Featured Product: Lift Assists Custom
A company in the Asphalt Paving Mixture and Block industry was developing a new process for their building facing products. The stone materials to be handled were lighter and more porous than traditional stones/bricks and came in a very wide variety of sizes, shapes, thickness and surface differentials. The new process required a layer of stones be taken from a pallet and placed onto a conveyor. The layer then needed to be transported through a specialized coating/sealing process, removed and placed onto an outgoing pallet. The weight of each layer of bricks/stones averaged up to 400 lbs.
In order for the new process to be efficient, each layer needed to be coated in less than 1 minute. To achieve the required cycle time, handling the stones individually was dismissed. A system for transporting an entire layer of bricks/stones was required. Studies were completed to determine if a layer could be grabbed or squeezed by moveable pads. Unfortunately, grippers failed to lift the load safely as the variety of stone shapes, thicknesses and gaps were too substantial, causing the layer to collapse.
The company approached Engineered Lifting Systems to source a lifting solution. After assessing the company’s needs, ELS supplied a 1000 LB capacity Gorbel Work Station Bridge Crane with vacuum system suspended from an electric chain hoist. The vacuum lifting system is not affected by the uneven and porous surface of the stone blocks. It accommodates up to 1.5” height difference between stones and handles infinite configurations of stone block profiles. In fact, the vacuum lifter safely lifts any and all of the stones assembled in the layering progression. This allows the plant manager to freely schedule any product down the line as no re-tooling time is required to accommodate product variations.
Additionally, the system is very easy to use with its four lever controls, making operator training minimal. The operator positions the trolley mounted system between pallet and conveyor by pushing or pulling along the work station crane’s track. When an operator positions the vacuum system over a layer of block and activates a attach vacuum control, an indicator light turns green when safe vacuum levels have been achieved. The operator then uses the mounted pendant for up/down hoisting, and activates a release vacuum control to detach the load.