Go North East commissioned Stertil Koni to supply all the vehicle lifting equipment at the Group’s new £8.5 million super depot at Gateshead Riverside.
The new site is the centre piece of the Go Ahead Group’s two year £30 million investment programme and is located on part of the former Dunston power station site. Replacing two existing depots in the area, the new facility covers 5.75 acres and accommodates 160 buses plus more than 500 drivers, engineers and support staff.
To ensure maximum flexibility and staff safety, it was decided to forego pits in favour of lifts, all of which were supplied by Stertil Koni. Three different types of lift were specified because they offer advantages for particular tasks and vehicle types as well as providing what is considered the most flexible capability for future developments. Two of the lifts are twin ram, fully recessed in-ground models providing a safe lifting capacity of 32 tonnes. Whilst allowing unrestricted access to the underside of a bus when in the raised position, all the rams and the headpieces are flush with the floor level when lowered, therefore reducing any tripping hazards and also allowing better vehicular and pedestrian movements within the workshop.
Another larger, fully recessed in-ground lift provides a lifting capacity of 48 tonnes and features a set of three rams. This model is perfect for lifting a range of 3-axle vehicles including 18 metres long Bendibuses that service the local MetroCentre Shopping Centre. In fact, similar lifts have been used successfully for some time by the Group at Camberwell in London and in Oxford.
Stertil Koni also supplied two fully recessed Skylift platform lifts offering respective lifting capacities of 20 and 25 tonnes. Both lifts are used to simplify work on a wide range of vehicles which, for the larger model incorporating a 14.5 metres long platform, again includes the Group’s fleet of Bendibuses. An interesting feature of the Skylift models is the incorporation of special floor plate infill sections that rise up from beneath the lifts when they are deployed, ensuring that there is no exposed hole thereby removing the risk of an accident.
Completing the line up of Stertil Koni lifts within the new super depot are nine sets of four Stertil Koni ST1075FWF wireless mobile column lifts that incorporate an advanced communication system. These lifts are rated individually at 7.5 tonnes and can be used in pairs or in multiples for buses with a greater number of axles. In this way, a set of six lifts, for example, would provide a total lifting capacity of 45 tonnes. Significantly, up to eight lifts may be controlled from a single column to ensure smooth and synchronised movement of all the lifts at the press of a button. An additional level of safety is provided by an independent mechanical safety lock fitted as standard to all the mobile column lifts, allowing a raised vehicle to be ‘parked’ on the locks. Also, in common with all the Stertil Koni lifts, the wireless mobile column lifts are able to raise and lower all types of buses, including double deckers, safely and securely.
To support the installation of Stertil Koni lifts, the company also supplied a range of ancillary equipment including axle stands of varying heights, jacking beams, wheel handlers and special wide-platform access steps. Go North East also chose Stertil Koni to provide ongoing service and maintenance of the lifting equipment in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations.
"The new Go North East super depot is a convincing blueprint of what we can expect for the future of bus companies throughout the UK," says Tony Edge, Stertil Koni’s General Manager. "We began working with Go North East at the planning stage back in 2011 and have liaised closely at every step of design, development and installation. My team and I are delighted that Stertil Koni was recognised as a company of sufficient size and reputation to have been selected as the sole supplier of vehicle lifts for this prestigious, ground breaking project."