Logistics specialist Witron has benefited from the strength and versatility of bespoke loading ramps from Thorworld during its construction of a new distribution centre for a retail customer. The largest of the four ramps delivered to the Northwest site had to withstand the weight of a 48-tonne crane.
Thorworld’s involvement came after Witron was let down by its existing ramp supplier. Given the complexity of the distribution centre’s build, and with the clock ticking, Witron needed a reliable alternative, quickly.
“Thorworld stood out as a credible solution provider, they have an excellent reputation in the market and could manufacture ramps to the exact size and weight parameters we required,” commented Duncan Pointon, Business Development Manager UK at Witron.
“Plus, their knowledge was second to none when it came down to our application, giving valuable input as the ramps needed to be moved in and out of pits.”
The four ramps were built and delivered in a phased operation, to suit Witron’s own construction schedule. The first three ramps are being used by Witron to help move plant in and out of the dispatch buffer pits where they assemble automated racking. Thorworld installed the first ramp to demonstrate best practice, while the next two were installed by Witron.
Thorworld returned to install the last – and most complex – of the four ramps. “This was in the CPS pit, which forms part of the 35m High Bay Warehouse. We erect racking at ground level, in strategically located pits. The racking must be installed by crane, therefore we needed a ramp specifically built to allow the crane easy access in and out of the pit,” explained Duncan Pointon.
Ian Langan, Technical and Engineering Director at Thorworld, particularly enjoyed the challenge of designing a ramp capable of withstanding the weight of the crane. “Normally our mobile ramps have a usable width of 2250mm and up to 15,000kg capacity. The crane weighed 48,000KG and required a usable width of 3.5m and a ramp length of 8m,” he said.
“We had to undertake design calculations and finite element analysis (FEA), to ensure the capacities and axle loads could be adequately supported. And then manufacture all four ramps from scratch within a very short timescale!”
Unusually for Thorworld, the four ramps are only needed during the fit-out of the distribution centre and will not be in regular use. Nonetheless, Witron has recognised their long-term value. “All of our DCs are built to a similar specification, so we’ll definitely need the Thorworld ramps again! Until then, we’ll keep them in storage, ready for the next site build,” concluded Duncan Pointon