Chesterfield-based hydraulic-lifting engineer Penny Hydraulics has developed Grid Lift, an innovative solution for lifting gully and drain covers.
Penny Hydraulics’ design is based on two hydraulic rams, one mounted horizontally to extend and retract the lifter and one mounted vertically to lift and lower the gully lid.
The unit is mounted laterally on the tanker’s chassis and can pivot through a small arc that allows the cover to be moved aside for easy access and cleaning of the gully.
One of the main challenges was to work out how the new device would pick up the gully cover.
The solution was to design a small frame that locks into place on the end of the vertical arm, before attaching to the gully cover by twist clips that can accommodate castings with different profiles.
Atkins, the network service provider for Somerset County Council, with responsibility for emptying the county’s 132,000 gullies, has now placed an order to equip its entire fleet of six gully tankers with the new device.
Each vehicle and its two-person crew inspects and clears around 26,000 gullies a year, a daily average of 85.
At each gully the cover has to be lifted off to provide access for cleaning and then replaced before the vehicle moves on.
Previously the covers, which can weigh up to 100kg, had to be lifted by hand using basic tools and levers.