Working conditions in warehouses have improved considerably in recent years, with advances in lifting equipment making for safer materials handling and aerial platforms and scissor lifts transforming working at height.

Incorrect manual handling is one of the commonest causes of workplace injuries, with musculoskeletal disorders incurred through frequent and heavy lifting and handling accounting for over a third of all cases. Using lifting and handling aids helps remove or reduce the risk and keep workers healthy and at work. The HSE’s 2012 Manual Handling at Work guide can be downloaded free.

Handling everything from a heavy sack to the contents of shipping containers, Sweden’s TAWI bridge the gap between manual handling and mechanisation with a range of lighter lifting equipment that achieves weightless lifting for a relatively small investment.

Providing safe, reliable and efficient alternatives to manual lifting, loading and unloading, TAWI’s products are designed to save workers’ knees, backs and shoulders from injuries and longterm problems caused by repetitive manual handling, because the machines do the heavy lifting.

TAWI’s range includes hoists, crane systems, mobile lifters, mobile order pickers and vacuum grippers. The main industries using TAWI’s products are logistics, food, pharma and building materials. They are also seeing increasing demand from automotive and manufacturing. TAWI’s systems can handle any type of lifting from picking and packing to palletising and depalletising.

Staying with lifting gear, GEBHARDT European Conveyor Systems have been providing automated material handling solutions to UK retailers, manufacturers and logistics companies for over 25 years.

GEBHARDT‘s ConVer Goods Lifts are designed to transport loads of up to 3,000 kg between floors and can be installed almost anywhere with little extra work, time or cost.

Another area that has seen a transformation over the years is aerial platforms and lifts. Back in 1969, when pop culture was obsessed with getting high, access platforms provider JLG’s founder John L. Grove was also focused on ways to get high, in his case finding safer ways to work at height. From there, Mr Grove invented the first boom lift, started the company that became JLG and pioneered the access industry. Today JLG’s portfolio covers engine-powered boom lifts, electric and hybrid boom lifts, low level access platforms, vertical lifts and scissor lifts.

The history of warehouse cranes goes back even further. Demag KBK, also known as Demag, was established in 1819 and a century later Demag crane systems continue to set the standard for innovation and excellence in material handling throughout the world.

Demag now also offer an easily installed device to attach DC chain hoists quickly, safely and securely for purely vertical lifting. Inspired by a customer wanting to install a chain in a fixed position, the FS suspension can be attached to a girder quickly, easily and securely or bolted to steel structures or ceilings. Demag’s DC chain hoists are available with load capacities of up to 1,250 kg.

Finally, waiting for parts can mean costly downtime, but expect that to improve soon. TVH, one of the world’s largest suppliers of material handling, industrial and agricultural equipment parts and accessories, including for aerial work platforms, has bought a warehouse in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, which is expected to be operational within a year, guaranteeing long-term support for TVH’s UK customers.

CHARLES SMITH

Feature Writer