Workstation bridge crane handles big jobs for small machine shop

Fuller Machine Shop’s overhead handling solution enhanced worker safety and ergonomics.

By ·

The Fuller Machine Shop, located in Newport, N.Y., tools metal parts for customers in a number of industries including aerospace, computer, solar and alternative energy. 

The company has been independently owned and operated by Rodney Fuller for the past 15 years. As a skilled machinist and businessman, Fuller was growing the business and expanding his customer base. But as that customer base grew and the parts he was running through his lathes and milling machines were becoming larger and more diverse, Fuller had a heavy problem on his hands. 

“A lot of the parts were small, maybe 65 pounds, but now we’re getting parts that are 12-inches in diameter and weight about 225 pounds,” says Fuller.

The challenge was how to handle the larger parts and safely and efficiently load them into the lathe and milling machines. Fuller had been using an engine hoist, but it would take three workers to maneuver the load. 

So Fuller invested in a ceiling-mounted, workstation bridge crane with a 500-pound lifting capacity (Gorbel, gorbel.com). The overhead system features an enclosed track that allows the crane to move with very minimal manual effort.

“The system has exceeded my expectations,” says Fuller. “What used to take three people 45 minutes is now a one person job that only takes a minute or two. Our productivity has improved significantly.”

The bridge crane has also solved the problem of maneuvering the chucks that hold the metal in place while it’s being processed. Moving the chucks, which weigh about 80 pounds each, had required the workers to simultaneously lift and reach out about 18 inches. The bridge crane makes maneuvering easy, which is crucial because Fuller’s is a job shop, meaning everyday is a different job with a different set up.

The overhead bridge crane has made handling easier, improved productivity and safeguarded the operation. 


About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Peek Inside Trinchero’s New Automated Warehouse
When Trinchero Family Estates, one of the world's top wineries, consolidated its bottling and distribution with production, they knew they needed to ramp up speed and throughput. Partnering with Swisslog helped them achieve that goal—and more.
Download Today!
From the March 2017 Modern Materials Handling Online Issue
If the early attendee forecast is any indication, you may have already landed in Chicago for ProMat 2017 (April 3-6), the materials handling industry’s leading trade show and educational conference, sponsored by MHI.
Lawson Products: Automation that fits
Lawson’s multi-purpose distribution center
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Productivity Achievement Awards
Modern’s annual Productivity Achievement Awards honor companies that have made exceptional...
Johnson & Johnson: A vision for automation
J&J Vision Care brings together a variety of automated technologies, including an innovative...

Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...
System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...