British Telecom (BT) is one of the world's leading communications services companies, serving the needs of customers in the UK and in more than 170 countries worldwide. Its main activities are the provision of fixed-line services, broadband, mobile and TV products and services as well as networked IT services. In the UK BT is well-known as a leading communications services provider, selling products and services to consumers, small and medium sized enterprises and the public sector.
BT sells wholesale products and services to communications providers in the UK and around the world. Globally, it supplies managed networked IT services to multinational corporations, domestic businesses and national and local government organisations.
BT Fleet represents the specialist fleet management arm of the BT Group and manages over 75,000 vehicles for a set of high profile clients including the AA, National Grid and Thames Water.
In addition to this is the Openreach fleet - guardians and maintainers of the UK's local access network, without which the country's communication industry would grind to a halt.
Engineering Technical Support Managers at BT have been working with Penny Hydraulics for many years, using the company to specify and supply mechanical handling equipment for their fleet of 3.5 tonne commercial vehicles. Historically, BT have used Penny Hydraulics lightweight, electric SwingLift cranes. The ML250 model cranes have had working capacities up to 100kg and weigh just 50kg making them the perfect choice for the BT engineers to assist with lifting equipment in and out of their vans.
Penny Hydraulics are delighted to announce that they are now working on a further 210 SwingLift electric cranes for BT. The small electric cranes are a bespoke design that Penny Hydraulics have worked on in conjunction with BT and are for a range of 3.5 tonne commercial vehicles within the BT fleet. The special KJ150 is a 150kg capacity knuckle jointed crane ideal for handling generators, whacker plates and general items of plant anywhere within a two metre arc.
The crane is based on a standard design, but with some changes to suit BT's specific needs and reduce weight. The KJ150 crane is fully demountable; it can be deployed on other vehicles or removed altogether, therefore maintaining maximum fleet flexibility. It is also extremely compact in its design helping maximise vehicle floor space and easy to operate with a wander lead control. An integrated overload device ensures that will not lift more than its maximum stated working capacity for extra operator safety.
Richard Short, Sales Director at Penny Hydraulics comments, "weight has been removed from the crane design wherever possible, without compromising on performance or safety. At less than 32kg, the units are really lightweight and despite the cranes increased maximum working load the new design has a major impact on saving weight. This will help BT ensure that their cranes can be installed with reduced impact on the overall vehicle weight to leave more carrying capacity for improved operational flexibility and productivity of the fleet. Although this helps with all types of vehicle it is especially useful for those in the 3.5t classes where remaining within the overall weight and carrying capacity limits are always of concern."
The cranes are manufactured from high quality steels, meaning that the crane structures are high strength and durable yet lightweight, helping to reduce emissions, maximise fuel economy and maximise payload. All of which are key concerns of BT.
Some crane installations have been carried out at Penny Hydraulics HQ in Chesterfield and others at one of BT's specified commercial vehicle converter partners. In both cases, Penny Hydraulics experienced and competent out-bound crane engineers have been responsible for carrying out Thorough Examinations on the cranes once installed in accordance with Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). In all cases written and digital certification has been issued and saved for all pieces of lifting equipment so that proof of certification can be easily accessed at any given time.
With most British companies of all sizes in agreement that government and big businesses have a particular duty to 'Buy British', it is excellent to see that larger corporate organisations such as BT see the benefit of "Buying British" have been doing this for many years and continue to do so today. Richard Short from Penny Hydraulics comments, "it makes perfect sense for British companies to support British Manufacturing with shorter supply chains, better service, communication and ease of doing business being notable advantages of dealing with British manufacturers."