Synchronous Conveyor Line for Fork Lift Mast Production

Here is a case study of another successful project by Lauyans & Company. Please enjoy.

Scenario – A manufacturer of high quality fork trucks approached Lauyans & Company with a logistics problem. They needed to increase production to accommodate pending orders and wanted to automate a production area that up to that point had been very labor intense and required a lot of dangerous manual intervention by the system operators. The unit loads handled are fork lift masts. The process requires that these long and heavy loads be advanced through different production machines. The previous method of transport was on 4 wheel carts. The different operations also required the mast to be rolled about the beam’s axis into different orientations. The existing means of rotation was manual intervention with a pipe wrench or “cheater bar”; a process fraught with opportunities for injury and fatigue.

Solution – Lauyans &smp; Company worked with the end-user to develop a synchronous pallet handling line designed to convey these fork lift masts through the progressive manufacturing operations. Masts are conveyed along the production line in fixtures that are mounted to custom designed pallets. These fixtures allow operators to easily rotate the mast in 90 degree increments as required for the process at their workstation. Masts can be rolled out of the fixture and into the appropriate workstation. The fixture/pallets are captive to the system.

Sequence of Operation:

  • Masts are conveyed from a cutoff saw into one of the fixtures.
  • A signal is sent to the pusher to stroke.
  • The pusher extends and advances all pallets on the upper conveyor one position.
  • At each workstation, operators are able to rotate the beam (if necessary) to get the beam into the proper orientation for that particular operation (flame cut, punching, welding, or other). Each fixture has a springloaded roller that allows the beam to be locked into one of four positions (90 degree increments). The fixtures also have a large diameter hand wheel that gives the operator the leverage needed for rotation.
  • Once in the proper orientation, the operator actuates a pop-up gravity roller transfer bed and rolls the mast out of the fixture. He/she then performs the operation required at that station. When the operation is complete, the mast is then rolled back into the fixture.
  • This process continues until all processes to the mast are complete.
  • At the end of the production line the mast is rolled out of the fixture.
  • The fixture/pallet is then lowered via a scissor lift table to the empty pallet return conveyor which is directly below the production line conveyor.
  • The fixture/pallet is then conveyed back to the charge end of the production line where another scissor lift table raises it into position for the next mast to be loaded and the process starts over.

Result – Lauyans & Company provided this system to the customer in 2001. It is still in use and the customer has requested pricing for a duplicate system, hopefully to be installed in 2012.

Contact us to discuss your material handling needs today!