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Case Studies:Iron & Steel Production

Case Study #2:
Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident!

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Diverse Production Requirements mean Diverse Vehicle Capacity

A leading metal and industrial product manufacturer with multiple divisions and locations throughout Canada and the United States takes safety very seriously. In operation since 1855 they have seen their products and manufacturing processes for steel products grow into well over 20 different and diverse operations ranging from raw material to industrial fasteners. In addition, managing a fleet of over 2000 lift trucks mean that capacities can range from 3000lbs up to 65,000lb. Managing a fleet with this type of capacity range can be tricky when it comes to moving equipment from one facility to another. If an under rated vehicle is put into a production facility that requires a more capacity the results could be costly and worse catastrophic. Yes, assets can be managed on paper, but mistakes can happen. One tip over leading to injury is one too many!

Beyond an Excel Spread Sheet and Asset Inventory Software

With that many processes, that many divisions and that many trucks it is difficult to make sure that the right vehicle capacity is integrating proper into the application. On paper lift trucks are refrenced by serial number, make and model. Many of the nomenclature that defines lift truck models are stated in kilograms but operating in North America pounds are still predominate weight reference. To safeguard against an error this company sought to find a solution that would allow each vehicle to not only have its capacity clearly stated on the vehicle but also warn operators when a truck was in an overload situation. Searching for overload protection online they found IVDT at skidweigh.com.

Capacity is Everything

One thing that was clear from their safety assessment was they wanted to eliminate the possibility for human error as much as possible. When investigating suitable solutions, they decided that the most important criteria was to understand the performance of the lift truck as it relates to the loads they are lifting. Although safety was the driving principal for this initiative, they also realized that there were paybacks to limiting the absolute threshold of a lift truck.

Maximizing lifting capacities causes premature damage to the lifting equipment some of the costliest repairs on a lift truck. With over 2000 pieces of equipment in some of the most extreme steel applications it was conceivable that not only could they introduce a best in class safety option but also have it pay for itself by reducing the damage caused by overloading. While a scale would work with overloading they wanted a fail safe way of letting the operator know how much the truck should lift and introduce a point at which they should stop. Working with them we arrived at the understanding that weigh scales are most effective in applications that require weight knowledge for productivity with overload as an added benefit. But the only way to fully understand and set the operating capacity was to introduce a weigh device that measure load ratio against capacity of the lift truck. Unique to the material handling industry perfect for this expansive and complex application was the SkidWeigh ED2-SLL(SM). Different from weigh scales the ED2-SLL(SM) within seconds of lifting a load lets the operator know what percentage of capacity that load is. More important it allows the company to set a threshold that notifies the operator when it is surpassed by way of a flashing LED indicator and an audible alarm. This allowed the company to clearly set an 80% of capacity limit on all their vehicles to safeguard against tipping and ensure that unnecessary repairs to the lifting device are reduced.
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