St. Louis, Missouri — A lift-assist device designed by Cynergy Ergonomics has proven to reduce back strain and the workers comp claims that accompany them for a manufacturer of heavy duty automotive and truck batteries.
The purpose-designed lifter allows a single operator to lift 150-pound lead battery plates, re-orient them vertically, and move them to an adjacent workstation for further processing. Prior to installation of the tooling, integrated with a Gorbel G-Force servo drive/PLC controlled lifter, these operations were manually accomplished, and shoulder and back aches and strains, and fatigue were common, as were the accompanying workers comp claims and lost-time incidents.
After installation of the ergonomic lifting device, however, claims have stopped and lost-time incidents have been eliminated. In addition to handling production parts, these ergonomic lifters are ideal for work-in-process components, finished goods, pack-out areas, raw materials stock, or items that are heavy, bulky or cumbersome to move manually.
Besides providing a safer work environment, the lifter has also created a more accessible one. Since there is no longer a lifting component to this position, company officials have re-classified this job so that it can be filled by any workers within the plant.
Cynergy Ergonomics engineers studied the task at hand, along with the plant environment and utilities available prior to recommending a solution.
The resulting lifter uses a pair of pneumatic grippers which grab the load while horizontal. When the operator presses the “attach” button, the grippers close onto the load and allows the part to pitch to vertical as the operator lifts the parts from the machine. The load is then moved to the adjacent workstation where the operator hits the “release” button which opens the grippers and releases the load. After releasing, the grippers automatically orient from horizontal to vertical in time to begin the next cycle.