Improving the safety and productivity in the assembly of mining and construction machinery is crucial to the success of the team at Hastings Deering.
Assembling nearly 50, D10 and D11 Cat Track Type Tractors in the Archerfield branch annually, the operations team have played a leading role in driving continuous improvement in their assembly processes.
In early 2021, the operations team were looking to address concerns around working at heights on the assembly of D10 and D11 track type tractors.
Brendan Black, Service Supervisor at Hastings Deering said that the key to this concern, was access and egress when working around engine bays, cabs, and the installation of fire suppression units. He said:
“When assembling these dozers, our team are working at a height of 1.6m on platforms designed to hold one person, or they’re standing on the tracks on rudimentary platforms.”
“Technician fatigue can be a real concern here with the need to climb up and down the machine with tooling and parts throughout the day.”
Following a visit to an aviation workshop, the team identified a platform concept that would help to eliminate the working at heights issues on these machines.
“We wanted a solution where our technicians could work side by side, have easy access to the tooling and parts required on shift and significantly reduce the stress and fatigue on our team.”
Working with HMG Engineering, the team constructed a platform to fit around the shape of a Cat dozer, working with a modular design that could be adapted across both the D11 and D10 models.
The platform arrangement is made up of two sets of stairs and four independent platforms connected by a bridge.
All platforms were individually engineered and certified, to allow for adaptability across projects and allowing for use as a whole or partial assemblage.
With a rating of 450kgs, each platform allows for multiple technicians, parts, and tooling to be raised to the height of the engine, ensuring greater productivity and less fatigue. Mr. Black said:
“This platform has really reinvented the way we build machines, we can set the platforms up and do all the things needed on the top of the machine at one time.”
“We’re looking at around a 25% increase in build productivity by adopting this innovation. Not only does it help our technicians, but it has further removed the requirement for our third-party contract technicians to hold a Hastings Deering ATO for working at heights on our machines.”
Despite a worldwide shortage in Aluminum, HMG Engineering were able to manufacture the first concept within 8-10 weeks. Mr. Black said:
“We could have gone with an off the shelf solution that might have worked on 60% of our applications, but working with HMG, we could engineer a factory fit specifically for the Cat equipment and know that it would work 100% of the time.”
“We started discussions in February 2021, and HMG were able to engineer a safe, productive and space saving solution that complies with the Australian safety standards.”
“The benefit of working with another company under the Sime Darby banner, is that our engineers and those at HMG could interact and share the 3D machine models to make sure that when the solution arrived, it fit perfectly the first time.”
With the adoption of key innovations Hastings Deering is working towards No Harm in the workplace and ensuring the team goes home safely, every day. Mr. Black said:
“It’s about working smarter, not harder.”
Source: Hastings Deering