A metal fabrication company that manufactures agricultural equipment bought an existing building to expand their production area. The company needed to set up three laser cutting machine work cells to cut profiles from sheet materials. ELS was contacted to help with finding the best crane solution for sheet handling to load & unload the cutting tables.
Multiple overhead crane options were explored. First, Gorbel free standing work station cranes that would straddle each machine were looked at. This option was not good because of column locations and issues with work flow.
Ceiling mounted cranes were considered because they would free up floor space. Analysis on the building structure proved it to be inadequate as it was not structurally adequate to sustain the weight of both crane and below the hook loads. Estimates to reinforcing the building were too costly and beyond the company’s budget.
Work Station Cranes with supported cantilevered bridges were also investigated but a review of this crane design identified issues with capacity and bridge width, making this solution not a viable option.
Gorbel FS300 Jib Cranes were another lifting solution that was evaluated. Functionally, this type of crane would provide radial overhead lifting coverage for loading and unloading the cutting tables. The complicating factor that disqualified it a solution came from issues with the floor. FS300 Jib Cranes require foundations and excavation would interfere with the in-floor heating wires. It was costly and time consuming to locate and relocated the wire runs.
The exploration journey determined the most economical way to load and unload the two laser tables was to install a column mounted Tie Rod style Jib Crane for each work area. The jibs were mounted onto custom columns tied back to building structure and braced to the roof trusses. Reinforcements were made to the building to add additional stability.