New HF Cradle System Offers Safer, More Cost-Effective Material Handling At BIW

The materials handling system used for years at Bath Iron Works pipe fabrication shop relied on corrugated containers to hold the irregularly shaped subassemblies. Getting the material from the pipe shop to the ship required six fulltime workers to move the finished pipe four times, including loading it on a flatbed truck for transportation to the installation site. Because a material handler had to climb up on the units and manually attach chain slings to the container's four lifting eyes, they could only be stacked three high. This stacking limitation meant that a large floor area was needed for storage, staging and shipping.

When BIW built its new pipe and sheet metal fabrication facility in East Brunswick, Maine, with a total production and storage area of 117,000 fta (including 3,800 ft2 of finished pipe storage in three bays), one of their major objectives was to make their materials handling and storage system safer and more efficient.

BIW selected the patented HF Cradle System, manufactured by Dwight Foote, Inc., Berlin, Conn., for its material handling and storage system. The self-aligning, interlocking design of the HF System allows rapid, safe and accurate stacking of multiple units. Because they can safely be stacked up to four high, storage floor space requirements were cut by one-third, and BIW was able to transport more finished subassemblies per truck.

Just as important, the HF Cradle System has eliminated the need for riggers to climb up on loads to connect chain slings to the containers.

HF units are easily selected and handled from the floor by one man. A safer, more open work environment has been created.

BIW's Matthew Quail, supervisor of scheduling, and Mark McAuliflfe, plant superintendent, designed the material handling system used to retrieve, kit and ship the subassemblies.

Both Bath Iron Works and Dwight Foote, Inc.

designed the special containers for transporting and storing the finished pipe assemblies.

The HF Cradle System consists of 250 cradle containers, 12 feet by 4 feet by 2-1/2 feet, with a capacity of 6,000 pounds, a single hook crane, and an HF spreader beam. The system handles a range of pipes in various configurations, from 3/4 inch up to 10 inches in diameter, with fittings, valves and gauges in place, and miscellaneous components and hardware required for each assembly.

According to Dwight Foote, Inc. payback on the HF System calculated on labor alone is 30 months.

For free literature detailing the HF Cradle System from Dwight Foote, Inc., Circle 8 on Reader Service Card

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 16,  Sep 1990

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Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.