Colourform specialises in manufacturing thermoformed, plastic-free moulded fibre packaging, which is renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. Every product they manufacture is unique and puts their customer’s brand and aspirations at the heart of the design and end-product.
Colourform contacted Advanced Handling after identifying a task in their manufacturing process involving the lifting and manipulating of heavy aluminium blocks to and from a pallet at floor level onto the CNC milling machine bed. During the process, some blocks had to be rotated up to 360-degrees, so the milling machine had access to both sides.
The blocks weigh up to 90kg and were currently being lifted either by two or more people or with a forklift which relied upon a licenced operator being available at the right time to operate. Both these methods contributed to unnecessary downtime. Colourform identified that this task carried risks and had the potential to be not only safer but much more efficient.
Advanced Handling visited site to see and experience first-hand the application, environment and industry so the needs of the customer were fully understood before a solution was suggested.
It was identified how one of Pronomics standard lifting trolley models, a Lift&Drive 175P with Squeeze & Turn, could be modified to create a custom solution tailored to their application.
A standard Lift&Drive 175P with Squeeze & Turn features one fixed arm and one sliding arm which is perfect when manoeuvring goods with the same dimensions every time.
Colourform, however, was dealing with blocks of various sizes and for safety and accuracy purposes, Advanced Handling designed a double squeeze feature where both arms slide in and out to ensure the block always lifted in the centre of the lift’s chassis.
In addition to this, two non-slip Acetal rollers were added to each arm to allow the squeeze mechanism to clamp the aluminium block and hold them securely without the risk of damaging the aluminium or the Pronomic arms.
The Lift&Drive 175P with Squeeze & Turn was also upgraded to achieve the 360-degree rotation required to manipulate the blocks around in the CNC machine so the mill could work on both sides of the block.
Other more standard features of Pronomics modified Lift&Drive 175P with Squeeze & Turn included a quick-change power pack to reduce downtime and a larger battery capacity for extended use over shifts. The Lift&Drive also came with a spindle drive with an overload safety clutch to eliminate the risk of entrapment and tilting and a stepless remote control for smooth lifting, lowering and turning.
“We are really pleased with the lifting solution; several changes were made along the design process to give the machine more capability allowing it to be used for other tasks such as loading heavy moulds in and out of a cleaning bath.” Philip Wilson, Colourform CNC Engineer
Colourform can now lift, manoeuvre and manipulate their 90kg aluminium in a safer manner. They have also increased the overall efficiency of this process and reduced downtime as all operators can operate the Pronomic Squeeze & Turn device and it only takes one employee to do so unlike the limitations of the methods used previously.