What does lifting equipment have to do with work processes? Smart lifting tools can do more than just make physical work easier. Our article looks at the opportunities for using industrial lifting equipment to make for more efficient processes. Enjoy reading!
Smart lifting equipment for a broad spectrum of applications
A lifter is a device from the field of handling technology that helps to lift, move and position heavy loads in a wide variety of applications in manufacturing, logistics and the trades. Lifters support manual lifting work in a variety of contexts. Transporting material in production, handling boxes in the office or library, as well as handling shipments in logistics can all be significantly simplified and improved with the aid of lifting equipment. Hovmand has a proven track record as a manufacturer of mobile lifting equipment – which not only make physical work more ergonomic, but also work processes more efficient.
Our mobile lifters are essentially constructed of the following elements:
- Load-bearing column in various mast heights
- Chassis with various leg types
- Lifting tools for various tasks
- Control unit for simple operation
- Tools based on requirements for gripping, turning, tilting, placing, etc.
Mobile lifting equipment can be configured specifically using various elements from a modular system. This means that a standard lifter such as our IMPACT and COMPACT models can serve a wide range of purposes. Their tools can simply be changed out. The lifting equipment can be operated electrically or manually depending on the application. For electric operations, the respective replacement batteries and chargers ensure a satisfying run time.
Five good reasons for using lifting equipment
As a manufacturer of handling technology, we work with lifters every day and are happy to chat about their features for hours. It’s hardly surprising that we at Hovmand consider the use of lifting equipment to be a rather sensible idea. And we have our reasons:
- Relief of physical labour. As their name cleverly reveals, lifters help pick things up. Heavy loads can be lifted manually using a lever or with an electrically driven device much more effortlessly than they can by sheer human muscle. For loads in industrial and logistical environments, muscle just isn’t going to cut it. When turning, tilting and transporting over longer distances, industrial lifting equipment with suitable gripping devices – and, if necessary, a manipulator – prevents workers from risking back and spine injuries.
- Rapid routes. Mobile lifting equipment accompanies employees on their routes – from receiving to the shelf or from warehouse to production. This reduces the time needed to traverse internal routes.
- Careful materials handling. Manually moving car tyres, drums, boxes, reels and crates is quite cumbersome. If the objects to be moved are bulky or very heavy, they often suffer from accidental mishandling – because if employees have to concentrate on bringing drums weighing 300 kilograms to the site as quickly as possible, it is difficult to be especially careful at the same time.
- Simple assembly and processing. Lifting equipment can be configured individually. If, for example, reels need to be rotated for replacement, this can be done with a reel manipulator on the lifting column. If a drum needs to be tipped out during production, the electric control on the lifter is faster, easier and more accurate than the manual alternative.
- Flexible automation of industrial processes. Mobile lifters, which represent the core of Hovmand’s product range, are versatile and space-saving. This makes them a flexible and inexpensive alternative to complex conveyor technology. Lifters support you where and when you need them – without having to design entire processes around them.
We have been developing, designing and using lifting equipment for almost five decades, during which we have seen countless environments where our lifting tools have improved working conditions and made processes more efficient. That’s why we are thoroughly convinced that our lifting equipment is inextricably linked to specific work processes.
The basics of work processes
To some people, processes are abstract things, while for others they are tangible, every-day occurrences. Just what are processes and why do we need them at all? According to the Gabler Wirtschaftslexicon (Dictionary of Economics), the word ‘process’ connotes the totality of interacting transactions within a system.
The term is further broken down into its components in the Input-Transformation-Output model (ITO) of operations management:
- Input – that which a process requires to create its product. This can be human work, raw material, or operating materials.
- Transformation – how the input is handled, such as mixing, cutting, punching, soldering, etc.
- Output – the result of the process, usually a product or service.
For a production or logistics company or a trade, this means the input must be provided in order to carry out the transformation. The transformation must then occur in order to produce the output. Output in the form of goods, shipments, repairs, and other things, is generally paid for by the customers of a company. Thus the more output we produce and sell, the more revenue we earn. But revenue is only a one-dimensional measurement of a company’s success. Only when we apply the costs of our output production can we calculate the company’s profit. And this is precisely what working with processes is usually about – reducing the costs of input and transformation. Because human workers want to receive wages and suppliers of raw materials and operating materials want to be paid.
Lifting equipment and work processes collaborating efficiently
Now what do processes have to do with lifters and other handling technology? They come into play wherever companies need to start tracking the different costs for their products and services. Initially, this involves human resources costs. Expenses are incurred not only for hours worked performing (overly complex) manual processes, but also for workers on sick leave who are temporarily unable to work due to a back injury or slipped disc. Lifters can also help to reduce materials costs. Firstly, they carry out lifting tasks safely and gently, thus reducing damage. Secondly, they enable the use of larger reels, heavier drums, and boxes with larger volumes. This can increase throughput and reduce the number of refills, for example on reels of shipping material.
Tasks within a single process related to handling heavy or numerous lighter loads can be accomplished with lifters. These include:
- Material provision: In order to carry out the transformation, raw materials such as textiles on reels, chemicals in drums or bulk goods in boxes often need to be provided. This includes the removal of the respective goods from the warehouse, transport to the production site and, if necessary, assembly on a machine.
- Adding raw materials: To ensure efficient processes in the cosmetics, food, pharmaceutical or chemical industries, large quantities often need to be added. These can include flour, surfactants, oils and active ingredients. Lifting equipment can handle the precise tipping of heavy drums and buckets.
- Product packaging: Packaging often includes paper, plastic, cardboard and labels, as well as writing paper stored on reels, pallets or in boxes. Lifters effectively help to transport these items to the workstation and for assembly.
- Distribution of mail and books: Libraries and offices are also involved in the handling of heavy materials. Lifters can be beneficial when sorting, processing and distributing mail and books.
- Manual work in the trades: When repairing lines, cables, pipes and other materials in buildings, lifters can lend an additional hand to technicians and tradespeople. With a suitable platform, the lifter serves as a surface for placing objects while the technician is working when elevated. This saves someone else having to pass the required objects up to the technician, or the technician having to climb up and down repeatedly to the actual place of work.
In our experience, the use of lifting equipment is always directly related to the work processes they are designed to support. That’s why mobile lifting equipment is a particularly flexible and proven solution within the realm of handling technology. In each individual case, they can be adapted to the lifting tasks that they accomplish.