← Back to All Articles

April, 2016

RIGHT ON GLIDEPATH

Fabricating off-site lead to shorter time on site, and better quality finish.

One of the most satisfying aspects of our job is that, while we’re often a key part of big projects, our work goes pretty much unnoticed by the project managers. We’re like the air you breathe – so long as you have enough, and the quality is good, you won’t even stop to think about where it comes from.

The reason we’re almost invisible is because almost all of our precision engineering jobs are fabricated in our factory. If the installation is complicated, then you might find our guys on site tweaking it or advising the principal contractors. But more often than not the complex measurements, cutting, welding and testing has already been completed prior to delivery, and we’re nowhere to be seen.

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at one of our bigger projects over the last couple of months.

When Glidepath were commissioned to install the new baggage handling systems at Auckland Airport, they called on R&H to help speed the processes up. We’re not talking about the flimsy baggage carousels you see as a passenger, but rather the massive heavy-duty conveyors that are used to transfer the airline containers from the aircraft to the baggage halls.

While the tasks required for assembly were quite routine for R&H’s Engineers, it was the sheer size and volume of these assemblies that makes this a complex job. In all, we had to build 153 frames, complete with 3,500 2m long rollers, which meant that for the next two months our factory became a production line.

This was as much a test of logistics as it was of our manufacturing capability. Although we have ample storage area, there’s not quite enough space to fit out an airport, so we employed a “just-in-time” process with a constant stream of trucks bringing crates of components in one door, and leaving through the other laden with the previous days production of fully assembled frames.

Our task was to uncrate the components, assemble each of the 137 frames, and fit and calibrate 23 rollers to each. Once complete and tested the finished assemblies were stacked ready for the delivery cycle the following day.

We needed to pump out eight frames a day, to keep ahead of the installation crews, and for most of the time, we had a couple of days inventory ready to go. And just to make the job a little more complicated, it spanned the Christmas holiday period providing us with a host of human resources issues we had to overcome just to stay on track.

We’re finished now and, other than monitoring progress, we barely heard from the client. So we know the installation went like clockwork. I expect the project managers barely even realized the ant-farm of activity going on a few kilometers away at R&H.

To look at it another way we were like a jumbo jet bringing it’s precious cargo in to land at a busy airport. We barely heard from the tower because we were ‘on glidepath’ all the way in.

R&H Engineering are general engineers with substantial capacity and the ability to design and produce engineering projects on time and budget.

Our sophisticated plant coupled with our extensive manufacturing experience in agriculture, architecture, construction, stainless steel and even outdoor furniture, we are confident that we can deliver superior engineering projects, of any size.

Search Articles