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Ergonomics of hose-reel roll out and rewind

Shermac engineer safety in and hazards out 

An operator of a service vehicle will visit a number of different locations during the course of a shift and will perform a range of repetitive service tasks. The most common task is refuelling, and the link between the service vehicle and the equipment to be refuelled is the fuel hose, and an operator might be required to access the hose reel up to 50 times per day. 

Because refuelling volumes are large, they need high capacity delivery systems and fuel hoses are often heavy 1-2 inch hoses that may be 15 metres or more in length. The challenge of handling heavy hoses increases when working in hilly terrain or on soft surfaces that are common on mines sites. 

The constant need to roll-out and rewind the hose reels present a potential ergonomic risk to the operator of repetitive strain injury. The process is further exacerbated by the need to keep the discharge nozzle clean to prevent contaminants entering the fuel tank. 

To minimise the risk of repetitive strain injuries, Shermac actively optimises operator ergonomics on all its vehicles. 

While many service vehicles have hose reel access at shoulder height, Shermac position the hose reel lower on the vehicle at hip height, offering a more ergonomic height for handling and reducing the risk of shoulder injuries. 

Lightweight hoses might have a spring rewind system, but this is not suitable for fuel hoses as the spring tension required to rewind a long, heavy hose increases the effort required for an operator to pull out.  

The typical Shermac fuel hose has a manual roll-out and hydraulic or pneumatic assisted rewind. On roll-out, the hose clutch is disengaged and the reel free-wheels for easy delivery, and the powered rewind does all the rewind work. 

Once refuelling is finished, the operator has to walk back to the service vehicle holding the nozzle-end of the hose off the ground to prevent it getting dirty and leaving a loop of hose on the ground. Once at the vehicle, the operator activates the rewind switch and manages the rewind while all the time keeping the nozzle off the ground and clean. 

While this is an ergonomic solution, there is a better option available from Shermac. Once refuelling is finished, the operator can activate the rewind via a remote rewind switch on a wrist-band and simply walks the hose reel back to the service vehicle. 

Continuous improvement is part of Shermac DNA, and future fuel delivery developments potentially include the use of fuel booms with short flexible hose lengths to further improve operator ergonomics and optimise productivity. 

These examples illustrate Shermac’s commitment to engineering safety in and hazards out and to maximise operator wellbeing, vehicle uptime and productivity with predictable lifetime cost. 

Ready to find out more? Talk to our expert team to find out more about our commitment to operator safety and how we can help you. Call our team on 1300 799 943 or email [email protected] with your inquiry. 

Hastings Deering are delighted with their new custom service trailers from Shermac. The company operates over QLD and the NT, with around 500 field service vehicles and 3,500 staff in operation. With sites such as drilling camps and coal-seam gas stations, often located in harsh and remote terrains, they need service vehicles built to cope. The company found their former maintenance trucks were no longer up for the purpose, being time-consuming to load and unload, unclean in terms of their greater capacity for spillages and expensive to run. They needed a solution, and Shermac came up with the perfect answer – timesaving and user-friendly self-contained service trailers. 

When their old service trucks were retired, Field Service Supervisor, Casey Dallas, saw the opportunity to approach Shermac. Hastings Deering has purchased several off-the-shelf Shermac service trucks in the past for various business areas. Knowing this plus Shermac’s leading reputation and reliability in the industry, Casey trusted Shermac to deliver a tailored solution to fit the company’s business requirement in expanding Toowoomba’s service requirements way out to their Roma base and beyond – up to 600kms away. Having done research across several companies, he found Shermac to be not only comparable in price, but the most flexible in terms of the level of customisation they could offer. With 120 employees and 30 field vehicles, Casey approached Shermac to provide 3 new custom service trailers. 

Casey was really impressed with Shermac in terms of their proactivity and flexibility to accommodate Hastings Deering’s every need: “They were really good at being flexible and were happy to change anything that needed to be changed.” This included one trailer customised to hold a high-pressure cleaner and water tank, and another specifically tailored to service power generators. 

Shermac definitely delivered on their client’s environmental requirements, too. Multiple fully-sealed compartments of varying volume-size for various fuels were added along with dedicated hosereels. This removed any chance of spillage onsite. Environmental safety is a huge consideration for all their sites, and Hastings Deering always work closely with landowners to protect and respect the land they work on.  

Along with providing a tough, durable vehicle set up perfectly to carry everything needed for several days’ work out in the field, Shermac provided trailers that were much lighter to tow. Thinking through all the safe towing aspects, Shermac put forward and fitted out lighter poly tanks for carrying hydrocarbons – now fitted as standard across the Hastings Deering trailer fleet – and lighter doors, allowing a weight saving of at least 200kg per trailer, giving greater weight capacity for fuels and tools. 

Delivered on time, on budget and perfectly matched to their needs – branding included – Hastings Deering are delighted with their Shermac service trailers and the increase in their business productivity through significant time-savings in loading and unloading. Now their teams can be far more efficient, getting jobs done quicker and being able to move onto other jobs sooner.  

Call us at Shermac today on 1300 799 943 to discuss how we can tailor the most efficient, safe and highest quality engineered-for-purpose industrial vehicles and equipment for your needs.  

An operator of a service vehicle will visit a number of different locations during the course of a shift and will perform a range of repetitive service tasks. To minimise the risk of repetitive strain injuries, Shermac actively optimises operator ergonomics and safety on all its vehicles. 

A good example of Shermac’s thinking are the service doors which may be opened and closed by the operator countless times during a shift. The doors have traditionally been made of steel. While gas struts are used to open the doors, being heavy, the amount of effort required to overcome strut resistance and close the doors is high, resulting in the potential for repetitive strain injury. In response, service doors on Shermac vehicles are made from lightweight aluminium and weigh 66% lighter than steel doors. The benefits are obvious – being lighter, the effort required to close the doors is much less and the risk of operator injury is greatly reduced.   

Another example involves pumps and filters that are typically positioned behind the hose reel, and operator access is difficult. In response, Shermac changed service vehicle design to position pumps and filters away from hose reels and accessed from the other side of the truck. The result is that operators performing routine maintenance tasks on their vehicles are no longer working in a confined space, improving task efficiency and reducing risk. This design change also enabled Shermac to lower the level of the reel compartment to make hose access easier and more ergonomic. 

Shermac engineer safety in and hazards out

Service vehicles typically have a fold-down step to provide safe access for the operator to the deck. Like the service doors, the steps may be frequently lowered and raised during the course of a shift and present a potential hazard to the operator when folding. In response, Shermac re-engineered the vehicle to include a permanent walk-in step configuration that allowed the operator to access the service deck without handling steps.  

In addition to ergonomics, Shermac continue to refine safety systems on service vehicles, and every opportunity to optimise operator safety is relentlessly pursued.  

Grease is essential for lubricating heavy production machinery, but because of its high viscosity, grease injection systems operate under high pressure. If a grease nipple becomes blocked, the grease line may be pressurised up to 5,000psi and, under pressure, the grease gun is difficult to remove. Similarly, if a grease nipple breaks, grease may be ejected under high pressure. Either scenario is high risk, and to eliminate the risk, Shermac offer an optional remote-controlled grease pressure release system and the operator can immediately relieve pressure in the grease line and eliminate the risk of grease injection injuries. 

These examples illustrate Shermac’s commitment to engineering safety in and hazards out and to maximise operator wellbeing, vehicle uptime and productivity with predictable lifetime cost. 

Ready to find out more? Talk to our expert team to find out more about our commitment to operator ergonomics and safety and how we can help you. Call our team on 1300 799 943 or email [email protected] with your inquiry. 

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