The Problem: A manufacturer of stainless steel sheet products planned to install a new robotic weld cell, part a new manufacturing process, for making large industrial batteries. Sheet products weighing up to 100 LB, needed to be picked up in vertical orientation, rotated 180°, then loaded into the cell for welding operations. Operations required 2 workers to manually handle the sheets into place. A lifting solution needed to be found to address ergonomic and safety concerns in addition to improve efficiency.
The company had installed an overhead crane and hoist with a vacuum lifter but this solution was a misapplication of lifting technology. Workers found this solution difficult to maneuver and had returned to manual lifting of sheets. Forklifts and other floor-based solutions were not implemented due to the congested floor space. A standard ceiling mounted crane was also not implemented because ceiling structure was not suitable to carry the load.
The Solution: Engineered Lifting Systems & Equipment Inc. (ELS) engineered and installed custom cantilevered supports for a Gorbel Ceiling Mounted Work Station Crane which enables reaching the required 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 G-Force coupled to a custom built Vacuum Lift Assist. The 165 LB capacity G-Force has distinctive features of virtual limits and float modes to facilitate gentle, controlled part placement. These features eliminate scratching and damage to the product. Also, a proprietary load sensor device connected the overhead G-Force with custom vacuum lift assist prevents accidental mid-air release for added safety. This Vacuum Lift Assist attaches to products of various sizes and is manually rotated by turning a simple wheel.
This effective custom lifting equipment is now providing the right solution. 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.