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Penny Hydraulics Swing Lift cranes improving safety and efficiency for ten years at Everards brewery

Leicestershire based independent brewery Everards has been using Penny Hydraulics Swing Lift cranes mounted on its technical services vehicles for ten years to improve safety and efficiency when handling drinks coolers and other equipment in and out of pub cellars. Using a crane has removed the need for manual handling, allowed engineers to work on their own instead of in pairs and avoided the need to involve landlords during service calls.

"It’s become the norm to work this way but ten years ago it was a big change," says Paul Hallas, Technical Services Manager at Everards. "We now have a task where the engineers can work safely and we have improved their working lives dramatically."

Everards, which celebrates its 160th anniversary in 2009, has an estate of 168 pubs all within a 70 mile radius of the head office and brewery on the outskirts of Leicester. These are covered by four technical services engineers who visit each pub regularly to carry out installations and routine maintenance tasks. Every pub has at least one drinks cooler and these must be kept working at all times. The brewery’s service regime involves the replacement of faulty coolers to ensure they continue to keep drinks at the correct temperature and during the busiest and warmest periods of the year, this could mean two to three units may require swapping each week.

The brewery started using the Penny Hydraulics cranes ten years ago and has continued after recently switching to longer wheelbase technical services vehicles allowing them to carry more equipment and improve efficiency. At the time coolers were being lifted in and out of cellars by hand by a team of two technical services engineers working together. Health and safety legislation was less stringent at the time but Everards nevertheless recognised that using a crane was a good way to make its operations as safe and easy as possible for the service engineers. The weight of the coolers is such that they could exceed the current recommended limit for a two-man lift so the move showed good foresight on the part of the brewery.

"We have to be aware that it’s our equipment being moved around and we are responsible for that and our staff so we need the cranes," says Paul Hallas. "From a health and safety point of view it’s very useful to say the least."

Cranes eliminated the need for manual handling but also allowed the brewery to redeploy its technical service engineers to visit pubs on their own in the knowledge that they would have the full range of equipment and tools to work alone safely and efficiently. Another advantage was that cranes would avoid the need to ask landlords or other pub staff to help move or handle coolers and other items. This eliminated any potential health and safety issues and meant service engineers could work at their own speed without waiting for help or disturbing other busy people.

Penny Hydraulics was originally recommended by Everards’ vehicle er. The cranes currently in use are the 150kg capacity Swing Lift Miniloader models which are fitted inside the rear doors of the technical services vehicles. These cranes are among the smallest in the extensive Penny Hydraulics range and their light weight and compact design has minimal effect on vehicle storage area or carrying capacity. The boom can be set to three different heights without restricting the maximum load and folds away unobtrusively when not in use. The integral electric winch allows the crane to handle loads below ground level, essential for lifting coolers in and out of cellars. The cranes have also been useful for handling other items on and off the vehicles.

Most Everards pubs have subterranean cellars and of these most are less than three metres below ground level. The service vehicles can usually get close to the cellar access point by backing up to the kerbside doors. The crane hook is then lowered into the cellar to retrieve the cooler which is lifted on special slings rather than by the handles or part of the frame. This helps to keep the load steady during lifting and reduces the risk of accidents and damage to the valuable equipment. The replacement cooler is then lowered into the cellar using the reverse procedure.

"The cranes perform the application they are designed for," says Paul Hallas. "They are an invaluable piece of equipment."

In addition to the cranes on the technical services vehicles Penny Hydraulics also supplies its unique Cellar Lift for use in pubs for handling beer containers and other items safely and efficiently between the cellar and delivery point without any need for manual handling or lifting. Vertical, sloping and compact models are available with lifting capacity up to 300kg, equivalent to a full 54 gallon barrel, and can cover an average three metre drop in six seconds.

Penny Hydraulics (www.pennyhydraulics.com) designs, manufactures and services lifting and load handling equipment for use in a wide range of applications. Products include the Swing Lift range of medium duty cranes for use on pick-ups, drop-sides and flat-beds and the Step Lift, Load Lift and Tail Lift lifting platform ranges for use on pick-ups, drop-sides and vans. The company also manufactures the Mezz Lift for handling loads between ground floor and mezzanines and specialist equipment for handling wheels, tyres and barrels in vehicles and at customers’ premises.

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