Inside Logistics

Lifter eases back strain

Installation in packaging operations shows reduced injury claims


June 3, 2014
by MM&D Online Staff

St. Louis, Missouri—A Cynergy Ergonomics vacuum lifter has proven to reduce back strain and the workers comp claims that accompany them for a manufacturer of water softeners.

The purpose-designed lifter allows an operator to lift the 10-pound box, open it, and then position it over a water softener which is already fastened to a pallet for final packaging and shipment. Before installing the Cynergy vacuum lifter, this process was completed manually despite the awkward maneuvering required to lift the heavy box and position it over the pallet-mounted water softener.

Shoulder and back aches and strains were common, as were the accompanying workers comp claims and lost-time incidents. After installation of the ergonomic lifting device, however, claims have dwindled and lost-time incidents have been eliminated.

In addition to 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 before recommending a solution. The resulting vacuum lifter uses 12-inch round Vi-Cas vacuum cups to hold the 10-pound box during the lifting and positioning process, and is powered by compressed air which was readily available nearby.

A video showing this ergonomic vacuum lifter in action is available at http://www.cynergyergonomics.com/box-expandervacuum-lifter.