As electricity prices continue to rise, alternative energy systems are becoming more and more cost effective whilst pressure on companies to improve their green credentials is fuelling demand like never before.
Paul Davies, Project Leader at Centrica Business Solutions, takes up the story: "We manufacture combined heat and power systems for delivery to our clients, who can be based anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. The units we manufacture incorporate a natural or bio gas fuelled engine with a generator and heat recovery equipment, all fitted in a single unit. They are manufactured here in Manchester, before shipping to customer sites. Each of the larger sized units weighs up to 45 tonnes and is about 17 metres in length and four metres in height. Moving them around the site is incredibly difficult and loading them onto transport vehicles for onward shipment involves the considerable expense and hassle of hiring mobile cranes and using forklift trucks to support the lifting and loading activities. When the new overhead cranes have been installed, we will be able to drive delivery vehicles into the factory and load our products quickly and most importantly, safely for delivery to our customers. The Street Crane solution will allow us to save time, reduce costs and further improve customer service levels."
The cranes will be used during the manufacturing process, helping to reduce build times and slash vehicle loading times. It will also reduce the risks associated with moving such heavy and bulky items. The significant investment with Street Crane includes on-site installation and incorporates two separate 30 tonne cranes, manufactured at Street Crane's factory in Derbyshire.
When installed, operators equipped with a radio remote control will be able to easily and smoothly use each of the two cranes separately in the assembly of the products or operate them in tandem mode to lift and place each completed CHP system onto the transport vehicle, as required.
The use of remote control systems means that operators will be able to work at a safe distance from the load at all times throughout manufacturing and despatch. The cranes have a span of 14.5 metres and run on a 30 metre gantry, ensuring full coverage of the factory loading space. The lifting solution incorporates advanced inverter drives that allow users to control each load with high precision.
Robert Meyrick is the Area Sales Manager at Street Crane who is responsible for looking after Centrica. He explains, "We are delighted to be working with a business that operates in such an exciting and high growth sector. Centrica's products are amazing and it is easy to understand why they are experiencing such high levels of demand. Their products deliver a clean and green option for industry and we look forward to working closely with them in the future. Using our heavyweight lifting equipment will allow them to significantly improve efficiency and customer service levels. Our ZX hoists are perfect for such an application, where uptime of over 99 percent is critical to success and they will deliver a speedy return on investment to Centrica."
CHP is a highly efficient process that generates heat and power simultaneously at point of use. Cogeneration offers considerable business benefits to most organisations, where it has been proven to reduce energy costs by as much as 40 per cent. It delivers a cleaner option, compared to traditional power supply systems, with customers experiencing a reduction in their carbon output. Centrica operates a 12,000 sq. metre manufacturing centre in Manchester where it has produced over 3,000 CHP systems. Centrica also contains a state of the art testing cell, so it can fully test and fine-tune every system fully before it is sent out for installation.