Workstation cranes lighten the load
February 01, 2010 - MMH Editorial
In the last stage of manufacturing, workers perform the final welds then lift the trays onto a cart to be prepared for shipping. The best way to lift the trays is from both ends at one time. The problem is that the trays are heavy, long and difficult for one person to lift.
“They are awkward to pick up,” says Ken Conrad, maintenance coordinator. “The way you have to bend and lift the trays puts a lot of strain on your back. If the same person did that job all day they'd be hurting by the end of the shift.”
The problem was evident and productivity was decreasing. Additionally, five lost-time injuries each year were attributed to this task. So, Thomas & Betts installed a freestanding workstation crane (Gorbel, 800-821-0086, http://www.gorbel.com)) to safely lift and transport the trays.
The crane system measures 20 x 30 x 17 feet tall and has two aluminum bridges, each with a 165-pound capacity. The crane features remote mounted pendant handles attached to the master unit that controls the movement of two handles simultaneously. The bridges move easily and independently along the runways so that one worker can lift even the longest, heaviest trays from both ends at once while guiding it to the cart.
“Reducing product damage was important, but it was a secondary compared to the safety of the people handling the products,” says Conrad. Since installing the freestanding crane system, productivity is consistently high and workers are no longer at risk of injury.