The easiest way is not always the best way. Replacing new equipment before fully assessing and utilizing your current equipment can be extremely costly.
St. Marys Cement recently reached out to UCEL Inc. to help with an issue on one of their current permanent manlifts.
The lift is a 3,175-kg capacity hoist, capable of moving 45 metres per minute, and used for maintenance and material movement.
The base was defective from age and rust, while the mast walls were deteriorating due to operating conditions.
St. Marys had been told by their maintenance contractor that the unit was no longer safe to operate and recommended replacement with a new unit.
The quoted replacement cost would equal more than $1 million.
Following a site visit and thorough assessment of the hoist, the structure and measuring the mast wall thickness, UCEL determined the machine’s lifespan could be extended by replacing the base and an additional bottom section.
Providing the alternative solution gave St. Marys a one-year extension to prepare for the eventual complete replacement of the manlift.
The UCEL experience provided a cost-saving solution, but would it be safe enough to perform?
UCEL collaborated with Burrell Engineering, a well-known tower crane and hoist engineering firm in the Greater Toronto Area, who reviewed and approved the UCEL proposal and verified the concept was structurally feasible, sound and safe.
The engineering drawings allowed UCEL to recommend hanging up — or suspending — the existing mast, car and counterweight, while removing the worn and rusted base and lower tower section, and replacing them with new components.
“The elevator in question is critical to our ability to complete our annual shutdown work in a timely and cost-effective way,” said Kevin Hodgins, electrical maintenance manager at St Marys Cement.
“When the elevator was originally removed from service we were told that the only option was complete replacement. UCEL’s proposal provided us with an option to get the elevator back in service in time for our annual shutdown saving us time and money.
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This proposal also gave us the time to complete the engineering necessary to replace the elevator entirely in time for the following year’s annual shutdown. UCEL completed all of the work on time and on budget.”
Most recently, UCEL completed a similar cost-effective repair for St. Marys on a second hoist tower at their Bowmanville, Ontario plant.