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Derrick Bailes, technical consultant at the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), speaks to RTM about LiftEx 2012 and the latest developments in the industry.


iftEx2012, put on by the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), saw

suppliers present the best new equipment to the lifting industry.

LiftEx2012 was held in Coventry on November 29 and 30, showcasing technology and bringing together manufacturers, designers, engineers and distributors.

LEEA technical consultant Derrick Bailes described the growing popularity of the show, the move towards electronic solutions in asset management and issues with legislation.

Innovation and evolution

The event is now in its eighth year and visitor numbers seem to be increasing, Bailes told RTM.

“We’ve grown little bit by little bit each year – I think it’s probably our best yet in terms of size and number of exhibitors. It was very successful; it is the only exhibition that focuses on that side of the industry.”

Additions to the show this year included the ‘Innovation Theatre’, which judged exhibitors on their presentations of new products. The winner was height access and fall prevention system Limpet, developed by Limpet Technology Ltd.

The feature was “certainly something to be repeated”, Bailes said, perhaps running over two days in the future.

He added: “As a concept it worked very well, we had some interesting presentations. One of the diffi culties we did have was very different categories of items; it was diffi cult to judge and compare them. The Limpet won because of its versatility.”

Innovation in lifting equipment is found in gradual evolution of quality rather than leaps forward. This further development includes

greater use of RFID – radio frequency identifi cation – as with many other assets, to keep track of equipment location, destination and status.

Making a mark

Tagging assets in this way allows staff to read equipment via a scanner, and send vital information to a central database. This saves time and improves accuracy when distinguishing between different but similar pieces of equipment.

Bailes said: “It’s being used more and more. A lot of new equipment now has RFID pellets inside. One of the challenges is to retrospectively mark things which weren’t made that way, so tags including RFID is quite a good idea.”

Another technological concern when moving towards digital asset management is ensuring the tag can be read through metal products. “The use of software for managing equipment has certainly grown in recent years,” Bailes told us, “and a lot of people now do that via handheld devices or even, these days, using smartphones: so you don’t actually need special equipment in some cases.”

Fuzzy legislation

In terms of mistakes commonly made by employers in attempting to comply with lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations, Bailes highlighted that there was “still quite a bit of fuzziness in the understanding of legislation”.

He said: “We do see products, look at the documentation for all of them and you think ‘I wonder why the documentation doesn’t actually comply with the legislation requirements…’ It’s

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rail technology magazine Dec/Jan 13 | 69

Although much health and safety legislation is being reviewed and reduced, in line with the Löfstedt review, Bailes stated that much of this will not affect the lifting industry. He said: “I think the industry feels that LOLER and PUWER are about as near right as they could have expected to get them. Generally I think they are well received; a lot of it is simply companies and people who are out of date.”

He added that many of the “so-called problems” with the legislation are with the way it is applied, not its content.

Track record

Bailes said the industry has had a “pretty good” track record on safety, but cautioned over the balance of quality and price, with equipment needed to withstand large degrees of shock, temperature, use and abuse.

He concluded: “Lifting equipment in particular is potentially dangerous if you don’t get it right. There’s lots of good guidance out there, the legislation itself is very helpful and if you try to follow that you’ll keep out of the majority of trouble.

“There’s some very good quality equipment on the market and I think it’s a matter of salesmanship.

“It’s up to those who are manufacturing and providing that equipment to justify it and I think they can.”

Derrick Bailes

just a basic thing, and it’s easy to get right. The technology of the product itself is the hard part, [but] very often you see a very good product and then all of a sudden the documentation’s wrong – why haven’t they got that right?”

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