Complete Material Handling Solution Provides Reliable Overhead Lifting for Autoclave Manufacturer


Consolidated Sterilizer Systems is a manufacturer of steam sterilizers, or autoclaves, based in Billerica, Massachusetts. These autoclaves are used in a wide range of industries, including universities, hospitals, and biotechnology companies around the world. Consolidated Sterilizer has been manufacturing autoclaves for more than 70 years, and their commitment to excellence and high-quality manufacturing has made them a well-recognized industry leader.

Consolidated Sterilizer Systems recently expanded into a new 30,000 square-foot facility, and they needed to install a new material handling solution. The system in the older facility used a series of jib cranes, but the equipment was aging. Many of the cranes were nearly forty years old and had serious maintenance and reliability problems. Consolidated Sterilizer reached out to Konecranes, a nearby Spanco dealer, to help them come up with a plan for efficient, reliable material handling in their new facility.


A Konecranes sales representative assessed the new facility and observed operations at the old facility to find the best solutions for Consolidated Sterilizer’s needs. He recommended a complete material handling layout consisting of two Spanco Freestanding Workstation Bridge Cranes and five Spanco E-Series Fixed-Height Gantry Cranes.

The E-Series gantry cranes each have a capacity of one ton. They are used in individual workstations, where workers use them to lift materials and position components for welding. This setup reduces the need for manually positioning parts, making it easier for workers to perform tasks efficiently.

The workstation cranes are used to handle larger processes within the facility. One workstation is equipped with a 4,000-pound capacity bridge and a second 2,000-pound capacity bridge, separated by a bridge buffer. The other workstation crane is equipped with a single 2,000-pound capacity bridge.

The facility requires material handling for a variety of end-to-end production processes. Raw materials come in large, heavy pieces, and they have to be moved into position for cutting and welding. As components are assembled, they continue to require material handling equipment to the next stage of production. The new Spanco material handling systems fulfill all of the facility’s needs from raw material to final product.


When Consolidated Sterilizer made the move into the new production facility, it had to be done in a tight timeframe. Paul, the shop foreman, said Spanco’s ability to work within that timeframe made the entire transition go smoothly. A representative from Konecranes said that “from the signed approval drawings from Spanco to the final installation, everything worked out flawlessly.” The timely shipping and installation helped ensure that the manufacturing system was ready by the time Consolidated Sterilizer needed it to be up and running.

Since the installation of the new Spanco systems, the results have been excellent. Paul told us that “the workers were very impressed with the new system.” Unlike the outdated overhead system in the old facility, the Spanco cranes have been a reliable and efficient addition to the new facility. He says that they’re easy to use, easy to maintain, and they provide the ability to expand the system if their need for production grows in the future.

He also told us that he “would be proud to recommend the Spanco systems to a colleague. We’re really happy with how it turned out, and we wouldn’t hesitate to buy another Spanco system.” With the need for lifting capabilities in every part of the process, Spanco’s ability to provide a full-coverage system has allowed them to create an efficient, dynamic production process.