Fletcher Aluminium begins Segway PT trial for factory maintenance crew

Fletcher Aluminium‘s extrusion plant in Auckland has an on-site team of engineers ready to respond to equipment failures and breakdowns. When a big machine stops working unexpectedly it can cost tens of thousands of dollar per hour in lost production, so there is enormous value in being able to respond rapidly.

Today the team began a trial using a Segway Personal Transporter (PT) to enable an engineer with a heavy set of tools to reach all corners of the site much faster than walking (and very much faster than pushing a tool trolley). This large site located in the industrial area of Mt Wellington includes many factory buildings, and the Segway PT is small enough to fit down amongst the heavy machinery and aluminium stock to be found within.

Dave at Fletcher Aluminium, Auckland

Dave responding to a call-out at Fletcher Aluminium’s factory in Auckland, New Zealand

The Segway PT is available in two models: the i2 SE that has a narrow wheelbase, and the wider x2 SE available with either ATV or Turf tyres. Today, the team experimented with both i2 and x2 configurations to determine the best fit for their environment. So far, the Turf tyres look to be the best choice, offering plenty of grip and a comfortable ride. The majority of surfaces that the engineers travel across include tar seal (bitumen) and concrete (both painted and natural), as well as some areas of grass that can become muddy in winter. The nature of this worksite means there can be scraps of sharp metal on the ground, so the deeply treaded x2 tyre options provide excellent resistance to puncturing.

The Segway PT is also available as i2 SE Patroller and x2 SE Patroller models popular with police, security and in other public safety deployments. The Patroller models includes reflective shields and flashing LED lights to compliment the built-in running lights found on all SE models (white at the front, red at the rear).

For a safety-focused worksite like Fletcher Aluminium, the Patroller with yellow reflective shields and amber-white lighting provides the high visibility required by workplace safety obligations. This is a busy site with forklifts, trucks and other devices moving inside and between buildings. The Patroller also features a large, rider-facing bag for extra cargo capacity.

Tool bag on the Segway PT's Universal Cargo Plate accessory.

Tool bag on the Segway PT’s Universal Cargo Plate accessory.

Dave, one of the engineers, normally walks to jobs carrying a surprisingly heavy “grab bag” of tools. Completing a repair job can involve multiple trips back to the workshop to collect spares or to work on parts. Dave first test rode the Segway PT carrying his bag, and then fitted the Cargo Frame and Universal Cargo Plate combination onto which he could rest his tool bag while riding (or attach it with a bungie cord). Next, the engineering team will consider building a custom carry tray for Dave’s bag, and the tool boxes used by other engineers. Already off to a successful start, the trial continues this week.

An excellent example of a pair of custom tool-box carriers can be found on the Segway PT used by the Locksmith at Canterbury University.

Locksmith Ian Steel and his customised Segway i180 at University of Canterbury

Locksmith Ian Steel and his customised Segway i180 at University of Canterbury

Another example of a Segway PT being used in a maintenance support role is at Forrest Hill School.

Segway offers a range of standard cargo carrying options for Segway i2 SE and x2 SE models, including front cases, waterproof side cases, and open parts bins. In addition to safety lighting 5v power ports, accessories include mounts for a tablet or smartphone holder.

Segway i2 SE Logistics configurations

Segway i2 SE Logistics configurations

About Fletcher Aluminium:

Fletcher Aluminium designs, develops and manufactures premium aluminium extrusions for an extensive range of industries; whether it is windows and doors, commercial systems or specialist aluminium extrusion for private supply. The company’s investment in world-class technology and design has resulted in many patents and copyrights, and has allowed the company to leverage its success in its New Zealand home base into success in diverse international locations.

Fletcher Aluminium is one of the businesses that form the Fletcher Building Group, a New Zealand and Australian based building material manufacturer and distributor with operations in concrete, steel, fibreglass insulation, aluminium extrusion, roofing, access flooring systems, sinkware, laminates and panels and is involved in residential and commercial construction.

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