Lifting Products to manufacture GIS crane systems in the UK
UK-based Lifting Products Limited will provide a full line of slewing jib cranes, light crane systems, and crane track from Swiss manufacturer GIS AG.
Lifting Products will receive jib crane and other parts from Schötz, Lucerne, but will manufacture the range for the first time in the UK. GIS-owned Lift Turn Move (LTM), meanwhile, a supplier of lifting and rigging equipment to the industrial and entertainment event markets, will continue to be the UK supplier of its electric chain hoists, control systems, and additional material handling equipment.
James Porter, formerly of LTM, and managing director at Lifting Products, had earmarked the UK as a potential hotbed for the full range of GIS products, but cited transportation costs as a barrier to entry for heavier equipment. However, the company has invested in infrastructure, primarily to facilitate onboarding of the GIS range of profiles and components for the jib crane and GISKB ranges. Over- and under-braced jib cranes will be offered from 125kg capacity at 2000mm reach to 1000kg capacity at 5000mm reach. Customisations will be available upon request.
The company’s first jib crane build was for installation at the Holywell, Flintshire facility for handling steel sheets from the rack to load a plasma cutter. The new computer numerical control (CNC) cutter allows Lifting Products to profile its own, 40mm-thick steel plate—double the thickness of jib crane base plates. Subsequently, welding jigs were installed for repeat assembly processes. Manual and CNC lathes, a press brake, milling machine, and water-cooled welder are among other new tools that complete a state-of-the-art machine shop suite.
Porter said, “The combination of Swiss-designed products, that have been in use in some of highest specification manufacturing plants for over 30 years, combined with UK manufacturing, provides a solid base to support our customers with. While these are new products for the UK market, they have been tried and tested for many years, and we can call on that know-how to provide a comprehensive offering to the UK domestic market.”
Erich Widmer, sales and marketing manager/deputy managing director, at GIS, said, “with our UK subsidiary LTM and their long-standing focus on the supply of GIS electric chain hoists and travel trolleys we have a solid base in the UK already, but Lifting Products can now support that existing offering, aided by the infrastructure to stock, cut, weld and paint. It’s well known that the two companies work closely together and LTM will supply the GIS hoists to go with Lifting Products’ crane systems. The collaboration strengthens the GIS brand in the UK; customers benefit from being able to buy GIS-designed jib cranes and lightweight track systems, in addition to GIS electric chain hoists and trolleys.”
David King, managing director at LTM, added, “This is a win-win situation all-round, for GIS, LTM, Lifting Products and, most importantly, the customer and end user community. We have had great success providing [GIS] chain hoists to the UK market and, three years after GIS acquisition [of LTM], the partnership with our colleagues at Lifting Products continues its legacy here in the UK.”
Lifting Products has, since inauguration in 2016, based its growth on high-profile partnerships. It initially serviced the UK and Irish market with Haacon equipment, focussing on off-the-shelf and bespoke winching, jacking, and handling equipment for water treatment, nuclear, offshore, waste, and other specialist markets. This expanded to Haacon’s container lifting and levelling systems, principally in the military sector. Lifting Products is also agent for Koester winches and Wittler safety brakes and cranks, common in agricultural machine making.
Porter said: “We are already stocking GIS parts and can react quickly to customer demands, which will likely come from automotive, aircraft, utilities, construction, rail, and manufacturing. There is a standard range, but almost every jib crane built so far has some custom work involved. The track systems are standard parts but, again, they need to be machined to exact customer specifications. We have manufactured over 30 jib cranes in the last four months and supplied several lightweight crane systems, which, prior to our official [GIS] launch, gives me great confidence.”
Porter joined LTM in 2008, before setting up Lifting Products in 2016 but his relationship with GIS goes back further to employment with Chester Chain, where he used to service and install the Swiss-manufactured electric chain hoists.
With around 120 employees, GIS AG of Switzerland is a well-known manufacturer of complete crane systems including hoists and vacuum lifters. The company has been developing and producing electric chain hoists for more than 55 years. Over the decades, numerous special versions have been realised to meet the needs of a wide range of market segments. With the current electric chain hoist models GP for industrial applications and LP for the entertainment industry, GIS has taken a pioneering role in the highly competitive market of lifting and handling technology. GIS hoists and crane systems are in use by the hundreds of thousands worldwide – stationary or mobile – indoors or outdoors.