Having relied upon Stertil Koni heavy duty vehicle lifts for many years, Stagecoach West recently purchased wireless mobile column lifts to support workshop operations at its depots in Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye.

Stagecoach West provides local bus services across Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Swindon, South Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Bristol with some journeys extending into Wales and Oxfordshire. Each year, the company carries out over 25 million passenger journeys covering more than 13 million miles. Stagecoach West employs a workforce of 750 people located at depots in Bristol, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Ross-on-Wye, Stroud, and Swindon.

The company operates a fleet of 300 buses and coaches all of which are either low floor or wheelchair lift equipped to provide easy access for the elderly, disabled, and buggies. All vehicles are inspected by engineers at least every four weeks and are maintained to higher standards than the legal minimum to ensure both safety and comfort. In fact, Stagecoach West recently introduced a new proactive maintenance programme designed to reduce the overall number of vehicle breakdowns. This programme is supported by the recently supplied Stertil Koni wireless mobile column lifts.

The Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye depots both took delivery of a set of four wireless mobile column lifts, type ST1075FWA. Each of the four columns in the set provides a lifting capacity of 7.5 tonnes which means that the combined capacity of the set is an impressive 30 tonnes. Also, each column incorporates Stertil Koni’s revolutionary ebright Smart Control System which allows workshop staff to operate the columns individually, in pairs or in any other combination from any column in the set. Positioning of the wireless columns is also totally flexible, enabling them to be used in any configuration around a vehicle.

Featuring wireless mesh network connectivity and full-colour touch screen consoles, the ebright Smart Control System has been designed and developed to simplify operation by providing maximum visual information about every lifting operation – all at the fingertips of the workshop engineers. For added safety and performance, the ebright Smart Control System also shows how many columns in the set are being used plus the battery status of each column. Safety is further enhanced by an independent mechanical locking system, incorporated into each column, which allows engineers to securely lock the lift to prevent a vehicle from being inadvertently lowered.

The lifts are powered by long-life deep cycle batteries which provide optimum performance for at least a week, before recharging is necessary. Also, battery life is prolonged due to the fact that, unlike a screw-lift, power is only used to raise the vehicle, therefore, less time is spent recharging the lift which is carried out via a 230v single phase supply. Importantly, with no cables on the workshop floor, the risk of tripping is removed, providing valuable health and safety benefits. Furthermore, with no wired power supply, the system can be used safely inside or outdoors.

The absence of power and communication cables also means that set-up time is greatly reduced thereby making the system fully operational much more quickly. Significantly, the lift’s unique synchronisation system ensures a smooth lifting and lowering cycle, even in the event of extremely uneven load distribution. The ST1075FWA provides a maximum lifting height of 1.85 metres which is reached in just 75 seconds thereby making it one of the fastest commercial vehicle lifts available.

“We handle a wide range of vehicles on the lifts,” says Tom Large, Engineering Director at Stagecoach West. “These include single deck mini buses weighing five tonnes up to double deckers weighing 13 tonnes. The lifts are in constant use five days a week from six in the morning until midnight, handling approximately 50 vehicles a week. We’ve had experience of using Stertil Koni lifts for a number of years so we know them to be robust and reliable.”

For more information: Stertil Koni