Offset Alpine has been providing high-quality magazines, catalogues, corporate and commercial printing to businesses across Australia for close on 70 years. The company is recognised as one of Australia's leading web offset and sheetfed printers.
Located in Sydney, Offset Alpine is a member of the Independent Print Media Group which has branches in Melbourne and Brisbane. The plant has a large number of heatset web and sheet-fed presses to provide flexibility across a diverse product range. Extensive prepress, bindery, finishing and mailing facilities complement the company's printing capability.
Among its equipment is a state-of-the-art ultra violet coating press. Situated on a mezzanine floor at the plant, the machine requires that its printing rollers be changed about every three months. These metal rollers can weigh as much as 300kg and given the confined space in which the machine is physical located, the task had traditionally been undertaken manually.
According to Keith Lee, Plant and Project Manager for Offset Alpine, a few men were required to move each of the heavy rollers.
'About four men were needed to lift them onto the mezzanine level using rope and slings. Or, depending on the weight, we would use a forklift to help lift the rollers up. Either way it raised the risk of physical injury to our people, which is something we were trying to minimise.
'Apart from having to manhandle the rollers, the process was laborious and time consuming, so we had to find a way of moving the rollers,' said Keith.
Hauling the rollers in such a manner also posed a danger to the ultra violet coating press as well as the possibility of damaging the rollers themselves.
'You only need a slight slip of the hand and the roller could end up coming into contact with a rail or some part of the coating machine. Once scratched, the roller, which costs thousands of dollars, is useless as the scratch marks are likely to appear on anything that is fed through the press. We needed to identify a safer and more efficient means of moving our gear,' explained Keith.
Faced with this challenge, Keith decided to call in Hasemer Materials Handling, a company he had used repeatedly in the past.
'I'd worked with Hasemer before and they'd proven themselves to be a great supplier. Professional, efficient and given the problem we were faced with as well as the physical limitations I felt I really needed somebody who knew what they were doing,' said Keith.
According to Vinesh Khosla, Hasemer's crane specialist, the problem faced by Offset Alpine proved challenging for Hasemer. Apart from lifting and moving the weight of the rollers, the design and installation of the crane had to take into account the physical constraints that surrounded the printing press.