One of the most common workplace injuries reported is muscle strain due to repetitive motion. Manufacturers are seeking ergonomic material handling solutions to reduce the risk of injury for operators. In this case study, Air Power proposed a solution that successfully eliminated the risk of injury for these robotic machining cell operators.
This customer had dealt with various injuries due to the operators handling parts of various sizes/weights while loading and unloading parts onto automated infeed/outfeed conveyors on robot machining cells. Hand and finger injuries were commonly reported, as well as various back injuries. The customer required a solution that was safe and easy for operators to use. The solution needed to be located out of the way of forklift traffic and out of the work area of the cell so as not to impede on the operator’s workspace. They needed a device with the ability to grasp multiple sized parts without hassle. This solution also required a system that was low maintenance, durable, with low compressed air usage.
Air Power Solution
Air Power proposed an Ingersoll Rand column mounted with a 10ft reach and articulating arm. This system mounts out of the work cell yet reaches into the work cell to reach the work area for loading and unloading. It includes an integrated 500lb air balancer for lifting/lowering with the ability to adjust both the lifting and lowering speed to dial in the exact application. This device features low rotational inertia for ease of use and improved ergonomics for the operator, low maintenance, low CFM usage per cycle.
This Custom Air Power/Ingersoll Rand Manipulator is made of heavy steel for durability with pistol grip controls and a dummy handle for ease of use and maneuverability. It includes single-hand controls for lifting/lowering of the device & clamping/unclamping of parts, safety interlock that is load sensing to prevent parts from being dropped once elevated off the work surface, V-shaped movable jaws to allow clamping of various sized parts, padded jaws to prevent damage to machined surfaces, and requires little to no maintenance.
Contact your Account Manager Today!
Contact your Air Power Account Manager today!
Manufacturing commonly requires operators to lift and move heavy materials, which can lead to injury and fatigue. This material handling solution makes lifting a breeze.
A leading US Electronics Recycling Company.
This customer wanted to reduce the possibility of injuries from the amount of lifting their operators were exposed to. This problem was leading to higher turnover in specific areas due to common complaints of lifting parts that were upwards of 120 lbs! Thus reducing the rate of production and declining morale throughout the production floor due to manual lifting.
Air Power Solution
The Schmalz JumboFlex 50 was able to lift the customers’ desired weights of 40-120 lbs and capturing their desired throughput goal of 60-70%. This piece of equipment utilizes a vacuum suction pump that relieves the weight of the piece you’re picking up and relieving the amount of strain on the operator’s backs. Pairing the JumboFlex with Schmalz’ Column Mounted Jib Crane, we are able to reach out 10ft and have 270 degrees of full motion!
This material handling solution completely eliminated the customers’ problem. The Schmalz JumboFlex 50 eliminated the risk of injury for operators. This allows them to work faster, increases the rate of production, and reduces fatigue from constantly lifting heavy materials. The Section Manager stated, ” It’s not about the speed we’re able to go at, what this piece of equipment has done for us is, improve employee morale and reduce turnover now that they don’t have to lift heavy stuff all day long.”
In this case study, Air Power builds a custom integrated system that makes Ergonomics, Safety, and Quality simple with a team effort.
This customer is a supplier in the Truck and Bus industry.
The customer needed to outfit a new work cell assembling large metal components. First, the weight of the fully assembled sub-build components exceeded 1000 lbs. requiring a high weight capacity work table. Secondly, the height variation of the operators presented ergonomic issues from shift to shift to ensure each operator performed his necessary tasks at optimum work heights for ergonomics and safety. Thirdly, target torque for each component exceeded the safety threshold for handheld tooling, 69 ft/lbs, and 135 ft/lbs. requiring a torque management solution to be included in the overall work cell build. Lastly, the components needing to be torqued are deemed quality critical, requiring all data for the fasteners to be documented to ensure a proper build.
Air Power Solution
Air Power included the following in our solution; a 2000 lbs. capacity adjustable height pneumatic Presto lift table, a GCI torque reaction arm, and a Cleco MPro 300 controller with right angle NeoTek tool. We were able to meet the high weight by working closely with Presto directly to customize the adjustable height scissor lift table. GCI was able to build a custom torque arm to provide the needed reach and vertical travel while managing up to 240 NM of torque reaction. We were able to mount the torque arm directly to our adjustable height table, allowing the entire work station to adjust to ideal work height for any given operator. All of this wrapped around the brand new Cleco 300 controller with NeoTek right angle tool allowing for a precise fastening solution meeting and exceeding the quality critical parameters required. The Cleco 300 also allows our end-user to monitor, collect, and organize critical data to ensure they every unit out the door is a quality part.
Air Power’s solution addressed all of the problems the customer faced with this assembly process. The Presto Lift table allows the operator to adjust the height of the entire system to eliminate and bending and back strain. The GCI torque arm holds and handles the Cleco right angle NeoTek tool. This eliminates any lifting and hand or wrist injury from handling a torque tool. Lastly, the Cleco mPro 300 controller gave the customer the ability to ensure perfect quality with every assembly.
When short pick & place applications warrant the need for user-friendly, ergonomic solutions— consider the
Dotec ABL Air Balance Lifter
This Plug & Play system that can be featured with a variety of tools for lifting small rolls, boxes, crates, buckets, or bags. The options available are a pallet box and quick change tool for different applications. This system can be used to handle a variety of substrates. Cans, Kegs, and Sacks are a few of the applications that can benefit from the advanced technology that the Dotec Air Balance Lifter can bring to your manufacturing operation. Available with floor mount setups, as well as mobile platforms.
-Weight max: 50 kg (110 lbs)
-Vertical Travel: 1600 mm (5.25 ft)
-Horizontal Travel: 2100 mm (7 ft)
-Rotate: 360 degrees (4200 mm radius)
Source: Why Dotec
Manufacturing facilities in today’s competitive market strive to reduce the ergonomic impact of their operators. In this case study, we will discuss the importance of recognizing every company’s desire to improve ergonomics and reduce injuries.
A global manufacturer, producing products for the heavy truck and bus industry.
Operators were manually lifting 40-150lb truck hubs and rotors to palletize for their shipment to their end-users. The operators were refusing to use their current lifting method as it was slow and delayed their production during the days shift resulting in reduced throughput per operator per shift.
Air Power’s Solution
We proposed they moved to a single large floor supported structure with multiple bridges, air balancers, and welded end effectors. This allowed multiple operators to use a single structure with each having their own ”bay” containing a bridge, balancer, end effector combo. This gave everyone the room they needed to load pallets as well as the lifting method that allowed the ergonomic impact to be reduced while still allowing the productivity of the manual lifting application. The air balancers’ speed and the pendant control allowed the operators to move at the speed they deemed fit for each application and individual operator preference.
Currently, we have installed 5 large lifts in this facility with more now being planned at their sister facilities, leading to many overall ergonomic improvements.
Learn More about Ingersoll Rand
Levitate Technologies is a small tech start-up that began with the goal of building human augmentation to help surgeons and medical professionals. Today, Levitate has successfully designed the AIRFRAME. It is a wearable, lightweight technology engineered to improve upper extremity musculoskeletal health in professionals and skilled trade workers who engage in repetitive arm motion and/or static elevation of the arms. This one-of-a-kind technology has been creating a buzz in the manufacturing industry since it hit the market. Check out these articles about the Levitate AIRFRAME technology!
The AIRFRAME exoskeleton makes light of hard work
The Levitate AIRFRAME transfers the weight of the arms from the shoulders, neck and upper back to the outside of the hips, evenly distributing energy to reduce stress. It slips easily on and off and moves seamlessly with the wearer without intruding into the workspace or limiting motion or dexterity. The AIRFRAME’s mechanical support system progressively activates as the arm is lowered, resulting in just the right level of support – at just the right time. It’s personalized to fit each wearer, so they can use their arms as normal while enjoying reduced fatigue and comfort they never thought possible.
Learn more about Levitate Technologies at Air Power. We offer on-site, live demonstrations to show you the difference with the Levitate AIRFRAME!
See Also: Levitate Anti-Fatigue Exoskeleton
The P3 All-Around Pneumatic Level Loader improves the efficiency of manual pallet loading and unloading jobs by eliminating bending, stretching, and walking around the pallet while carrying heavy loads.
Presto Lifts P3 All Around Load Levelers
Load and unload pallets without stooping, stretching, or walking. The P3-All Around Pneumatic Load Leveler automatically maintains pallets at a constant level and comfortable working height as layers of boxes are added or removed.
Leveling is accomplished by a heavy-duty, reinforced rubber airbag that can handle loads up to 4500 lbs. After airbag charging with shop air is complete, the P3 All Around can be disconnected and moved to any location in the plant. Because the P3 is pneumatic, it can accommodate loads that vary substantially in weight (from 400 – 4500 lbs.) so one unit is versatile enough to work in several areas.
A turntable top with easy turning anti-friction bearings allow users to spin loads so they are always working from the near side without having to walk around the unit.