When a plastic moulding company decided to extend its production facility, it required an ergonomic material handling solution to allow production changes and maintenance on their latest investment of new injection moulding equipment.
The basic requirement was to determine a light crane lifting solution to provide coverage above the production equipment.
Delving into the details of the application, three challenges came to light: integration, flexibility and time frame. Firstly, the existing roof beams were not compatible with the positioning of the injection moulding equipment – which meant that the crane system could not be suspended from the roof (a typical method for suspending KBK Systems) and had to be mounted on a free-standing structure instead.
The solution identified by MHE- Demag’s engineering team was a set of lamp-posts that allow the KBK system to be free-standing. Additionally the posts were designed in a way that allow seamless expansions of the light crane system, once the production line is – once again – in need for flexibility.
MHE-Demag’s managing director, Vince DiCostanzo told Manufacturers’ Monthly that the team worked closely with the client to identify the most suitable configuration to not only cover all of the client’s current lifting requirements, but also provide room for future expansions.
“The project was turned around in just two weeks from confirmation of technical requirements to commissioning. While the initial proposal was to suspend the cranes from the existing roof beams, we changed the design to suit the changes in the client’s machinery layout, process flow requirements whilst still respecting the building constraints,” DiCostanzo said.
“Another challenge was finding a way of positioning the posts so that it works for the client and did not interfere with their operations,” he explained.
The final configuration is a two-bridge system each 800 kg in capacity, five meters wide and 26.5 meters long, featuring eight lamp-posts and four-tee posts. The use of the tee shaped posts enables the client to extend the system for future expansion purposes. MHE- Demag specified and configured the KBK Systems and designed and manufactured all of the supporting posts in-house.
Apart from being a highly flexible solution, DiCostanzo said energy efficiency is another strength of the KBK light crane system.
“With unique design of the KBK crane system, operators can easily move the crane side to side, forward and backward manually and with very little effort. This makes the system highly efficient, since electrical power is only needed for the lifting operation.” he said.
Moreover, DiCostanzo said, the crane system is “virtually maintenance-free.”
“Apart from the routine inspections to lubricate and to check for wear or damage there is very little maintenance required for these units for up to 10 years,” DiCostanzo said.
MHE-Demag also prides itself of offering crane systems that have a long life-span. MHE-Demag’s KBK light cranes have been present in the Australian market for over 50 years, serving multiple industrial sectors. “Some of our customers have KBK light crane systems which have been successfully operational for 30 plus years,” DiCostanzo said.
The design process
To arrive at a tailor-made solution, DiCostanzo said MHE- Demag’s engineering team go through an iterative process with the client to identify their all their requirements.
“The process usually begins with our engineers visiting and analysing the site together with the client to understand their materials handling challenges and the requirements of their business. During this stage, we gather key information about the product or process flow and determine the fine detail of load movement including pick and place locations, trajectory and orientation of the load, obstructions and personnel interaction along with the usual dimensions and weight spectrum. Then we produce a preliminary design around those requirements and meet with the customer again” he explained.
“Following feedback from the client, we fine-tune it, to demonstrate and ensure the design meets all their expectations. We often see a process of going back and forth several times until all details are agreed on. It is through this process that our customers come to understand how customisable our KBK solutions are and how committed MHE-Demag is in providing the best solution for their business. Once the design is finalised, we move on to the manufacturing and installation phase,” DiCostanzo said.
“Quite often the first KBK system is not the last. Once the customer experiences the efficiency and ease of operation, they wonder how they ever did without it and in many cases look to extend, expand, duplicate or find more applications for KBK.”