The urban traffic division of network and communications service provider telent has installed modified versions of the Penny Hydraulics Load Lift on twelve of its support vehicles to lift heavy cable reels more efficiently and avoid the need for manual handling. The device also allows telent operatives to pull cable through ducting more easily and complete their tasks more quickly.
"We wanted to address and reduce manual handling in this part of the business," says Keith Higginbotham, general manager traffic technology at telent. "The Load Lifts have been very well received and we see them as important elements of our team's equipment."
With annual revenues of over £350m, telent has decades of experience in supplying a broad range of network and communications services in the UK and Germany. The company's urban traffic division provides services covering road management and information system installation and maintenance. Many of these tasks involve handling reels of cable that weigh over 100kg each. It wanted to simplify its operations, remove the need to handle the reels manually and provide its operatives with an easier way to pull cable through the ducting.
Discussion with Penny Hydraulics led to a solution based around the handling equipment specialist's Load Lift. This is a compact lifting platform that can be mounted inside the rear or side doors of a commercial vehicle to provide versatile handling capability for loads up to 300kg. Penny Hydraulics devised a modified version that incorporated a special platform with free-running rollers and an adjustable support that secures a reel in position but allows it to rotate when the cable is being pulled through ducting. Special tie eyes and a locking bar were added so that the reel can be secured at other times, for example when the Load Lift is handling it in or out of the load space or when the vehicle is moving.
Penny Hydraulics supplied twelve Load Lifts which have been installed in telent's Citroen Relay commercial vehicles. The platform is mounted inside the rear doors on the off side. The whole unit is contained completely inside the vehicle when not in use which means there are no security issues and no external components to get in the way of other activities. Its compact design ensures operatives have easy access to the load space and can use the near side area for storing and securing other essential tools and equipment.
When a telent vehicle arrives on site the Load Lift deploys the cable reel for easy access. The device is operated using a simple push button control on a wander lead that allows the user to stand safely clear and with a good all-round view of the vehicle and load. If the vehicle can be positioned correctly the cable can normally be pulled without removing the reel from the platform and in some cases it does not even need to be unloaded from the vehicle. This can reduce the time taken to complete the task which can be a major consideration in busy urban areas. If the reel has to be removed from the platform, for example if the vehicle cannot be parked in a suitable position, it can be rolled off without any manual lifting by simply releasing the securing devices.
"Some of this may seem insignificant unless you're the person using it but it makes their jobs easier and safer," said Keith Higginbotham. "All of our Engineers who use these vehicles agree that this is a significant improvement and that the modification has made the device even more useful."