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Ceramics firm deploys bespoke tug for unusual load

06 September 2018

Nu-Star has designed and manufactured a bespoke kiln car attachment for its electric-powered tug to solve Shaws’ moving needs.

Shaws of Darwen were faced with a big problem when replacing an old kiln as the existing dolly system was beyond economic repair and the time implications of refurbishing would hinder the expected date of commissioning the new kiln.

Mark Duckworth, maintenance manager at Shaws of Darwen explains: “The cost to repair the old kiln car rail moving system was not economical and to operate the kiln without this process was an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of the Shaws workforce. I embarked on a search to find an alternative solution and that’s where Nu-Star came in, recommended by one of our current suppliers.”

Nu-Star have worked with Shaws of Darwen to create a bespoke attachment for the signature Power Pusher electric-powered tug mover.

The Power Pusher can both push and pull large, heavy loads in a safe and efficient way; often taking the job of multiple members of the workforce, says Nu-Star. The Power Pusher is pedestrian-operated and has the benefit that it isn’t subject to LOLER regulations and requires no license to operate. Therefore, all staff can be trained to operate the electric tug.

By utilising the Power Pusher, and working with Shaws to create an adjustable hook attachment for Shaws kiln cars, Shaws are able to hook the Power Pusher to the kiln car and manoeuvre it into the kiln. The Power Pusher is electric-powered meaning it’s suitable to use indoor with no fumes and little noise.

Shaws have multiple kilns across their factory in Lancashire, so the electric mover solution needed to work for each kiln, with different kiln car heights. Nu-Star created a box slider system so the height can easily be adjusted.

Matt Smith, Nu-Star MD, says: “We have a growing number of customers worldwide in the ceramics and brick industries, utilising our electric tugs, for moving kiln cars into and out of their autoclaves. Our solution is considered more cost-effective and flexible than the traditional winch method.

“The progressive throttle on the Power Pusher means the operator can move the laden kiln car at a speed that prevents any accidental, vibration induced damage to the product, particularly before it is fired. 

“We are delighted to have worked with Shaws of Darwen on this aspect of their expansion project.”