SWR has enhanced its ability to handle a wide range of waste items from customers’ premises by specifying a Penny Hydraulics Swing Lift V20 crane on each of its two new collection vehicles. The cranes were selected for their performance and simplicity and will be used to handle items including IBC dumpy bags and other bulky loads on and off the vehicles as part of a well-organised and highly efficient operation.
"It is a very simple crane with the weight capacity we need and it fits the bill," says Mark Hammett, Fleet and Compliance Manager at SWR. "Penny Hydraulics worked with us to devise a solution and we were very comfortable working with a company with a forté in this area."
SWR provides waste and recycling services to customers in the automotive, industrial and general business sectors. The company operates from depots throughout the UK providing nationwide coverage and offers a bespoke one-stop-shop solution enabling customers to match services to their unique requirements. Motor dealerships and bodyshops form a major part of SWR’s customer base and the range of waste that has to be collected regularly from their premises is varied. For example, paper, cardboard and plastic packaging material is stored in IBC dumpy bags or baled on site prior to collection. Meanwhile metal items such as body panels, brake discs and general scrap are handled in stillages.
The company is constantly reviewing its operations to identify improvements and as the business grew it recognised the advantages of using vehicles specially configured for efficient handling, loading and transportation of waste. Towards the end of 2008 the company decided to purchase two new vehicles to operate from its busiest depots. After considering a number of options SWR came up with a concept based around an 18000kg Renault vehicle with rigid body on the offside and curtains on the nearside. The company also modified the way it collects paper, card and plastics. This was previously handled in wheelie bins but these are now lined with IBC dumpy bags which are removed and loaded onto the vehicle. This saves overall weight, makes waste easier to handle and offers the prospect of a better loading density.
The front two thirds of the vehicle is used for the IBC dumpy bags and other items while the rear section is for the stillages, which are loaded by hand pallet truck using the vehicle’s tail lift. The switch from moving wheelie bins meant that an alternative method of handling was required for the bags. A crane was the obvious option but most of the products available had a maximum capacity that was well above the requirement and this made them too expensive.
"We didn’t need a really big crane but our bodybuilder mentioned Penny Hydraulics and away we went," says Mark Hammett. "The model they suggested was the Swing Lift V20 and although we looked at competitor products this was quickly identified as being the most suitable."
The Swing Lift V20 is the largest crane in the extensive Penny Hydraulics range. It has a maximum load capacity ranging from 2000kg at 1.4m extension to 720kg when the boom is fully extended to 3.5m. This performance allows SWR to handle IBC dumpy bags, paper bales and other loads in all configurations of the crane. In general use the V20 is mounted at the front of the loadspace and can handle items into any position in the front two thirds of the vehicle. For added flexibility Penny Hydraulics supplied an alternative mounting socket that has been fitted towards the centre of the nearside loadspace. The crane can be repositioned whenever required so that it can handle items to any point on the vehicle. This is achieved by simply unplugging the power supply, transferring the crane to the second socket and reconnecting the power to the alternative supply point. The crane is completely self contained, with its hydraulic reservoir and motor located within the main body, so there are no complicated or potentially messy connections to worry about. Like other cranes in the Penny Hydraulics range the V20 folds down to the king post when not in use to maximise the available floor and load space.
"The simplicity of the crane and the small amount of space it takes on the vehicle make it ideal for this type of work," says Mark Hammett.
One of the big advantages of the layout of the new vehicles is load handling and storage efficiency. SWR estimates that it can now store up to 15 IBC dumpy bags in the same space on the vehicle as four wheelie bins. This is possible because the bags pack more closely together, only take up as much height as the waste they contain and can be stacked up to four high using the crane. To ensure the crane can raise the bags to the required height the vehicles have a fully-retractable roof permitting the boom to extend safely without restriction.
After assessing SWR’s operational requirement Penny Hydraulics devised and constructed a special spreader attachment for the crane that allows the bags to be handled safely even when the straps cannot be drawn together, a common occurrence in waste collection. The spreader is a simple cross that connects to the crane’s hook and has safety catches at the end of each arm to lock the bag straps into place for security during lifting. It is typically used in conjunction with a weighing device that allows SWR to measure the amount of waste collected from each customer so that it can provide audits and charge for services accordingly. The crane was supplied with a remote wander lead controller that allows the operator to stand in a safe position well clear of the working area and vehicle while loading and unloading takes place.
"The new sack collection system is more flexible and efficient," says Mark Hammett. "It allows us to provide a better service to customers and reduces the number of vehicle movements, permitting us to visit more customer sites per journey before the vehicle is full to capacity.
"It is really satisfying seeing something come to life that was just an idea on paper only a few months ago."
Penny Hydraulics 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.