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Case Study #2 - Executive Summary

A local manufacturer of die-cast metal parts required a system to load 60 pound- manifolds onto a rack to be put through an acid wash.

Problem:  Employees were getting hurt mounting the manifolds in the racks due to the configuration of the pins on the mounting brackets.

Solution:  Design a manipulator with a 45-degree power tilt and a manual rotation that would allow the operator to mount the manifolds without having to physically support its weight.

At the time we were approached the job was being performed manually. The manifolds are considerably heavy and mounting the manifolds on the racks was an awkward task at best requiring the employees to have to bend at the waist to mount the manifolds. It was noted that at any given time there were one or two employees off on compensation with lower back injuries. There were rectangular and square manifolds that needed to be picked up. Our goal was to design one manipulator that would pick-up both pieces. The system required a 45-degree power tilt with a +/- 10-degree manual rotation. The final product was a 10-foot double articulating jib arm mounted on an existing column. The end effector was a custom designed air-magnet style manipulator capable of lifting a maximum 100 pounds in the horizontal to vertical position. Some manual manipulation was still required by the operator due to the orientation of the parts. To accommodate we installed ergonomic handles in strategic positions to allow for ease of manipulation. The system fulfilled its requirements as the operators noted that after their shifts they were not experiencing back-pain.

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