Adnams, the Southwold-based brewer, has recently installed Penny Hydraulics LoadLift platform lifts on its two cellar services vehicles so that engineers can handle beer coolers and other equipment more easily without any manual lifting. The equipment allows the engineers to complete maintenance tasks on their own when they visit the brewer’s pubs and hotels throughout East Anglia.
"This equipment has transformed the work for our engineers because it ensures they do not have to lift anything that is too heavy," says Kyle Horner, Cellar Services Technical Advisor at Adnams. "It also means one engineer can work alone which is more productive for us as a business."
With a heritage going back to the 19th century, Adnams is one of the country’s best-known and most successful independent brewers. Its estate of more than 70 pubs and hotels is located throughout East Anglia, some on the coast, some in the country, and some in villages and towns. The cellar services team is charged with ensuring the pubs and hotels all have the right equipment to ensure beer and other drinks are served in the best possible condition. One of the key tasks is to install, service and maintain the coolers.
Two full-time service engineers regularly visit each site to check the coolers and related equipment. Any cooler that needs further maintenance is replaced by a fully working unit and taken back to the cellar service depot in Southwold for refurbishment. The coolers have become heavier in recent years and this, combined with Adnams’ ongoing commitment to providing its employees with the best equipment to do their jobs safely and efficiently, led the brewer to assess the load handling provision on its cellar services vehicles. The company chose the Penny Hydraulics LoadLift following recommendations and an assessment of the available options.
"The coolers are on wheels and typically weigh around 100kg on their own but if they are clogged up with ice they can weigh a lot more so we needed a device that could cope," says Kyle Horner. "A platform lift seemed to be the best way to get the coolers in and out of the vehicles without any need for manual lifting."
The Load Lift is a light and compact platform lift for loads up to 500kg that offers a safe, reliable and economical way to handle the coolers. Its unique design allowed it to be installed inside the rear doors of the brewer’s vehicles without restricting access to the load area. Self-contained hydraulic systems ensure smooth, precise and assured operation while simple push button controls, automatic battery isolation and overload protection promote ease of use and safety.
The device is operated using a wander lead that allows the user to stand safely clear and with a good all-round view of the vehicle and load. During use the platform extends to the ground so that the coolers or other loads can be rolled into position easily before being handled into the vehicle. Once inside, the platform rests on the vehicle floor and the cooler can be rolled into a stowage position or left in place where it can be held securely for safe transportation. If it is not being used the platform can fold up out of the way to leave an unobstructed load space. The LoadLift’s low overall weight of 99kg means that it does not limit unnecessarily the load handling performance of the vehicle.
"We have a responsibility to provide our team with the right equipment to do their jobs safely and efficiently," says Kyle Horner. "One of our engineers had suffered a back problem but no longer since we installed the LoadLifts."
The LoadLifts were installed on the vehicles, a Ford Transit and a Renault Trafic, by members of Penny Hydraulics’ own nationwide team of engineers who visited Southwold and completed the work to suit Adnams’ maintenance schedule during the summer of 2011. Penny Hydraulics will also service the equipment and carry out the annual statutory inspections required by the LOLER regulations covering all load handling equipment as part of its contract.
Many of the cellars in the Adnams estate are now at ground level which means that coolers, which are on wheels, can easily be rolled out of the building to the vehicle for loading. For the few sites which have underground cellars with no easy access Adnams specified winches for the cellar services vehicles. These were supplied and installed by Penny Hydraulics so that the coolers can be raised or lowered directly between the cellar and ground level.