MHI Solutions


Workstation Crane Systems

Items often need to be moved within a factory or warehouse. When workers lift and carry them manually the work is hard and subjects workers to serious risk of injury. If the items are heavy, these tasks can take multiple workers.

Now there is a faster, safer way to do this work by using workstation crane systems, also known as light or enclosed track crane systems. These systems consist of overhead metal tracks combined with lift assists, cranes and vacuum lifting devices. Depending on the system’s design, they can lift weights up to almost two tons but are also popular for lifting as little as 20 pounds.

Some typical applications

At A.L. Smith Glass Company in Ijamsville, MD, a Gorbel® workstation bridge crane system with a vacuum lifter is used for lifting and repositioning large 500 pound sheets of glass into an edging machine. Depending on the edged glass order volume, the crane is often in constant use for multiple shifts each day. Before the company had this crane, panes were moved by two strong men working very slowly. Now it takes only one person to load heavier and larger pieces of glass into the machine faster and in a much safer manner, allowing the company to expand its product offerings. “From an ergonomic viewpoint, the Gorbel® cranes have a productivity ratio of 125:1, which means these workers are typically exerting three to five pounds of force to move and place the 500 pound loads,” noted David Butwid, vice president of sales and marketing at MHI member Gorbel. This has provided more flexibility in the size, strength and gender of the worker available to lift and move loads while significantly reducing the risk of worker injury.

By Jean Feingold

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According to the recently released 2018 MHI Annual Industry Report, “Overcoming Barriers to NextGen Supply Chain Adoption,” eight out of ten survey respondents believe these supply chains will be the predominant model within just five years. However, the report found that the adoption of some of these technologies was slower than originally reported when MHI started the annual report in 2014. The report cites three top barriers to adoption of these technologies: 1. Making the business case for NextGen supply chain investments. 2. Tackling the supply chain skills gap and workforce shortage. 3. Building trust and security in digital, always-on supply chains. This issue of MHI Solutions focuses on the adoption of these digital solutions, from best practices in robotics and artificial intelligence to blockchain and innovations in last mile delivery.

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