The contract came after Ian Watson, director, Linian Crane & Hoist Company, supplied and installed a swing jib crane in the large and busy manufacturing factory and was asked to come up with a solution for transporting different reel rollers from a storage area and lifting them in and out of production machines, according to which the product needed to be manufactured at any one time.

“The machines were adjacent to one another, but the storage area was in a different location albeit in the same building. Also, there were many obstructions to get round and there was ducting restricting the height available,” said Watson.

“We carried out a very detailed site survey and came up with a totally free-standing structure that supported a continuous overhead runway beam incorporating a 90° bend. We had to be careful where we positioned the supporting stanchions as they had to be in the right places to give adequate support but not encroach on access points and areas of operation. Additional supports were required for the 90° bend, and we were able to provide this despite very limited space.”

The customer agreed to re-route some ducting, but Watson and his team had to work around the rest.

They manufactured the complete structure, which included a three phase four-bar protected conductor power feed system pre-formed to go around the 90° bend and a 500kg Liftket dual speed electric travelling chain hoist with low voltage pendant control and a special adjustable close-headroom roller lifting device.

Installation, testing, and commissioning took two working days even though the team had to work around the customer’s non-stop production requirements.

“Linian particularly shine when the customer wants something different, bespoke equipment tailored to individual customer requirements is our speciality,” said Watson.

“Previous projects include a programmed hoisting arrangement feeding elephants in a zoo, a sophisticated hoisting arrangement on an international competition climbing wall, a container handling system for the decommissioning of a nuclear facility, and a remote-controlled crane with a special accurate load positioning feature in a hazardous area.     

“We are currently producing an endless overhead runway beam system with a safe working load of 250kg for an aerospace manufacturing plant to replace an existing smaller and somewhat problematic profile track system which has the power feed running inside the profile track making it difficult to access when breakdowns occur. We will be using conventional universal beams rather than profile sections.

“The new system will have three 20-metre-long parallel sections 3 metres apart from each other linked by 180° curved sections at each end of the system and having two spur legs linking to other beams. A total of six electric travelling chain hoists will operate on the system and transfers between the beams will be facilitated by points and turntables all electrically interlocked and totally fail-safe. The power feed will be a four-bar protected conductor system mounted externally for ease of access and future maintenance.  

“Another current project is supplying 15 individually designed runway beams, 6 jib cranes, and one overhead crane, all for a new power station in the southwest. As is often the case a detailed site survey revealed complications not seen on the customer’s original drawings and we will now design around these so that the equipment when installed operates satisfactorily and safely, we enjoy a challenge.”