A Birmingham-based manufacturer of specialist materials handling equipment, is supplying vital lifting equipment for a heavy engineering programme that will improve journeys for millions of rail passengers.
The Alstom Traincare Centre in Manchester maintains the fleet of 56 tilting Virgin Trains’ Pendolinos on the West Coast Main Line and has recently put into service 7 bespoke Lift Trucks designed and manufactured by Wilmat.
Part of Alstom’s refurbishment, which is part of the fourth heavy engineering maintenance programme for the trains, involves the replacement of special filter inductor mounts on the trains, which represents particular challenges for engineers.
Marie Lacey, Wilmat’s Sales Manager explained: "Lifting these inductors from their casings is not straight-forward as working space is limited and conventional forklift trucks are unable to access them or provide the reach required.
"As Wilmat specialises in developing bespoke lifting solutions, we carried out a site survey at Alstom with a view to developing a solution that could solve the problem."
Based on Wilmat’s successful ‘Diamond’ design – which has a proven track record – the resulting trucks have a reduced height, shortened chassis and long forks to enable the inductors to be lifted safely from their mounts without fouling the train car.
This helps enable Alstom engineers to meet their target of replacing all the filter inductors on the 11 coach trains within a one-week schedule that includes routine service checks as well as the filter refurbishment.
"Our design, engineering and manufacturing is highly flexible to allow us to provide handling solutions which currently don’t exist off the shelf’, Marie said. "Our customers get solid, British engineering with bespoke options where required."
Alstom’s Chris Higgins who worked with Wilmat on the solution, added: "Wilmat came to check out the site and application and were able to provide us with a specifically designed solution.
"We were extremely pleased that Wilmat were flexible enough to produce exactly what we needed."