Workstation crane customization addresses safety concernsFebruary 10, 2015 REDWIRE is news you can use from leading suppliers. Powered by FRASERS.
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A manufacturer of stainless steel sheet products planned to install a new robotic weld cell — a new manufacturing process for making large industrial batteries. The company was on the hunt for a lifting solution that addressed ergonomic and safety concerns, in addition to improving efficiency. Engineered Lifting Systems & Equipment had the answer.
Sheet products with sharp edges, weighing up to 100 pounds, needed to be picked up in vertical orientation, rotated 180 degrees, and loaded into the cell for welding operations. Previous operations required two workers to manually handle the sheets into place. The company had installed an overhead crane and hoist with a vacuum lifter, but this solution was a misapplication of lifting technology. Workers found it awkward and clumsy to maneuver, and ended up returning to manually lifting the sheets. Forklifts and other floor-based solutions were not feasible due to the congested floor space. And a standard ceiling-mounted crane was not an option because the ceiling structure was not suitable to carry the load.
Engineered Lifting Systems & Equipment engineered and installed custom cantilevered supports for a Gorbel ceiling-mounted workstation crane that enabled reaching the area without using floor space. The structure distributed the rated load onto the building floor rather than the ceiling.
Mounted to the aluminum crane was an intelligent assist device called a G-Force, coupled to a custom-built vacuum lifter. The 165-pound capacity G-Force had distinctive features of virtual limits and float modes to facilitate gentle, controlled part placement that eliminated scratching and damage to stainless steel sheet product — a common occurrence in manual handling of the product. A proprietary load sensor device connected the overhead G-Force with custom vacuum lift assist to prevent accidental mid-air release for added safety. The vacuum lift assist attached to sheet products of various sizes with manual rotation by turning a simple wheel.
With improved ergonomics through right sizing of the material handling equipment, lifting operations are now done with a single operator who lifts and rotates products into the weld cell in a safe, controlled, ergonomically correct manner. The other worker was redeployed to another task, making the process less labour intensive.