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Penny Hydraulics Leading the Way with Symetri for Goods Lift Design

Penny Hydraulics General Manager of Goods Lifts, Jocelyn Cole was delighted to be asked to present yesterday at the iLogic and Inventor Symetri user conference in Leeds about the pioneering project that Penny Hydraulics have been working on in conjunction with Symetri.

Penny Hydraulics has been manufacturing bespoke lifting solutions for over 37 years; designing, manufacturing, installing and servicing a wide range of goods lift solutions in the UK including custom design and custom built lifting equipment including mezzanine floor goods lifts for lifting single pallets from ground floor to one or two mezzanine floor levels, the CellarLift  range which provides a robust, reliable and cost effective solution to problems associated with deliveries and  crate hoist for moving cases, boxed goods, kitchen deliveries or for restocking the bar. In-house design and manufacturing capabilities allow quick and easy production of custom designed and built lifting equipment in the case of specialist requirements.

Penny Hydraulics who are committed to ensuring they are at the forefront of UK design and manufacture are always looking for ways in which they can improve their processes when it comes to design and technology. The partnership with Symetri was based around smarter working processes in goods lift design. After a record year in sales for their award winning goods lifts, Penny Hydraulics had an increasing demand for bespoke goods lifts, in particular their mezzanine floor goods lift range and needed to be able to speed up the design process, making this simpler and quicker for Jocelyn and the Goods Lifts team to avoid bottle necks at this stage in the sales and order process to get more lift out of the door quicker than ever before.

Penny Hydraulics who are already a user of CAD design software for their mezzanine goods lift range, approached Symetri who are an Autodesk Gold partner, operating in the oil, gas, nuclear, transportation and manufacturing sectors, supplying 2D and 3D CAD design software, as well as specific third-party software applications.

The team provide engineering data management solutions helping organisations improve their businesses through efficient information management and collaboration between individuals, departments, extended design teams and supply chain partners. Their solutions create value by reducing costs, increasing operational effectiveness while ensuring regulatory compliance. They manage the engineering design lifecycle from concept to manufacture and maintenance management.

Symetri Consulting Services was launched early 2012 in recognition of the evolving nature of digital product design, digital prototyping, data and product lifecycle management (PLM) and its customers’ need for broader expertise and guidance. Supporting over 750 customer organisations throughout the UK, it now operates from offices in Aberdeen, Newcastle upon Tyne and Wakefield.

Historically at Penny Hydraulics Goods Lifts, manufacturing drawings were done by choosing the closest base model from a selection of “templates” which was not that easy as there are a large number of variations. It would be necessary to find a previous installation exactly the same to copy and goods lift variations include; number of stops, type of lift (singe, double mast, double mast opposed), position of lift, loading directions, guard arrangement (full height, fixed rail, hand load), single or double gate, split panels dependant on size. It would then be necessary to copy the design to a project specific folder and make further changes at this point.

In various attempts over the years to make this process as quick as possible the model was created by a frame generator, so the “base block” could be modified to the appropriate width/depth/height, which would then amend the frame. This was not ideal as a lot of manual checking was required. If one of the templates matched the layout exactly this worked well, but if any changes were required this would be very time consuming.

There was then a separate cutting, drilling, mesh list – this was produced in excel, which was completely independent of the model. So again, there was a lot of manual intervention. A job card had to be manually filled in with a “picking list” so the number of frames and lift sections were itemised and ticked off at dispatch.

At the time of putting the business case together for the software, there were 15 mezzanine lifts on order of which nine were completely bespoke.

iLogic as a rules based productivity tool for engineers enables Jocelyn and the goods lifts team to reuse design and allows automation of repetitive tasks in Inventor. The fast and simple interface allows them to create smart components, design tools and configurations. The team put together a “wish list” which details 5 versions of the MezzLift goods lift which then have a number of sub-versions based on a list of options. This has enables the team to quickly create mezzanine lift drawings by picking from the various options and categories.

Since using the new process, initial enquiry drawings have been reduced from 20 minutes (for drawing and specification sheet) down to 2-3 minutes for configuration and 2 minutes to configure.  This exports both the drawing and the specification sheet. The manufacturing drawing are down to 5 -10 minutes of adjustments once the parameters are imported (from previous 2 hours).

Where previously decisions had been done in an “ad hock” approach,  i.e. when to split a panel or put in a cross beam for mesh support, when to split a lift etc. Penny Hydraulics have to make rules to drive this so this has led to a lot of standardisation. The Goods Lift team have also looked at ways to speed up manufacture, having parts laser cut, bent/pressed etc.

In the past Penny Hydraulics have had the same personnel manufacturing, so there had been a reliance on them knowing how to create certain items, which was limiting when considering taking on additional resources. But now there are detailed drawings for all items so we have increased the manufacturing capability by 40%. Turnover has increased 60%, resulting in a nett profit increase of 140%. Nett profit this year is 19.9%.

It is clear therefore that Penny Hydraulics are already feeling the benefits of working with Symetri and look forward to working on further projects together moving forwards as they continue to strive to be at the forefront of mechanical handling design and manufacturing in the UK and overseas.

Penny Hydraulics Ltd is possibly best known for its market leading range of hydraulic lifting equipment, vehicle mounted cranes and vehicle mounted platform lifts as well as goods lift solutions such as the Cellar Lift drinks delivery hoists and Mezz Lift, mezzanine floor lift range as mentioned.

Specialist mining services equipment including the pit prop range (powered roof support legs; advance rams; machine rams) and valves are market leading products within the mining industry and Penny Nuclear provides specialist products and services for all stages of the nuclear plant cycle.

Raising and Lowering systems are the leading authority in the installation and maintenance of lifting and lowering systems for chandeliers and other lighting installations in the UK.