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    Expert machinery movers – everything you need to know about IES’ services

    IES has been moving machinery since 1991, handling everything from single equipment moves to the relocation of production lines and factories.

    Every move is different, but there is a procedure that underpins our activities as machinery movers. We’ve established an in-depth process to make sure machine moves are carried out safely and efficiently. 

    Equipment move site survey  

    No machinery movement can be described as ‘fully project managed’ unless a site survey is conducted. A site survey is seen as the foundation of a machine relocation plan. Site surveys involve important health and safety elements including risk assessments, and will form the basis of method statements which are an important part of the machinery movement process.

    The key parts of a site survey for machine relocation are:

    • The scope of the work - which is a concise description of what the work involves.
    • Customer responsibilities - defining which tasks will be handled by you, the customer, and which will fall under the remit of machinery moving companies.
    • Site information - including important information on site suitability and whether additional consideration is needed for decommissioning and recommissioning.
    • Equipment location - to help with planning the move.
    • Plant requirements – including which equipment and machinery is required to transport the machinery safely.
    • Machine details – a range of information about the machine itself; from basics such as dimensions and weight, to characteristics that may be relevant for decommissioning or recommissioning.

    Machine decommissioning 

    Decommissioning refers to the entire process of withdrawing a machine from service, and readying it for removal. This can include, but is not exclusive to; shutdown, decontamination, disassembling the machine, itemising the various parts, and securing the parts for transport.

    How a machine is decommissioned can depend on a myriad of factors, such as the type of machine and the distance of the relocation (moving within the same site, to a nearby site, to another part of the country, or being shipped overseas). Decommissioning is another part of machinery movement in which planning makes perfect. Every stage of the decommissioning process – from when the machine is shut down to the order in which it is disassembled and which parts it will be disassembled into – will be planned. Nothing should be left to chance.


    Decontamination before machine removals

    Decontamination is a vital element of many machine moves. The importance of decontamination can vary from absolutely critical (e.g. decontamination of machinery in the semiconductor sector) to non-essential (e.g. an old print press which is being taken out for scrapping).

    Equipment decontamination in the semiconductor industry focuses on the removal of toxic chemical residue from all areas of the machine. In ion implanters, residue can include dangerous chemicals such as boron, phosphorus and arsenic. Before the start of machinery removals, all of these toxins will be listed for review and risk assessment. A decontamination team wearing hazmat suits and breathing apparatus purges any remaining gases and the stripping process can then begin, with machine chambers being cleaned and deionised by hand.

    The decontamination process concludes with swab testing around the machine, before samples are sent for lab analysis to ensure all toxin residue has been removed.

    Machine disassembly and dismantling

    The way and the order in which a machine is taken apart will depend on the type of machine, as well as the objectives of the relocation.

    IES team

    One of the key principles of disassembling a machine that is being transported is to ensure that there are no moving parts during the journey. This can be done via a number of methods – from bespoke internal lockdown brackets and ship kits to individually wrapping it and securing inside packing crates. But while a machine must be disassembled enough to be secure for transportation, another important principle is that the less a machine is disassembled, the easier it is to reassemble at its destination. For this reason, any unnecessary dismantling of parts should be avoided.

    Move out and rigging of machinery

    The lifting and move out of machinery, also known as rigging, is another critical part of machine movement. As in the rest of the machine or tool removal process, safety is paramount at the rigging stage, particularly where sensitive pieces of machinery are concerned. Machine rigging must be done correctly, by experienced machinery movers, in order to avoid any damage to equipment and/or health and safety risks.

    Whatever it takes – from forklifts to cranes, machine skates, crating, skids and other safety measures - the professional machinery mover will have everything needed to efficiently and safely move machines from their starting position to a packing area or vehicles for transportation. Naturally, this stage of the relocation will be planned meticulously, using site surveys and will be covered in the RAMS (risk assessment and method statement). 

    Packing for machine relocation

    In many cases, bespoke packaging is the best packing solution for a machine or tool move – whether that is down the road or across the globe. Packaging which is designed uniquely for your items can ensure that goods are completely secure during transit. 

    Your made-to-order packaging should be robust enough to give machines sufficient protection for their journey. At IES, we recommend BS1133-standard crates from IPSM15-rated wood, with the equipment inside is environmentally sealed to avoid corrosion during shipping. After gathering all the necessary information on the machine – such as dimensions and characteristics – we will choose a crate base according to its size, weight and sensitivity. Depending on the machine relocation plan, it might make sense to pack at your own site, or a site operated by the export packing provider themselves. The equipment inside the crate is typically covered in stretch and bubble wrap, and can be vacuum-sealed for extra protection on long sea journeys.

    • Our efficient export packing service allowed Pirate Studios to fast-track their European expansion. Read the full case study

    Shipping for machine relocation 

    Now to the shipping itself. The choice between road, sea, and air freight should be considered carefully, weighing up the factors of cost and time. The best machine relocation providers will offer you genuine flexibility when it comes to shipping, presenting you with a range of different options and helping you to devise a plan which is agreeable with your budget and timeline.

    It should be noted that machine shipping by road or sea typically demands fewer security considerations than cargo for air travel. Good machine removal services will be able to obtain all the security clearances necessary for shipping. 


    Machine movement: Unpacking and move-in 

    The unloading, unpacking and move-in of your shipment should be built into the relocation plan.  Each piece of equipment should be covered, including the precise order in which each item is moved, where and how it will be moved, and the location for unpacking.

    As with the collection of your items, access is a huge consideration when it comes to unpacking and move-in. It is important that the vehicles delivering your shipping crates – which could include a forklift or tail lift - have suitable access.

    This is another stage of the machine movement process at which your site survey will come into play. A properly conducted survey of the destination site should pick up on anything which could impact the unpacking or move-in. It could be something like a moderate downward gradient of a certain surface – an experienced machine mover will be able to identify any characteristic which could change the ground handling plan.



    Machinery movers for technical industries 

    Semiconductor ion implanters 

    IES offer experienced, flexible machinery movement services for the semiconductor industry, including turnkey relocation and decontamination. 

    IES - Sectors - Semiconductor

    Find out more about our full support for semiconductor ion implanters

    Pharmaceutical plant and equipment installation 

    Machinery moves for pharmaceutical companies require dealing with high value, precision plans. Complex moves need to be made to tight deadlines, such as 

    Find out more about our pharmaceutical plan and equipment relocation services.

    Print equipment removals 

    IES has a specialist division working exclusively with printing presses, backed by a team of highly qualified and experienced engineers. 

    It was thanks to this team that we were able to carry out the methodical and careful relocation of a print press for CPI books. 

    Find out more about our print equipment removals

    Manufacturing plant and equipment installation 

    IES has extensive experience in machinery movement for manufacturing plant relocation and equipment installation, especially in aircraft, automotive, food and pharmaceutical industries. Clients include Airbus, Cadbury, GE, Rolls Royce and SPX APV. 

    Find out how we helped APX with a three-month European manufacturing relocation

    High technology companies 

    Advanced technology machinery moves require specific expertise to protect high value assets while minimising lost production time. 

    Find out how we handled the relocation of a high technology production line from Jarfalla in Sweden to a clean room in Cambridge, England.



    Assembly and alignment for machine movement

    Efficient re-assembly of your machine at the destination site is rooted in disassembly. Has every effort been made to retain machine modules in their original state as much as possible? Have all the disassembled parts been labelled properly and organised in a way that makes assembly straightforward? In essence, the more methodical and organised the disassembly was, the easier it is to put the machine back together.

    In many cases, a machine relocation could be part of a production line or plant move. This could involve a layout which is different to that of the original site and, in some scenarios, that could change the way in which a machine is bolted up and aligned. Your original site survey should have determined how assembly could be affected by a new layout at the destination site.

    Alignment is essential to machine re-assembly. In the semiconductor industry, isaligned shafts or belts in rotating equipment, for example, could lead to damage and downtime. Couplings and seals can also be a victim of misalignment, which can cause lubrication issues. In many cases, laser-guided alignment tools can be the best solution for assembly.

    Facilities hook-up

    It must be confirmed that all facilities – from electrical to compressed air and hydraulic – required for the machine are available prior to the move and installation. During the planning stage, it is important that all hook-ups at the destination site - including supply lines and building connections - are evaluated to ensure that they are available in the correct positions for the incoming machine, and that any necessary tradespersons are booked. In many cases, this part of the project will fall under the remit of the site manager, as confirmed in the responsibilities which are agreed between the machinery movement provider and customer beforehand.

    Floor preparation is an essential part of this process. Vibration minimising machine base platforms are required in any situation where highly sensitive machinery or equipment may be adversely affected by vibrations from the surrounding environment. They can also be needed where the weight of the equipment causes concern over the floor’s ability to support it.

    Start-up and commissioning for machine relocation

    As with the shutdown of a machine, the start-up stage requires coordination between the machine relocation provider and the site manager, as well as utility installers in some cases. As they are likely to be most familiar with both the machine and the site, the site manager should understand best when each element of the machine should be switched on, and in which order.

    Certain parts of the machine may be required to be switched on at different times during the reassembly process, to position the machine correctly. Site managers must have significant input into the planning for start-up. The machine information database which is gathered during planning should include utility points in relation to the destination site for reassembly.

    The commissioning of a machine involves the completion of a checklist to ensure both the safety and functionality of the reinstalled system. Depending on the machine, this can include the validation of the performance of elements such as electrical communication, panel energisation, loops, piping, HVAC, pumping and lighting.

    CE/UKCA marking and PUWER assessments 

    When a machine is moved to a new facility, or if it is being installed for the first time, it might require testing to ensure it is CE compliant at its new site. This could include CE marking assessments to help meet the requirements of European Commission legislation such as the Machinery Directive, the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive, and the Low Voltage Directive (LVD). For this reason, it can be advantageous – in terms of both cost and convenience - to choose a machine movement provider with European product directive experience. For machines being installed in the UK, UKCA marking is the CE marking equivalent.

    If you operate machinery in the UK, you will need to comply with PUWER (the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998). As with CE marking, PUWER assessments can be undertaken after a machine is moved to a new location, in order to ensure that the machinery, any related equipment and the surrounding working environment are safe.

    Production testing 

    As the various interfaces are verified, power is gradually brought up to operating levels. The production testing phase, which can be termed by some providers as a customer acceptance test, often marks the final stage of the machine movement process.

    Production testing for performance verification will typically be a collaboration between the site manager or operator of the machine and the machine relocation provider. A machine movement contract could include the stipulation of a ‘trial period’ after fine tuning, which would state that the plant process should operate uninterrupted over an agreed time, such as a day, week or month. After the customer acceptance test, or the trial period, a final acceptance certificate can be issued from the machine owner to the relocation provider, confirming that the machine is operating satisfactorily following the move.

    We’ve got your machine move covered. IES provides a genuine end-to-end machine relocation service – call us today on +44 (0)117 456 2188 or use the contact form.