Tug & cart system cuts crane use by half

A manufacturer of motors & pumps has slashed overhead crane use and eliminated lift trucks from pedestrian areas by combining electric tugs and mobile workstations.

Hayward Tyler, whose motors and pumps weigh up to 88,000lbs and can span 20 feet in length, were looking for both safety and productivity gains when planning their new state of the art facility.

Unhappy with the way product moved through the production process and aware of the time lost to transferring product from station to station using cranes, the engineering team started looking for a leaner and more efficient model.

The first stage was to straighten the flow of product through the plant. This was quickly followed by a search to find a better way to transport ‘work in progress’. They were looking for a method that didn’t involve time consuming and risky moves using the overhead crane or forklift. The answer came in the form of intelligent mobile workstations which Hayward Tyler have called Crusers®. These custom, telescopic carts were designed to carry product of varying size and weight and they integrated variable height and rotational capabilities to improve staff ergonomics. The Crusers® also had to be mobile so that work in progress could be quickly moved onto the next workstation. The final piece of the jigsaw was to find a suitable machine to move the heavy carts through the plant safely and efficiently.

Oliver Buhlinger, Continuous Improvement Engineer at Hayward Tyler said “the need for maneuverability led us to explore options for locomotives or electric tugs that could attach to the Crusers®. The challenge was to find a reliable propulsion system that could handle the weights, allowing precision maneuvers.”

The operations team tried a handful of different tug options, testing their ability to move a typical 21,000lb load through the facility. Buhlinger explains, “the key benefit of the MasterMover tug was the maneuverability. The emergency stop button could bring the machine and load to an immediate halt safely and the operation was very smooth. Hayward Tyler’s operators were given a questionnaire and the results meant we just ‘had to go’ with the MasterMover tug.”

Since implementing the tug and Cruser® solution, the company have saved large blocks of wasted time by halving overhead crane use. Another major gain was realized by eliminating lift trucks from the pedestrian areas of the plant. Before the tug and Cruser® solution was implemented they relied on a heavy-duty lift truck to transfer product in areas of the plant that were out of reach of the overhead. The change delivered an instant improvement both in terms of time and safety.

The combination of flow line production with a flexible and efficient means of moving work in progress between stations has proved to be an unrivalled success for Hayward Tyler. So much so that they are already looking at how the lessons learned can be applied to other parts of their operation.

See the system in action here
More information on MasterMover electric tug solutions here

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