Steel fabrication company increases productivity with Shuttlelift

By D.Ann Shiffler29 June 2011

Plains Fabrication & Supply, a steel fabrication company based in Alberta, Canada produces heaters, separators, pressure vessels, skid packages, and other custom fabrication items. The company recently invested in a Shuttlelift SL 75II gantry to increase productivity and workflow.

The company had previously participated in a lean manufacturing program to improve profit margins, increase productivity, save time and reduce waste. The lean manufacturing program helped the steel fabrication company recognize unnecessary movements and the time it took to complete tasks.

Paul Pagenkopf, operations manager at Plains Fabrication & Supply, said that once the company realized what it needed to do to become more productive, they started looking for equipment to streamline operations.

"The Shuttlelift SL 75II fit the bill," he says. "On a WAC vessel, the old material handling time was approximately 10 hours of labor. That required two pieces of equipment and three workers to move product from assembly to the paint process."

He said the mobile gantry crane reduced the workflow by more than half. "Now, it takes approximately four hours of labor using one machine and two workers to complete the process."

Besides the increase in production, Pagenkopf said the SL 7511 was easy to use.

"The Shuttlelift SL 75II moves product from bay to bay and raw product from outside to the fabrication area," he says. "It moves fabricated products to the blast bay and into the paint bay. It also moves completed products to storage or it can load products directly onto trucks for shipment to customers."

The mobile gantry crane was chosen to avoid installing outdoor stationary cranes on either sides of the building due to the cost associated with the cranes; as well as the limited specialized lifting capabilities for each application.

The Shuttlelift SL 75II was designed with custom features for Plains Fabrication & Supply. The machine includes a hydraulic block adjust that maximizes the versatility and lifting potential enabling the operator to change the spacing between the slings at the touch of a button. "This feature gives the ability to maintain a straight wire rope to the products attach points and allow adjustments to suit the variety of lifting lug center distances," said Pagenkopf.

The mobile gantry crane also included a wireless remote control that allows the operator to be on the ground anywhere around the crane.

An additional amenity included in the mobile gantry crane was a sound suppression kit that reduces engine noise and reduces audible range fatigue. "It offers quieter working conditions when working inside and is well worth it for safety reasons," said Pagenkopf.

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