Electric tug proves a smart move
21 November 2014
Specialist automotive yarn manufacturer Autofil Worldwide has increased efficiency and improved health and safety since bringing MasterMover’s SmartMover equipment into its Nottingham-based operation
The polyester yarn manufacturer uses advanced equipment and expert knowledge to create high quality specialist yarns that are woven into fabrics – specifically for use within automotive interiors. The creation of these yarns requires specialist treatment using autoclaves; yarns are wheeled on large trollies into the autoclaves for heat treatments to improve the yarns’ attributes.
Mike Fisher, engineering and safety manager at Autofil explains: "Our specialist yarns are used primarily within car seat manufacture, and we pride ourselves on the superb quality of the materials we produce. To achieve our high quality standard, we use autoclaves to apply heat treatment to stabilise and improve yarn attributes for subsequent processes.
"Loading the Autoclaves is a demanding manual task which requires the manoeuvre of heavy industrial trollies,” he adds. "For some time we’ve been looking to improve our loading methods, not only to advance health and safety but to remove the requirement for operatives to actually position themselves inside the autoclave in order to fully insert these heavy trollies.”
Autofil was restricted to positioning three trollies into the autoclave at a time, and was also reliant on manual handling for the entire manoeuvre. In addressing the problem, the company investigated the advantages of MasterMover technology – in particular the SmartMover – an electric tug that is suitable for manoeuvering all types of wheeled loads, safely and effectively.
The design of the SmartMover makes it not only powerful, but operable for pedestrians, allowing users to move both hi-tech vessels and more simple trollies. Its flexible attachment connects safely to wheeled loads, and the variable speed setting and standard auto-stop feature ensure that material handling is always safe and simple, no matter what the industry, or type of load.
Mike Fisher continues: "It didn’t take much convincing to see that the MasterMover SmartMover would be the ideal solution for loading our autoclaves. I’m pleased to say that I’ve had previous experience of using this exact machine and have complete confidence in bringing its robust, easy-to-use technology to the AutoFil shop floor.
"The SmartMover has completely changed, and significantly improved the way we move our yarn trollies both in and out of the autoclaves. Whereas previously we were loading three trollies at a time, we can now load four – increasing efficiency significantly. The machine’s strength also means that operators need no longer manoeuvre themselves within the autoclave to achieve successful loading. This is a terrific improvement and we’re all extremely satisfied.”
Since incorporating Mastermover’s SmartMover for use with loading the factory’s autoclaves, Autofil has purchased a SmartMover for driving its dye pack transporter up and down the dyehouse which was previously pushed manually – another significant health and safety improvement which the operatives are extremely delighted with.
Andy Owen, managing director of MasterMover, comments: "It’s encouraging to hear that the SmartMover is performing so well for Autofil. We strive to create equipment that increases efficiency, reduces the risk of manual handling injuries and betters the process on the shop floor. We understand that AutoFil’s operation team is extremely pleased with the particular SmartMover that’s currently in use and find the news that a second machine is planning to be purchased very welcoming indeed.”