Tata has invested £1.5m on four 12 tonne SWL overhead travelling cranes for its steel distribution centre at Redcar, England. The depot refit project, which has taken place in Teeside, was undertaken to improve material processing and boost turnaround times at the centre, which is one of 49 Tata operates nationwide.

The centres are position as locally accessible steel stock facilities that offer late and sections for use in engineering and marine fabrications or structural steelwork that can be cut, shot blasted and then painted prior to delivery to customers that will use the material in the next stage of manufacture.

Material flow According to Chris Lindley-Smith, sales director at Street Crane, the end product combines logic and innovation to ensure the distribution centre runs efficiently.

He explains: "The high rates of material flow and particular processing needs demanded a more innovative crane configuration. Four cranes have been provided of double bridge design, where two linked beams span the 20 metre bays and on these is fitted a 27 metre crane bridge, bearing twin six tonne hoists. "This permits zoned north/south and east/west material flow allowing steel to be brought into the processing bay, with transfer through the shot blast and painting processes before the finished steel is shipped out to customers."

Central to the new Tata configuration are twin six tonne hoists on each crane that can be operated singly or in tandem for so-called heavier or awkwardly shaped loads, which gives additional stability.

The hoists leverage magnet lifting technology from Walker Magnetics while anti-collision systems permit safe crane movement on a common gantry. These feature audible alarms and amber flashing lights to warn of the other crane approach. With twin floodlights on each crane operational from the remote controller.

Minimise downtime

According to the business, citing maintenance downtime is imperative for maximum productivity so hours of service metering on all crane motions will assist in planning proactive maintenance to sustain the plants uptime and efficiency. In addition, crane control will be carried out by push button infra-red link to comply with Tata requirements. Elsewhere, other key safety features include taut-wire safety lines to crane bridge platforms and ten safety harness anchor points at key locations such as panels, crabs and end carriages.

This latest project is one of many undertaken by Street Crane, the UK’s largest crane and hoist manufacturer, during the last 18 months. Other notable deals saw Street Crane and its South African partner GM Technical Services (GMTS) overcome a number of logistical hurdles to supply Illovo Sugar’s new 51,000sqm warehouse.

The facility is a combined initiative between Illovo and developer Collins Property Group with the operations outsourced to Barloworld Logistics, Illovo’s logistics partner. The company is South Africa’s leading sugar producer, supplying a raft of countries from the 170,000 tonne capacity facility. Street Crane teamed up with its local partner GMTS to supply and install a range of lifting and material handling equipment.

Custom build

The UK company supplied 12 eight tonne VX hoists, which were custom built twin hoists reeved on a single hoist drum to help ensure synchronised hook movement. GMTS then stepped in to synchronise the twin hoists on each crane through the use of encoder feedback and inverter drives. Each of these cranes will corner-lift a lifting beam that is capable of handling ten one-tonne international bulk containers (IBC’s) of sugar per movement.

Elsewhere, it supplied electric wire rope hoists for use on a crane playing a key role in the reconstruction of the Longfellow Bridge that runs Charles River at Cambridge, Massachusetts. The hoists were been installed on a bespoke crane that was built by Street Crane’s local partner Capco Crane and Hoist Company. Capco has built the crane that is helping renovate the 1.5m long bridge, which carries around 90,000 people per day as well as rail and road connections.

Bright future

And in September, Street Crane opened the doors of its new hoist production facility in September. The £3m factory, which was officially opened by Andrew Bingham, MP for High Peak in Derbyshire and Martin Street, chairman of the business, will improve capacity at the firm. The company expects to increase wire rope hoist production from 2500 hoists to 3200 hoists per year. It also anticipates that a second shift will be needed by 2016 to double production, bringing further employment in the process.

More than 10 percent of the company’s 200 employees work in the field of research and development, which involves the development and refinement of cranes and hoists. It also involved the production of bespoke software for crane design and costing, software that Street supplies to their overseas partners as part of their support package.