Materials in Motion

Ceiling-Mounted Bridge Crane Improves Efficiency at the Naval Research Laboratory

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is the corporate test site for the Navy and Marine Corps. The laboratory conducts a broad program of scientific research, technology, and advanced development. NRL acts as a campus-like facility of diverse scientific amenities. The internal organization is arranged into five directories, four of which conduct scientific research and the Naval Center for Space Technology.

Overall, The NRL’s mission is to act as the Navy’s Corporate Laboratory. But, the laboratory goes back nearly 90 years in American history. In fact, Thomas Edison conceived the idea of a “great research laboratory”, which led to the creation of the NRL in the early 1920’s. For that reason, it is sometimes referred to as the “Father of Modern Invention”.

In 2012, the Naval Research Laboratory began researching a material handling solution that would allow workers to reach in and out of their machinery and remove and repair parts weighing up to 2 tons. According to the NRL, the large piece of equipment is designed with massive parts that have to be replaced from time to time. Before, maintenance workers struggled to replace parts inside of the equipment because of its size and the cumbersome nature of the machinery inside. The entire repair process was burdensome and dangerous. That’s when NRL’s director of research and commanding officer reached out to a third party Spanco dealer to inquire about an ergonomic system that could get the job done quickly and easily.

Spanco’s third party dealer came out to their facility to examine their process and recommend the best system for their application. After a careful inspection, they recommended a 4000-pound Ceiling-Mounted Double-Girder Bridge Crane with a 28-foot runway, hoist trolley, and flat cable festoon conductor system.  According to the Inspector General, the crane is used to maintain and repair an important piece of equipment in their research and development lab. They can’t expose the nature of the apparatus because it’s classified information. But, since the installation of the Workstation Bridge Crane, maintenance workers and cleanup crew are able to replace and maintain parts quickly and efficiently.