Industrial Fabrication Contractor Uses Workstation Bridge Crane and Aluminum Gantry Crane to Streamline Manufacturing Process


GSM Industrial is an industrial metal fabrication and machining contractor based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. GSM manufactures and installs a variety of steel and stainless steel structures for applications in industries from food processing and water treatment to air pollution control and quarrying. Most of their products are unique fabrications, so they rarely use molds or templates for production. The entire process from raw materials to finished product is different for every piece, so most of the plasma cutting, welding, and painting is unique and must be done by hand.

While most of the 110,000 square-foot facility was already equipped with large overhead cranes to move fabrications throughout the building, the machine shop area—which handles smaller parts and projects—had no permanent lifting solution. Because there was no permanent solution, many materials and fabricated parts were moved with a forklift and positioned by hand. This process was not always practical or efficient, especially because the forklifts could be in use in another part of the facility and not readily available. Forklifts also require significant space to maneuver, but the machine shop area has tight spaces that limit forklift mobility.


To make parts and materials easier to maneuver in the machine shop, GSM Industrial decided to find a permanent material handling solution and purchased a 4,000-pound capacity Spanco Freestanding Workstation Bridge Crane from Konecranes, a local Spanco distributor. The workstation consists of 153-foot runways and three 34-foot bridges, each rated for 4,000 pounds, which cover the entire work area. The system fits nicely in the tight machine shop area and allows the workers to maneuver the fabricated components quickly and safely.


The Spanco Freestanding Workstation Bridge Crane primarily covers most of the material lifting requirements in the machine shop. This system now largely replaces the need for forklifts, manual hoists, and manual lifting in the machine shop area, which allows workers to approach jobs more easily and more efficiently. Because it is permanently installed in the machine shop, unlike the forklifts, the overhead crane is always available when a worker needs it. This availability helps workers move fabrications through the machine shop faster while protecting them from heavy lifting and injuries.

Another advantage of a Spanco Freestanding Workstation Bridge Crane is the ability to reposition parts easily while they are being assembled. Positioning a part on the workbench significantly impacts the worker’s ability to produce high-quality welds. When a part is positioned in a way that creates an awkward or uncomfortable angle for a welder, meeting the welding quality requirements becomes much more difficult. With the freestanding workstation bridge crane, workers can easily make sure they have direct access to any part and ensure the highest quality welds every time.

With a permanent material handling solution in place inside the production facility, GSM Industrial decided to find a solution that could be used outside the facility as well. They purchased a 1-ton capacity Spanco Aluminum Gantry Crane from Power-Draulics, Inc., which can be used outside the facility and at delivery locations. Like the Spanco Freestanding Workstation Bridge Crane, the Spanco Aluminum Gantry Crane can be used for tasks that would otherwise require a forklift. The gantry crane’s mobility makes it easy to transport on-site, and with a 10-foot span and 10-foot height under the beam, it can replace the need for a forklift to unload products in many applications. With the use of a Spanco Freestanding Workstation Bridge Crane and Aluminum Gantry Crane, GSM has streamlined and simplified its complete operation from pre-fabrication to product delivery.