Plant & Works Engineering
Safer and speedier lifting
Published:  03 January, 2017

O’Reilly Concrete, originally established in 1939 as a small sand and gravel business, has seven production facilities across Ireland. Ballyhoe Plant, which is just outside Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan, specialises in the manufacture of precast walls for rapid build modular construction. As with the majority of the company’s products, these are extremely heavy, oversized and potentially hazardous to lift and transport. Since a Combilift Straddle carrier has been in operation these processes have become much safer and speedier.

O’Reilly Concrete has grown over the decades to become one of the largest precast manufacturers in Ireland and the UK. Its frame buildings and range of prestressed and precast walls, floors and stairs are used for many types of construction including schools, apartment blocks, parking structures, retail developments and office and student accommodation.

“Due to significant recent growth, especially in the UK market, we have ramped up our production capacity,” said group operations director Paddy Hagan, “and we needed to keep up to schedule when it came to getting finished walls out of the factory, and onto HGVs ready for despatch. We also wanted to ensure the best possible health and safety practices, and the Combi-SC made sense on both of these counts. It also has a further benefit of enabling us to do away with hire cranes we previously needed and is a much more flexible solution.”

Current production stands at around 40 walls per day, the heaviest of which can weigh up to 16t. Their size - up to 9.5m by 3m - makes it a tall order for any piece of equipment to quickly and safely move these loads around the site. Paddy Hagan reckons that operational speed is now up by at least 40% compared to using cranes – and the investment in the Straddle will be offset by the savings on hire costs too.

The 30t capacity Combi-SC in operation at the Monaghan facility can offload the walls from a low frame trailer inside and take them outside to be loaded onto A-frame trailers. The fully remote control model is easy to operate according to O’Reilly’s personnel and offers excellent visibility for the operator wherever it is working on site, particularly round tight corners. It is also much more manoeuvrable than a crane and features such as the full side shifting beam with varied lift points and a telescopic facility give it the versatility to lift various sizes of loads.

The Combi-SC range, which has lift capacities of up to 80t, was originally developed for cost effective and efficient container handling but quickly proved to be the equally ideal solution for oversized loads of any kind such as those manufactured by O’ Reilly Concrete.

Paddy Hagan commented: “When we increased production we knew we needed to streamline our handling procedures, and we have successfully done this thanks to our Straddle Carrier.”

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