By investing in electric-operated pedestrian tugs, a manufacturer of commercial vehicle trailers has improved production flows and labour efficiencies, whilst also reducing the risk of accidents and injuries to its employees when moving trailers through each stage of production.
Established in 1960, The Cartwright Group is a UK-based, privately owned, family run business that manufactures a wide range of commercial vehicle trailers, including curtainsided trailers, box van, drawback, skeletal and temperature-controlled trailers. Based in Altrincham, Cheshire, the company operates from a 38-acre site and possesses one of the most efficient bodywork and trailer manufacturing plants in Europe. The company can provide customers with a genuine one-source solution, from design and manufacture, through to trailer finance and rental.
Cartwright’s latest innovation is the Cheetah Fastback, an aerodynamically designed trailer that not only helps customers reduce their carbon emissions and fuel costs, but also has dimensions that enable it to operate in a general fleet. The Cheetah Fastback is available as a van, curtainsider or refrigerator design.
The Cheetah Fastback is manufactured at Cartwright’s Altrincham plant, which produces a wide range of trailers, each one typically weighing between 5 and 10 tonnes (when empty).
Prior to investing in pedestrian operated tugs from MasterMover Ltd, employees at the plant were using a combination of forklift trucks (with special attachments) or a diesel tractor unit to move trailers through each stage of the production and assembly. Whilst several forklifts or a single diesel tractor unit are physically capable of lifting heavy loads, they are not specifically designed for moving trailers and so can present a considerable risk to the safety of employees at the site.
Furthermore, as well as health and safety concerns, Cartwright also required a more flexible, versatile method of moving trailers around the site’s relatively tight production areas, where space is often restricted to just 4 metres between each trailer. Manoeuvring forklift trucks or a tractor unit in and out of production areas at the site was therefore challenging and time consuming, and so the company sought a much safer and more efficient solution.
Barry Atherton, General Manager at Cartwright’s Altrincham plant comments: "Space in the production areas here is pretty confined and so we required a compact machine that could move trailers quickly and safely through each stage of the manufacturing flow line. We didn’t want to lose valuable production time waiting for a forklift truck or a diesel tractor unit to arrive in order to move the trailer on to the next stage of the process. We also didn’t want our employees to have to put up with the exhaust fumes from using a diesel tractor or truck inside the Coach Building Areas. So the company searched the market for a suitable solution and discovered the ideal solution from MasterMover."
Since August 2003, Cartwright has purchased a total of eight Master Tug TMS (Trailer Moving Systems) from MasterMover. The Master Tug TMS is a versatile electric-operated pedestrian tug that is designed for moving lorry trailers through manufacturing process and service centres. The TMS is specially designed to provide control and manoeuvrability to the operator whilst moving heavy, awkward loads of up to 11,000kg.
The tug is very compact and simply connects to the trailer via a coupling mechanism, which enables the operator to then pull the trailer in and out of tight spaces, without risk of accidents or injuries to employees. Between 20-30 employees at Cartwright’s Altrincham site now use the Master Tug TMS.
Barry Atherton continues: "Training to use the tugs is very straightforward and fast. Our operators have quickly got to grips with using the tugs and are now confident and happy that they have the appropriate equipment that does the job safely and with minimal effort. This means that there is always someone available on hand when a trailer needs to be moved on to its next stage of production, which in turn has led to improvements in overall production efficiencies and productivity. The cost of a TMS is also a fraction of the cost of a diesel tractor unit or forklift truck, which is not designed to move a trailer. The TMS can be used in confined spaces and so we can get more trailer units through our production process now if we need to. When we’ve needed it, technical support and training from MasterMover has been excellent."