, within specified work groups, covering such items as pneumatic and electric chain hoists, powered winches, load cells (tensile and compressive), manual chain hoists and below-the-hook items. The certification also, under Independence Category “C”, allows Red Rooster Norge AS to inspect and certify any make of equipment.

Qualification category “S2” has been achieved allowing Red Rooster Norge AS to certify based on tables and manuals from OEMs.

This accreditation is extremely difficult to achieve and is a fundamental requirement of the Norwegian offshore sector companies, and others, prior to placement of lifting equipment orders.

US vacuum lifter specialist Vacuworx used LiftEx to present its products to a European audience, and to promote them for use in new sectors, beyond its traditional base in pipeline work.

The ‘bread and butter’ of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, company’s business has been in building vacuum lifters and pads aimed at the pipeline industry. In line with this business, it focuses on higher capacity products, with working loads for its standard line ranging from 3t to 20t. It can also offer products with capacities up to 40t on request.

It does not limit itself to pipe-lifting only though. Other applications for Vacuworx’s lifting equipment include granite counter tops, plate steel and glass.

The company desribes itself as the global leader in manufacturing in-field and in-plant vacuum lifting equipment. It manufactures, sells and services vacuum lifting systems for the energy, construction, infrastructure, and utility industries.

It says that vacuum lifting has proven to be the safest, fastest and most economical means of handling pipe, steel and concrete sections. Vacuworx Systems handle all forms of pipe, plate, and slabs including steel, plastic, concrete and cast iron pipe, steel plate, steel piling, and pre-cast slabs. The company’s lifters can be attached to excavators, forklifts, telehandlers, cranes, wheel or track loaders, pipe layers, and knuckle booms, and can handle surfaces with a variety of coatings as well as somewhat uneven surfaces Van Beest Van Beest showed new products in its Green Pin and Excel ranges at LiftEx.

Van Beest has been making high-tensile shackles for more than 80 years. The company was originally established by Dirk van Beest in 1922, initially as a supplier of iron works to the dredging industry. From the very beginning, the company has been forging shackles. The company is based in Sliedrecht, close to Rotterdam. Shackles made there are sold under brand Green Pin.

The company expanded in 2007 with the acquisition of French manufacturer Forges de l’Éminée in Celles sur Durolle. The French arm of the business manufactures an extensive range of chain accessories, like grade 80 and grade 100 hooks, and a vast range of other products. These products are sold under the brand name Excel.

In the Green Pin range, Van Beest was showing a new wide mouthed shackle, now available in smaller capacities, designed for loads with thick lifting points.

The shackles are now available in four smaller sizes, taking the lower end of the range down to a capacity of 4.75t. At the top of the capacity range, Van Beest’s Green Pin wide mouth shackles can lift up to 75USt. Compared to Green Pin Standard shackles these products have a bigger opening between the shackle eyes. Originally designed for towing, this product was redesigned and extensively tested earlier in 2011 to make it suitable for lifting.

The bow and pin are made from Grade 8 quenched and tempered alloy steel. The shackle is hot-dip galvanized. It offers a minimum breaking load safety factor of six times working load limit.

In the Excel range, Van Beest has developed a new chain shortener that does not require an extra leg of chain, so less components are required at the master link.

The customer can simply attach the clutch at any point along a sling leg to shorten the sling length, ensuring maximum versatility and adjustment. Currently the clutch is available for 13mm chain, and other sizes will be manufactured shortly. Like the shackle, the clutch is manufactured from Grade 8 steel.

William Hackett
British firm William Hackett has been producing chains at its plant in Cradley, in the West Midlands, for 110 years. Since 1989, it has also produced lifting equipment at a plant in Alnwick, Northumberland.

The company has built a number of strategic partnerships over the years, in order to provide its customers with a full range of products. At LiftEx it showed its first in-house branded chain hoists and lever hoists.

The new hand chain block and lever hoists are assembled at William Hackett’s plant in Alnwick. Each is individually light load and static load tested and issued with a declaration of conformity at the plant.

The company says its new C3 hand chain block offers a lightweight, compact and robust design. It features cast steel nibbed safety catches and a galvanized handchain with a unique chain joiner. The C3 can be fitted with a Grade 100 load chain. Standard models offer a 4x safety factor, but this can be increased to 5x on request. The C3 is available in capacities from 500kg–20t.

Like the hand chain block, the new L3 lever hoist can be fitted with a loadchain up to Grade 100. It features a low weight pressed steel casing and cast steel nibbed safety catches. It is available in capacities from 750kg–10t.

Both products can be delivered overnight, and the company holds a comprehensive supply of spare parts in stock.