Manual handling regulations and ergonomics associated with the use of high capacity, heavy duty Rail Vehicle Lifting Jacks have always been a concern for both designers and users.
Global leaders for innovation, Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE) and Lloyds Somers, the manufacturing division of Birmingham’s national lifting equipment specialist Lloyds British, faced the problem head on and came up with an ingenious method for jack positioning and use. Conventional jacks are either mobile, using castors or a rear mounted hydraulic steering unit or rail mounted with retractable anvils.
The design developed by Lloyds Somers and HRE uses “air technology” which utilises air skates mounted under the jack base allowing the jack to be accurately and easily positioned by a single operator.
The jack set also incorporates a “side shift” facility which enables the position of the elevated vehicle to be adjusted whilst each jack is under load. This is a great advantage when building or maintaining the vehicles, as precise adjustment is available when aligning the mating parts between the vehicle body and the bogie.
Lloyds Somers director Steve Reece, who headed up the project, said: “To be the first UK company to be entrusted with crafting and supplying such an cutting edge piece of bespoke equipment is indeed an accolade. It’s fantastic to see the UK recognised for its unrivalled design and manufacturing skills, particularly within an industry as high profile as rail.
Key to our success was the fact that Lloyds British has all the skills to complete such a project under one corporate roof, from the consultancy and the design, right through to the manufacture and installation.”
Scott Dickson, Manufacturing Engineer at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Lloyds worked closely with us to match our requirements and come up with a bespoke solution. We look forward to continuing to develop new ideas with them in the future to further improve our production processes.”