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Men of Steel

Tata is rightly considered a giant of manufacturing. With links to the aerospace, automotive and construction industries, among others, its steel division is a leading supplier to customers across the globe.

In its former incarnation as Corus, the company already had a long-standing relationship with Rushlift, having supplied a variety of equipment to the strip mills in Brinsworth and high capacity forklifts on site in Scunthorpe.

The Tata Steel Speciality (TSS) division offers a wide variety of carbon, alloy and stainless steels designed to meet the needs of some of the worlds most demanding applications in markets ranging from aerospace to oil and gas, power generation to industrial bearings.

Engineering manager, Rob Mallin worked with Rushlift to take care of all the TSS materials handling needs. Says Rob: “We have a variety of forklift applications, some heavy, some less so, but we felt we were better able to provide value to the group and control the fleet by bringing the operation under one roof.

“Rushlift were clear in what they could offer us and have delivered every step of the way. We have forklifts, sideloaders, road sweepers and aerial access platforms provided by them. The benefits to having a single point of contact and, in a business like ours where safety is paramount, experienced and capable engineers, are incalculable.”

Bringing equipment into an environment like a steel mill brings with it its own special considerations. “The harsh environment can be tough on equipment,” says Rob. “We need our equipment to be durable and fit for purpose, but we also need excellent back up and high levels of service to keep the mills rolling.”

Tata has also worked with Rushlift to get the best out of their equipment. The specified sideloaders are proven and tough, while the road sweeper is heavy duty, and features such as operator sensing, oil immersed brakes and key-pad entry are included on much of the forklift fleet. Other additions include onboard fire extinguishers and many carry robust fork rotators.

Rushlift has developed a reputation for providing both expert engineering advice but also placing customer service at the centre of the organisation. Rushlift has succeeded in supplying a number of major fleet users and high profile businesses that see materials handling as crucial to their operation. Uptime and low overall costs are often very important to such companies. One other factor that makes a big impact is Rushlift’s online fleet management system (FMS).

“FMS gives customers the facility to see their live fleet information,” explains Rushlift account manager, Ian Hunter. “Having vital information at their fingertips means they have confidence in their fleet and in our responsiveness. Logging breakdowns online gives Tata clarity and peace of mind, particularly where multiple shift managers are involved who might otherwise not be able to tell if a breakdown or repair has already been logged.” With multiple decision makers across the Speciality Steels division, Rushlift is also keen to ensure everyone is updated via regular meetings. Monthly reviews take place to ensure all the sites are aware of their fleet utilisation.

Occasionally this can also highlight damage hot spots or operator training needs. “It just makes sense to keep a close eye on their investment,” concludes Ian. “Equipment is obviously important but the equipment specification is not the sole focus. We make sure we are delivering the right solutions for Tata at every site, we achieve this through regular updates, attention to detail, our service and applications engineering approach.”