A metal service centre that sells metal sheet and plate materials had installed three Gorbel Free Standing Work Station Cranes several years before to serve their three laser cutting machines. Each crane was installed over top of a laser cutting machine. Workers had been manually moving the bridges and hoist trolleys with attached below the hook self-powering 6 pad vacuum sheet lifters. Workers would have to wrestle with the lifters to get the sheets onto the laser table bed. The weight and the swinging movement of the loaded system was a time consuming and physically demanding job. The company liked the three work station cranes and didn’t want to go to an overhead crane to serve all three work areas.
The Company decided to upgrade one of the work areas, the one with the newest laser, by retrofitting it with tractor drives for bridge travel and host trolley travel. Using radio controls workers can now manage the x, y and z movements of the crane system in a smooth controlled manor. Their workers are benefiting from safer, easier, faster and more efficient loading and unloading of the laser tables. They are seeing 15 – 20% time savings per sheet in contrast to the previous manual operation of the crane. They are looking to retrofit the other two work station cranes as well.