MEPCA finds out how Bradshaw Electric Vehicles helps its customers meet a wide range of materials handling challenges with its ability to develop bespoke electric vehicle solutions.
Bradshaw Electric Vehicles has been manufacturing tow tractors and load carriers for over 40 years and serving manufacturers, warehouses and logistic operations, to name a few. The Bradshaw range includes over 30 vehicles, and with various body and cab permeations, the model variations available are huge. There are times when there isn’t a vehicle on the market that can quite manage the job and at Bradshaw EV, prides itself on specifying the right vehicle for the right job, ensuring the vehicles can perform efficiently day in and day out, year in and year out. That is where its specialist engineering department comes in. Utilising a vast array of modern-day technology and modelling capabilities, the division can design, manufacture and deliver bespoke projects to customers’ precise specifications.
The AV6 PRM (passenger of reduced mobility) vehicle was born out of the Specialist Projects Division 20 years ago when Heathrow required a specialist vehicle to transport passengers around Terminal 5. The vehicle needed to fulfil numerous safety requirements, narrow dimensions and low-loading contact points whilst transporting up to six people in comfort. Twenty years on, the AV6 has become part of Bradshaw’s standard range with operations in over 90% of the major UK airports.
A popular application for tow tractors is pulling large assembly components in production. The PT2000 articulated trailer mover, initially a special build, tows lorry bodies along the production line and has also become a popular model in the standard range.
When a construction, quarry and plant vehicle manufacturer needed a specialist tow tractor to tow their vehicles during production, Bradshaw could assist, overcoming a range of obstacles. Pulling large, heavy-duty rigid hauliers required a 25-tonne tow tractor, and as part of the assembly process, the vehicles had to be towed over a floor pit. To clear the pit safely, the wheel track had to be over two metres wide. In addition, the two-person operation required a standing platform for hop-on and hop-off access.
A special 12-tonne side sit was built for a consumer goods company to empty the contents into a pit; the operation required unobstructed visibility to the rear and clear visibility whilst driving. To provide this solution, a side-sit tow tractor was developed for optimal operational efficiency.
Working in tunnels comes with a different set of demands, as combustible engines are not suited to tunnel environments, and there’s also the difficulty of manoeuvrability. The Tunnel Truck is the ideal vehicle for performing a range of operations like routine inspections, maintenance, material transport, evacuations and emergency response in road and rail tunnels. The specially built Tunnel Truck produces no fumes or gasses, making it safe to operate in a tunnel environment. What makes tunnel maintenance difficult is the lack of space and manoeuvrability, as it is unsafe to travel miles in reverse. The specially built Tunnel Truck features dual steering at each end of the vehicle to allow for entry into, and exit from, tunnels without turning or reversing.
Bradshaw has also developed special vehicles to run on rails; the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Switzerland had two eight-tonne tow tractors built to run on rails. To provide enhanced traction and braking, a four-wheel-drive system was implemented.
Whilst most Bradshaw vehicles are used on land, the Special Product Division has also designed and built pedestrian-controlled units to operate on oil rigs. The pedestrian-controlled tractor is fixed to rails and meets with ships docking at oil rigs to help unload supplies and transport goods across the rig. Being a high-risk application, the specialist vehicle has to be category one explosion-proof and rated to IP68 vacuum seal and tested against continuous airflow and temperature fluctuation.