Movetech UK (the new name for British Turntable) has supplied two purpose-built turntables to the Trinity House buoy maintenance facility at Swansea to facilitate the cleaning and painting of buoys, providing a tailor-made solution to the grit-blasting and painting process that is both safer and more efficient. The 2.5 metre diameter revolves, which have been built to Trinity House’s specification to withstand the harsh environment in which they operate, have a capacity of 10 tonnes and include a variable speed facility up to 4rpm.
David Houghton, Technical Director at Movetech UK, explains "Grit blasting is notorious for getting into mechanical components and ruining them, so we had to take extra precautions to protect the turntable from grit ingress, and then make sure all components were rugged enough to withstand the conditions. The turntable is also zinc metal sprayed for corrosion protection in the marine environment and is therefore designed for both internal and external use.
"We fitted restraints to secure the buoy to the turntable top in case the turntable is moved with the buoy in position and, similarly, the top of the turntable has a mechanical lock to prevent accidental rotation during transit.
"Controls are purely pneumatic to avoid flammability issues in the paint booth. These are detachable for protection during transit and can be connected at either end of the base of the turntable to make the positioning of the turntable after transit easier. Controls can be positioned remotely on a stand for the paint booth, where operators are more likely to set the turntable going, adjust the speed, and then leave it running. Alternatively the controls can be used via a foot pedal, which is makes is easier for an operator in protective clothing, when grit blasting, for instance, where release of the foot pedal causes the turntable to stop."
Jeff Westwood, Yard Supervisor at Trinity House, Swansea, is delighted with the way the turntables have streamlined the cleaning and painting process. He says "We use the turntables on a daily basis and they are a major asset to the buoy yard. They make the whole process more efficient as the operator can stay in one place and use the foot control. With the old panniers we used there was a lot of stopping and starting as the operators pushed the staging around. It was much more time-consuming.
"The majority of buoys we paint and refurbish on the turntables are Class 2, 3048 cm in diameter and 3118 cm high and around 5 tonnes in weight. These remain at sea for around five years before being brought in to be cleaned of mussels, barnacles and grime that can cause system break down, eg to batteries, and wear and tear on the mooring lugs and chain. A big increase in sea life growth also makes the buoys heavier and generally less efficient.
"Each buoy, from the Class 1+1 at 10 tonnes to the Class 2 at 5 tonnes in weight, therefore goes through various processes, including grit blasting, painting and assembling. This means we have to rotate machines from the grit blast to spray paint areas from time to time, so it was important to have units that could be moved around the yard floor. Movetech UK addressed this by ensuring the turntables would fit onto our existing flatbed truck transport system."
Movetech UK’s ability to provide solutions to complex materials handling and logistics problems is drawn from 50 years experience of turntable design and manufacture combined with expertise in Hovair air film technology and Jung heavy duty lifting and moving equipment.
Regular demands for this expertise include bespoke manual or powered solutions to present component parts to automotive process machinery, index aircraft wings or aero engines through assembly flow lines; rotate equipment undergoing testing; move large, heavy or awkward machinery into position; present components ergonomically to an operator feeding a production line; and to speed up delivery vehicle turnaround times.
In addition to its extensive product portfolio, Movetech UK offers a range of services which extends from pre-project advice and project design, through to delivery, installation, maintenance and calibration. A rental service is available on most turntable products.