Keeping people moving: Penny Hydraulics support the Bus Éireann service fleet
The total number of local bus passenger journeys undertaken in the north west of Ireland grew by over 35,000 last year, as the company reported growing rider figures of almost 10%. This equates to over 400,000 local trips made across their regional network. As a result, Bus Éireann contributed a staggering €33m to the economy in the region in 2016.
A fleet is only good if it remains operational. Due to their fleet of buses across the Republic of Ireland, Bus Éireann don’t outsource the service and maintenance work for their vehicles and instead, have a dedicated service and maintenance network of their own. Their network of service hubs has specialist engineers with service vehicles on hand at any time, to carry out routine and emergency service and maintenance work such as changing tyres. Having their own engineers and service fleet enables the company to expertly and efficiently address any issues, to ensure their buses keep moving.
The company’s 17 dedicated service vehicles have just had specialist lifting equipment installed to assist with service and maintenance activities. Market-leading, UK-based lifting equipment manufacturer, Penny Hydraulics have supplied 17 hydraulic lifts to mechanically lift and lower bus tyres on and off the service vehicles.
So, why have Bus Éireann invested in this new equipment? Well, working in the transport sector can be a risky business. According to the latest statistics for the Health and Safety Executive, 38% of all reportable injuries in this sector relate to manual handling. So, whilst manual handling related injuries are significant in all industries, the road transport sector has even more work to do to improve its safety record. The simplest and most effective way to reduce the risk of these injuries is to eliminate the need for manual handling, by changing the processes involved and providing employees with suitable load handling equipment.
The Single Wheel Lift from Penny Hydraulics is designed to solve lifting and re-treading problems associated with large vehicle tyres. The hydraulic lift is lightweight, yet powerful and manages large bus tyres from ground level onto the vehicle bed with ease. A roll-on and roll-off platform has an easy to operate locking device, which acts as an ideal tool for re-grooving tyres too. This additional feature means that re-grooving can be handled inside, or outside the vehicle away from the elements. The Single Wheel Lift was modified for Bus Éireann, to enable service engineers to not only use the lift for moving tyres, but also for lifting and lowering bus batteries from the vehicles too.
Thanks to innovative design and the use of specialist, high-quality materials, the lifts are incredibly strong, yet lightweight. At around 125kg, the lifts have minimal impact of the vehicle payload. This gives Bus Éireann maximised carrying capacity for tyres, plant and other items required for their service and maintenance tasks, maintaining operational flexibility. Having such a low product weight also helps the company to keep emissions low by maximising fuel economy.
The benefits to Bus Éireann of installing Single Wheel Lifts are wide-ranging. Most importantly, the company have proactively reduced risk within their business, by vastly reducing the need for manual handling by their service engineers. There are great benefits in terms of productivity too. Mechanically handling tyres is much quicker than enduring the labour-intensive task of manually lifting and lowering them on and off service vehicles. A more productive service team means that the engineers can get more work done in a quicker timeframe, which all helps towards ensuring a reliable and fully operational bus fleet.
The Bus Éireann lifts, which are now operational, were supplied on a supply-only basis to specialist commercial vehicle converters, Primo. Primo, based in Ferbane in the Republic of Ireland, completed the lift installations as part of a full vehicle conversion.