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Fully functional jacks for tiny spaces

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To help a short on space freight operator keep tanker wagons in service, design engineers at rail depot equipment specialist Mechan have gone back to the drawing board.

Challenged to develop a lifting jack for Davis Wagon Services in Kent that would fit in its extremely narrow maintenance facility, the Sheffield-based manufacturer has created a bespoke version of its ‘Lightweight’ range.

There is very little space between the track and the wall of Davis’ maintenance facility, so Mechan had to slim down its jack design to make the footprint as small as possible without compromising stability. The motor and anvil position also had to be changed.

The result was a set of four eight-tonne jacks that stand 3.5 metres tall, but weigh just 1,000kg each – 25% less than the firm’s standard lightweight units.

The jacks are now in operation at Davis’ Medway facility on the Isle of Grain and are being used to remove bogies from tanker wagons that carry aviation fuel to Heathrow.

Mechan sales manager Lindsey Mills said: “The Davis Wagon jacks are the smallest we have ever produced and certainly provided our engineers with a new challenge!

“Fortunately, the client had used our equipment before and was aware we could design around the logistical challenges they face. The high quality of our products and UK-based support services were also appreciated by the team, for whom reliability is key.”

Mechan provides a range of jacks specifically for the tram and light rail markets that offers a cost-effective alternative to its standard design. The lightweight product has a different base arrangement, and built-in assembly for ease of movement, yet retains all of the features that make the firm’s products so revered by the rail industry.


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