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Getting through the awkward phase 02/10/2020

Moving heavy and awkward wheeled loads safely has long presented businesses with a challenge. The potential for injury puts the onus on companies to avoid downtime and possible legal repercussions - as well as creating an environment where employees feel confident, protected and less at risk, says Andy Owen.

Take the example of roll cages. Manually propelled roll cages that are used to transport goods in a factory, warehouse or retail facility are widely used as a way to speed up distribution and reduce the need for excessive manual handling.  

Still, a roll cage is a method of moving that can cause particular issues. According to data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), companies that use roll cages continuously have found that up to a third of their accidents are roll cage related. Many of these accidents are connected to the strain of manoeuvring a fully loaded container which can weigh up to 500kg.

Injuries result from pushing and pulling up and down slopes, attempts to stop roll cages from overbalancing - as well as crush injuries when this is not successful - and the trapping of hands and feet.

From despatch to final destination, every stage of the journey can be potentially hazardous, especially when negotiating slopes, congested storage areas, slippery surfaces and uneven floors.

When there are added pressures created by increased demand and movement of goods in and out, there can be the temptation to cut corners. In exchange for speed and rapid turnaround, safety can take a back seat. 

However, such a trade-off is simply not necessary. Using a solution such as an electric tug can significantly reduce manual handling during transit as well as taking the strain out of pushing, pulling and steering heavy loads. But there is no question of compromising on efficiency either – an electric tug cuts down wasted time and non-value-added activities, freeing up employees to concentrate on more productive tasks.  

MasterMover’s electric tugs operate on the principle of using a combination of power and traction. Think of it as a ‘second operator’ – one that takes the effort out of movement. Gone is the requirement for staff to push and pull by hand, and the attendant risk of short-term and long-term damage to health. 

Improved social distancing

In addition, by reducing manual handling, a user has complete visibility around the load, further lessening the risk of accidents. Then there’s the ability to create more space between staff: using a MasterMover removes the need to work in close proximity, therefore allowing for improved social distancing while also limiting contact between the load and the employee.     

There is a wide range of machines in the full MasterMover product catalogue, which allow a single user to move wheeled loads of up to 360,000kg and beyond. While the moving of such a huge weight is unlikely to be a requirement in the logistics, distribution and retail sector, there is still a need for movement of extremely heavy and difficult to control loads over sometimes very large distances. 

A SmartMover allows a single user to easily move up to 1,200kg, while other machines in the range can move progressively larger weights and safely transport nested or linked containers which may otherwise be at risk of snaking from side to side.

Remote control and custom coupling are available, and customers can also choose to automate the process of movement in its entirety with a MasterMover Automatic Guided Vehicle (AGV).  

AGVs follow a pre-programmed route with either onboard intelligence for units operating in isolation or centralised intelligence for the co-ordination of a fleet. 

Meanwhile, MasterMover’s Special Projects team offers a service for bespoke solutions in response to customers’ specific material handling needs – either by modifying existing machines or building completely new products.   

No licence is needed to operate an electric tug, so that any member of staff can undertake a course of short training and start using the equipment.

Andy Owen, managing director, MasterMover

For more information, visit www.mastermover.com

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Aerospace manufacturer assisted with tricky manoeuvre 11/05/2020

A well-known aerospace manufacturer had invested in robotics to automate the assembly of aircraft nose cones and improve flexibility in its production facility. The robots are heavy and awkward to move and speed and time was of the essence.

The robots weigh up to 20,000 kg and are difficult to manoeuvre. Previously, this would have been done by hand and to achieve the precision movement to place the robots exactly where they need to be would not have been possible.

The manufacturer contracted MasterMover to develop a bespoke trolley to house the robot which is then carefully moved alongside the nose cones so that there is no disruption to the assembly line.

Two MT1200+ tugs have been brought in to attach to the trolley, meaning that the robots can now be transported swiftly and easily – and even turned 360° if needed.

The MT1200+ is designed to allow a single pedestrian operator to push, pull and steer loads weighing up to 12,000kg.

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Move trailers single-handedly 11/09/2017

Trailer moving system allows pedestrians to move up to 11,000kg.

Electric tug specialist MasterMover has launched its articulated trailer moving system, a pedestrian operated motorised electric tug that can move loads of up to 11,000kg. The product, named the TMS1650+, is ideal for use by maintenance staff in the automotive, logistics, rail and transport sectors.

The TMS1650+ uses a hydraulic weight transfer system to allow pedestrian operators to easily move large loads, such as unladen articulated lorry trailers and train carriages, by raising the front of the trailer off its stands. This makes it quicker and easier for staff to conduct and complete routine maintenance and cleaning.

During operation, the tug’s AC motor allows for controlled handling of the load by providing high torque at low speeds. This means that operators can move objects with the same level of ease regardless of whether the machine is moving at 0.1km/h or its maximum speed of 5km/h.

“The trailer moving system represents a step forward in pedestrian operated trailer handling equipment,” explained Andy Owen, managing director of MasterMover. “Traditionally, plant and site staff would be required to use forklifts to move lorry trailers, train carriages and tankers. However, the time spent loading, mounting and operating forklifts — as well as the waiting times that are often involved — reduces process efficiency.

“We are seeing more businesses adopt lean principles into their operations in recent years. In fact, a 2014 survey from LNS research showed that three-in-five manufacturers were developing lean resource management plans. Time is an invaluable resource, so lean plant managers must aim to minimise instances of time wastage.

“The TMS1650+ was developed to meet this requirement for the lean handling and transportation of large, heavy loads. Its hydraulic system provides power that rivals and exceeds that of many industrial forklifts, but without the large footprint and issues with availability.”

The tug is fitted with several safety features to ensure operator safety during use, such as automatic braking and cut off. For example, the automatic braking function will immediately come into effect if the operator releases the controls during use. The TMS1650+ also includes an emergency stop button and warning horn.

01335 301865

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All-terrain tug released 15/06/2017

MasterMover is powering up its range of all-terrain load moving equipment with the new ATT400+, a powerful electric tug with a high performance hydraulic coupling.

The ATT400+ allows plant engineers, maintenance staff and handling operators in industrial environments to move heavy loads of up to 5,000kg on castors or 40,000kg on rails.

Due to the nature of industrial environments, plant staff are often required to handle heavy products or components across uneven or cluttered floor spaces. This poses a challenge for traditional load handling equipment, with operators often requiring the use of forklifts or cumbersome alternatives that reduce productivity and create safety risks.

The ATT400+ electric tug allows pedestrian operators to effectively and efficiently handle heavy loads on all surfaces, with the tug’s specially designed hydraulic arm transferring the load’s weight onto the wheels. This, in addition to the redesigned body of the tug and puncture-proof tyres, means that staff can handle up to five tonnes in any operating condition.

MasterMover has redesigned the body of the tug to generate more traction. The main wheel has been moved forward and is now reinforced by a smaller supporting wheel at the back, which provides better balance.

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NHS urged to ease the load 06/03/2017

Electric tug specialist MasterMover is urging hospital procurement officers to invest in its new SmartMover range of healthcare tugs for porters.

The company believes that use of its SM100+ tug will assist in easing the pressure that is currently placed on the NHS, by improving porter efficiency and minimising the need for nursing staff to complete porter tasks.

The SM100+ tug is designed to handle loads of up to 1200kg using a leveraged weight transfer system, which allows hospital porters to move heavy loads with ease. The tug also features a hydraulic coupling system that creates a very strong connection to the load to eliminate the risk of it detaching. The operator can activate this by simply pressing a button. 

The hydraulic coupling system on the SM100+ allows porters to couple together multiple loads, such as trolleys or cages and move them simultaneously to save time. This makes tasks quicker and more efficient, allowing porters to safely keep pace with the growing demand on healthcare services.

Andy Owen, managing director of MasterMover. “There have been numerous cases in recent years of nursing staff admitting to undertaking porter duties, simply due to the large quantities of loads that need to be moved. This contributes to the pressure on healthcare providers, as nurses are forced to spend less time treating patients. It is particularly concerning when considered against the backdrop of hospitals being overworked, under-staffed and short on time.

“Investing in new equipment for handling and moving loads will ease the burden in healthcare organisations. The minimal footprint of the SM100+ healthcare electric tug, in addition to its hydraulic coupling system and load-bearing capacity, is the cost-effective way to streamline tasks and give healthcare managers one less thing to worry about.”

In addition to the increased operational efficiency, the SM100+ also offers health and safety benefits. Because the leveraged weight transfer system allows easy handling of heavier loads, porters avoid the risks associated with manual moving. This is also true for other members of staff, who can use the tugs without the need for an operator licence.

The SM100+ is one of two products MasterMover offers to the healthcare sector. The other is the GBM20, a battery-powered tug specially designed to transport oxygen canisters through hospitals.

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Moving safely in healthcare 08/09/2014

Materials handling specialist MasterMover is alerting healthcare providers to the significant advantages its range of electric tugs can deliver within hospital environments in terms of improving efficiency, safety and cost savings.

The benefits of the technology as a materials handling aid has been reinforced by the release of an endorsement by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), which suggested the use of electric tugs in hospitals could provide an ideal solution for porters, aiding them through the physical demands of their vital role.

It is reported that porters are often over-stretched due to load of work, or time taken to perform manual tasks. This, in addition to the impact that lifting and handling can have on individuals’ health, can also have a negative impact on the delivery of patient support.

These reasons have led to the HSE voicing a positive opinion of electric tug solutions, namely because they allow operatives to move more than one manually-handled ‘load’ at a time – be that a sizeable replenishment of fresh linen, or a frequent transfer of clinical waste.

The solution of attaching electric tugs to roll cages and trolleys is already a trusted technique within industries as diverse as retail, aerospace, construction & mining.  Across all of these sectors, improvements in efficiency and safety standards during materials handling operations have been noted.

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Relaunched electric tug range 12/06/2014

According to materials handling specialist MasterMover, its recently relaunched MasterTug range can deliver enormous benefits to manufacturing plants in terms of lean efficiency.

The UK-based company has invested in a major revamp of its MasterTug range of electric tugs, which help to manoeuvre heavy loads that would otherwise have to be pushed by hand or dragged inefficiently.

The benefits to manufacturing and assembly operations of using electric tugs include reduced downtime, greater manoeuvrability and control, and improved safety.

Better still, the deployment of multiple MasterMover tugs in a factory can assist with lean manufacturing by creating flow line production systems. 

"We are seeing situations where a single customer is using different models to provide a fast, efficient and safe flow of goods throughout the production process,” explains Andy Owen, managing director of MasterMover.

Smaller tugs – such as the SmartMover option – move deliveries into the factory from Goods In, or ferry spares from the stores. Then larger MasterTugs move the product being assembled from one stage of production to the next, until the finished item is ready for despatch.

This system is particularly useful for high-value, heavy goods such as aircraft, boats or construction machines, where an automated production line would not be economically viable.

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Samba success for MasterMover 09/04/2014

MasterMover’s Brazilian distributor Fornecedora Industrial has proven to be the company’s largest export customer for 2013.

FIL’s business manager, Almir S. Alves says: "Our introduction to MasterMover was customer driven. We were approached by a client who had seen a MasterMover tug in Europe and was impressed with its capabilities. Demand for better handling machinery is most definitely on the increase in Brazil, and our client hoped that we could supply a similar machine.

"We made it a priority to establish ourselves as a MasterMover distributor. We have been reaping the rewards ever since, because handling machinery of the standard they create is exactly what industrial companies in South America are looking for right now. It improves productivity, working conditions and efficiency.”

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Revamped electric tug range 13/02/2014

Pedestrian electric tug manufacturer MasterMover has announced a major expansion of its MasterTug range, giving the company increased capability to meet the materials handling needs of a variety of industrial, manufacturing and assembly sectors.

Available immediately in the UK, the revamped range now includes nine MasterTug machines of varying specifications, capable of moving loads up to 120,000kg.

According to the company, MasterTugs bring proven benefits to production efficiency and factory safety, with an emphasis on helping industrial firms to achieve lean manufacturing processes.

By providing such a broad range of tug equipment, MasterMover can give its customers effective alternatives to existing operational processes to improve manufacturing and assembly flow on the factory floor.  

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Safety & efficiency benefits 13/02/2014

The Co-Operative Food has extended its use of pedestrian electric tugs from MasterMover, ordering further SmartMovers for the safe and efficient movement of roll cages into convenience stores.

The SmartMovers enable a single operator to move cages in compliance with local authority health and safety regulations.  In addition, by optimising staff deployment, MasterMover has enabled The Co-operative to improve efficiency in-store and on the road, because the retailer can schedule deliveries based on the location of stores rather than by their handling requirements.

The SmartMover essentially acts as a "second operator,” thanks to an innovative design that uses the weight of the load to generate traction and so make movement much easier. As such, it is recognised by local authorities as a means of permitting a single operator to move the roll cages.

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