How AL Systems™ Are Lifting CAGC Ergonomic Safety & Productivity
Capitol Aluminum & Glass Corporation is known for manufacturing and distributing a wide range of energy efficient aluminum window, entrance, storefront, and curtain wall systems for architectural and school markets. The company has about 30 employees, about 18 of them being highly skilled laborers handling specialized production equipment for cutting, machining, and assembling aluminum extrusions with glass. During component assembly, heavy manual lifting was routine. Using hand-held vacuum suction cups, CAGC skilled laborers routinely picked up heavy glass units, moving them from station to station. When these window units or insulated glass components became too heavy for one laborer, CAGC simply added another laborer. The company needed a better solution.
CAGC laborers typically pick up glass components from a pallet and then move them, dropping them into framing workstations. From there, these component assemblies are typically moved to other workstations where the assemblies might be joined with other units. With each production step, components get heavier and more laborers are required.
With the help of Handling Concepts, a local distributor and EMH, Capitol Aluminum & Glass found a better ergonomic solution, the EMH AL Systems™ workstation crane. Instead of laborers picking up and then moving heavy glass and aluminum components by hand using just vacuum suction cups, AL Systems workstation cranes provided a cost-effective labor saving solution that enables workers to easily pick up and move heavy components between workstations.
Making the AL System Crane work with CAGC’s vacuum cup system was not a problem. AL System Cranes can efficiently accommodate a wide variety of lifters and handling devices. With lightweight aluminum track profiles, they are also easily configured to suit almost any application need. Their anodized aluminum extrusions and enclosed rails maximize strength, provide durability and add to their aesthetics.
Articulated anti-kick up wheels offer other advantages. AL System Cranes are articulating, meaning that they are free moving and do not require ovement at right angles. This feature also provides smooth operation and a low starting force even when the load is at the end of the bridge. In addition, the AL-System Crane’s anti-kick up nylon wheels deliver smooth and safe movement of the trolley inside the enclosed rail.
Another important advantage is an exclusive EMH T-slot design for splicing two pieces of rail together. With the EMH T-slot design, installation with a wide variety of integrating equipment, such as lifters and end-effectors, chain hoists or smart lifters, is easier. The EMH T-slot splice design also eliminates bumps when a load is moved over track splices.
The weight of even large CAGC components has not proven to be a problem. The aluminum rail AL System easily lifts loads up to 2,200 lbs. The workstation crane is also easily assembled and positioned, and it is mobile, meaning that it can be easily disassembled and reassembled should priorities or production cell requirements change at CAGC. The AL System also provided flexibility. Capitol Aluminum & Glass initially had its system designed with a 40-foot aluminum rail, but prior to installation found that by simply extending the aluminum runway rail by another 20 feet, they could cover multiple workstations with the same crane. Once the order was placed, there were only several weeks of lead-time. Handling Concepts then customized workstation crane set-up and installation to CAGC’s exact requirements. With only 1-1/2 days of installation required, production was barely interrupted.
Ergonomic Safety. Additional Productivity
At the same time Capitol Aluminum & Glass was investigating AL Systems, a skilled laborer developed a major shoulder injury from heavy lifting, which resulted in major surgery and an expensive workman’s compensation claim. Even more important, a valuable laborer was lost for quite some time. To help prevent future injuries, CAGC applied for the Ohio BWC Safety Intervention Grant, which helped fund the system.
According to a company spokesman, “Along with making our workplace safer, our highly skilled laborers are telling us that that they are no longer exhausted at the end of the day, even on days when overtime is required.” It’s also making them a lot more productive. One skilled laborer can now accomplish the same tasks that it used to require several laborers. While Capitol Aluminum & Glass has not conducted detailed studies yet, company spokesmen are fairly certain that this might translate into additional cost savings. Instead of having several laborers dedicated to assembling one window component, the second laborer can now be assigned to another task or on another project.
Interesting New EMH Application
Degelman Industries is in the business of manufacturing and servicing industrial and farm equipment.
Prior to calling on its local EMH distributor, Degelman handled all heavy lifting by forklift, which had its limitations. Acculift, an EMH distributor, had a better idea and provided a custom crane solution. By integrating a free standing modular EMH NOMAD Crane that also maximizes lifting height, Acculift helped Degelman improve the building’s customer service capability.
To view a short video of this case history, click the Play button on the video below.