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Innovation and technology SHV Energy China, People's Republic of China, 4/20/2021

Applying an innovation mindset to operations challenges

Man unloading truck
Health and Safety is our number one core priority, and manual handling is a leading cause of incidents. Several different approaches to reducing manual handling injuries through innovation were trialled in 2020, based on close collaboration between our Health and Safety and Innovation teams.

Fail, test and learn

One particular success was Xiwei China’s bespoke cylinder lift. Xiwei implemented an iterative ‘fail, test and learn’ Innovation methodology to develop a bespoke solution that would remove the manual handling of large, heavy cylinders from delivery trucks. The solution needed to be suitable for use in tight spaces. Given typical tight access and delivery space restrictions in highly populated areas, off-the-shelf solutions were not an option.

After several design and testing rounds, a bespoke cylinder lift was approved for use. The technology is now in the process of being rolled out across the business. So far, 14 lifts have been installed.

Al Huang, Innovation Manager at Xiwei China, explains that “this solution not only protects our colleagues from getting hurt, but also protects our cylinders from damage.”

Identifying new manual handling solutions

In collaboration with the Global Procurement team at SHV Energy, other solutions to manual handling challenges are being designed and tested. For example, some of our business units use bicycles for last-mile deliveries. A folding lightweight backpack is being designed to better facilitate this and protect the health and safety of the delivery cyclist.

Elsewhere, we are identifying and addressing other opportunities to automate manual handling. For example, in our midstream operations we are working on a telescopic chain conveyor to simplify stacking cylinders.