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Overview

E&E Metal Fab., Inc. operates a 10,000 square foot metal fabrication facility in central Pennsylvania and specializes in assembling and fabricating steel bases that are used to support printing presses in large print facilities. After being in business for two years, the company president re-evaluated the fabrication workflow, looking to lower production costs in order to stay competitive. Their fabrication process involved part assembly and welding, which took place at individual workstations throughout the facility. Assemblies could weigh anywhere from 900 pounds to 1500 pounds. Originally, jib cranes mounted on warehouse support columns were used by workers at each station. The jib cranes were effective for work done within an individual station, but did not provide the ability to move an assembly to the next stage of fabrication. E&E’s first solution to this problem was to use forklifts. While the forklifts did provide mobility, they ended up becoming a safety hazard to the employees. They also introduced a significant amount of grease that was transferred onto the product. This grease had to be removed before shipping.

Solution

The problems presented by the use of forklifts lead the president to seek a more effective and secure solution. Looking to bring in an expert, he contacted a local material handling specialist to visit their site and study their fabrication workflow. The specialist, also a Spanco distributor, spent an entire day observing the workflow and came to the conclusion that a Spanco Workstation Bridge Crane would add immediate value. After listening to the solution, the president decided to invest in a 2000-pound capacity Spanco Freestanding Workstation Bridge Crane.

Impact

The system has a runway length of 110 feet, covering a majority of the fabrication process. The dual 20-foot bridges allow workers using an overhead hoist to move assemblies effortlessly along Spanco’s smooth enclosed track bridge crane. The bridge crane is versatile enough that workers can use it to cover multiple work areas, which has dramatically improved the overall productivity of E&E Metal Fab.’s entire operation.