Electric tow tractors powered by EnerSys
12 December 2012
Vehicle manufacturer General Motors has saved energy, improved productivity and optimised line side delivery operations at its Astra plant in Ellesmere Port by switching to electric tow tractors powered by Hawker batter
The introduction of the new tractors to replace gas-powered units also reduced vehicle movements in production and storage areas.
"We can use the new tractors right through the shift to deliver parts to the production line without any disruption to the operations," says Richie Mellor, senior engineer at the Worldwide Facilities Group, GMM Ellesmere Port Plant. EnerSys and the tractor manufacturer have supplied us with a complete package that met our specification, delivered operational benefits and a number of savings.
The Ellesmere Port plant manufactures Astra cars and vans and employs more than 2000 people on the 130 acre site. This operation incorporates a number of processes that require just-in-time delivery of components and assemblies direct to the line side. Parts are handled on special trolleys and carts which until 2008 were towed by LPG powered tractors. A major drawback was that these tractors had to unhitch from the trolleys and leave the production building and visit outdoor gas bottle stores whenever they needed refuelling. This generally occurred once every shift which was time consuming and could disrupt the smooth operation of the production line. The tractors were noisy and had suffered from reliability problems.
As part of its ongoing investment programme the site identified benefits and savings it could achieve by switching to electric powered tractors operating continuously throughout the shift. It approached a number of potential suppliers and, after testing equipment on site for a year, decided on a combination of 25 Linde P602 tow tractors and Hawker batteries with Hawker LifeSpeed high speed chargers.