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Hovair air film technology from Movetech, combined with flooring from Sika, has enabled London and Cambridge Properties (LCP) to double capacity at its warehousing facility in Staffordshire.

The specialist warehouse, located in Burntwood Business Park in Burntwood, stores items weighing up to 100 tonnes.

With only a third of the warehouse accessible by the main 100-tonne-capacity crane, demands were exceeding LCP’s supply capabilities.

It was necessary, therefore, to find an economic solution that would allow the company to expand its capacity for heavier items, such as electric transformers imported from Germany and Australia.

Richard Allen, building surveyor for LCP, said: ‘With only a third of the warehouse having the capacity for larger items, and another third being used for smaller storage, served by a smaller crane and forklift trucks, we were left with the final third to convert to storage for 85-tonne electric transformers.

‘A potential solution was to construct a rail system that would criss-cross the warehouse floor, which was not very practical and wasted valuable space.

‘The air film solution offered by Movetech UK has proved to be the most practical and cost-effective solution by far, particularly as we have been able to keep the whole of the rest of the warehouse operational during installation,’ he added.

Close collaboration with Movetech engineers using the in-house Hovair technology has resulted in the design and manufacture of an air film transporter with a total design capacity of 100 tonnes.

The original initially focused on a wheeled solution that used hydraulic jacks and machinery skates, but the air film option offered greater flexibility and is said to be more user friendly.

Unlike wheels, air bearings allow loads to be moved in any direction.

Eight 40in (102cm) high-pressure air bearings are incorporated into the design of the LCP transporter, as are a central guide wheel as a point of steering and to allow straight line moves and 100-tonne lifting beams.

The steering and propulsion of the transporter are provided by an air-powered tugger, which also houses the controls for the transporter.

LCP has had a series of stillages made to accommodate the transformers.

Once the transformer is in position, the 100-tonne lifter beams pick the stillage and transformer off the floor and position them on the transporter, before moving them to the allocated storage area.

A new compressed-air system has been installed specifically for the air film equipment and, to optimise the performance of the air film solution further, a specialist floor has been laid.

Hovair air film technology, incorporated into air skates, transporters and turntables, is frequently used in the aerospace, nuclear and automotive industries to improve efficiency and speed up production and assembly flow lines.

Effectively hand-operated ‘hovercrafts’, air film transporters are capable of moving objects of almost any size or weight in any direction with ease and precision, according to Movetech.

As they run on a thin film of air, they require smooth surfaces for operation.

As a result, LCP chose an advanced flooring system from Sika that offered durability, resistance to chemicals and a waterproof, smooth gloss finish.

This smooth surface also limits the resistance of the flooring, reducing the compressed-air requirements and making the whole system more energy efficient.

As part of the British Turntable Group Movetech UK has been helping to solve load moving challenges since 1959.

The company offers rotary, linear and vertical movement equipment designed to tackle a variety of materials handling applications, and is well known throughout the industrial, defence, transport, nuclear and non-destructive testing industries for the effectiveness of its solutions. Movetech UK designs and builds a range of equipment for industrial applications to almost any size and capacity, manual or powered, using a multifaceted engineering approach to design and build.

The company’s in-house expertise includes leading-edge Hovair air film technology; JUNG heavy duty lifting jacks and machinery skates are also part of the extensive portfolio on an exclusive distribution rights in the UK basis.

Movetech UK’s highly skilled design and engineering teams work hand-in-hand with client teams, architects, surveyors, construction companies, building specifiers and project engineers to ensure that the optimum solution is provided for each industrial movement problem.

Industrial concerns such as foundries, repair work shops, fabrication and assembly halls, process plants, steel mills, paper mills, power generation facilities, order picking and packing facilities, automotive production line facilities and general manufacturers use Movetech UK’s expertise to:

–       automate processes

–       improve ergonomics

–       minimise operator effort

–       optimise use of space

–       increase throughput

–       improve efficiency

–       reduce reliance on forklift replenishment

From manual manipulator devices with simple forward and backward movement, to automated positioning systems, Movetech UK offers efficient, flexible and cost-effective mechanical handling solutions that will present equipment to the production line, or product to the operator, whilst improving ergonomics, minimising operator effort and reducing reliance on forklift replenishment.

Typical applications include: simple bench-mounted assembly turntables; product accumulators to assist in order processing; manual and powered turntables to improve loading efficiency; large revolves to support and turn paper reels; high capacity foundry turntables with automatic control to turn large castings for fettling; traversers and rail-mounted revolves to alter the direction of railed or wheeled vehicles; production line feeder turntables to minimise use of forklift trucks; and equipment to present goods to a production facility in the correct orientation.

Products include: a range of turntables for heavy industrial through to light display use; HGV access turntables; car revolves to solve inner-city parking problems and annular ring mechanisms for revolving bars and restaurants.

Movetech UK exports to more than 140 countries and holds the BS EN ISO 9001: 2008 accreditation as well as many others, including the H&S standard, CHAS.

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