Having successfully launched its new anti-vibration gully boom control unit in May, Whale Tankers – the Solihull-based manufacturer of high quality – is already reporting unprecedented demand for the product, developed as a means of reducing health and safety concerns surrounding hand-arm (HAV) vibration. And not only is this latest legislatively compliant equipment proving a big hit at O/E level, many operators are already upgrading existing equipment by installing the new gully boom control unit into their Whale fleets.
As Whale’s Senior Engineering Manager, Andy Ellis states: "It’s all about compliance, whilst also increasing operating efficiency. The new unit has been designed and developed to enable operators to meet part S.I 2005 No 1093 of The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, which has important health and safety implications, particularly in relation to hand-arm vibration (HAV) and High Impact Shocks (HIS).
"Forming part of Whale’s ongoing philosophy of ensuring all of its equipment meets the latest legislative requirements, the gully boom unit was design engineered from the outset to enable customers to upgrade cost-effectively, thereby ensuring that equipment in operation prior to July of this year complies with the new regulations by July 2010," he added.
Take Whale Customer, London Borough of Wandsworth, who has already had the unit installed on two Whale gully emptying tankers. As Trevor Critchell, the Council’s Transport & Fleet Manager states: "Not only do we want to take the lead when it comes to protecting the health and safety of our operatives, which the new unit enables us to do, ergonomically the gully boom control handle is far superior to its predecessor. If you add into the equation the ease with which existing gully booms can be upgraded, then it is understandable that operators are going to want to specify it."
In addition to benefiting from the specific features introduced into the design brief, the gully boom units specified by Wandsworth include optional electrical control buttons – vac pump engaged and boom valve (open and closed). These not only improve the unit ergonomically, they deliver improved functionality.
Despite Whale’s existing unit falling within the acceptable daily exposure limits as laid down by the regulations, the company held the view that if exposure to vibration and high impact shocks could be reduced further then it should be. Additional vibration testing undertaken since the launch of the gully boom control unit has shown a greater reduction than anticipated. When comparing both new and old, the latest model is shown to isolate vibration and HIS (High Impact Shocks) by around of 65%. This constitutes a 50% reduction from the body of the unit, and a further 15% emanating from body to handle.
Concluding, Andy Ellis said: "In designing and manufacturing the new handle, a great deal of investment in has been made in specialist tooling, the latest processes and new material technology. Given the results that we now have access to in relation to the unit’s ability to reduce the levels of vibration and High Impact Shocks, it is clear to see why customers are so keen to upgrade their existing the equipment."
The new unit has been engineered to reduce the effects of vibration exposure. In order to achieve this, the main body is manufactured from a robust and high strength die- alloy that takes out potentially harmful vibration frequency waves.
Serving to isolate the user from the main unit, Whale has developed specially designed handles that are flexible but strong enough to withstand normal operating conditions. Moulded from three specific parts, the main body of the handle and the part connected to the die- alloy body deploys the use of glass filled nylon for strength and durability. Sandwiched in-between is an injected and specially formulated polymer unique to Whale that flows into the other parts to remove shocks and vibration associated with normal use, whilst also isolating the operator’s hands from vibration.
Not surprisingly, Whale has also paid attention to the way the anti-vibration gully boom control unit is fitted to the gully downpipe by using a bonded NBR (Natural Butane Rubber) anti-slip mounting as a means of delivering further isolation.