Transporting heavy loads in the beverage and food industry

Pick-and-place tasks made easy: slim handling manipulator allows weightless transfer of ≤ 80 kg in confined spaces

Handling manipulator SPEEDYFIL SP
© Dalmec GmbH, Handling manipulator SPEEDYFIL SP
Source:  Company news

In many companies in the food and beverage industry, cranes, chain hoists or tube lifters are used to move heavy goods. For vertical lifting and lowering, however, these systems have to be controlled in a cumbersome way via pushbuttons, which costs unnecessary time, especially for simple pick-and-place tasks. But there is a remedy: with pneumatically controlled handling manipulators from Dalmec GmbH, work processes can be made much faster, more precise as well as more ergonomic. The SPEEDYFIL SP model in particular, designed for loads of up to 80 kg, was conceived for the rapid transfer of goods and has a slim design as well as a low dead weight. The basic unit of the handling manipulator has a double articulated arm designed for 360° rotation, which is connected to various pick-up devices via two independent steel cables and ensures the "weightless" movement of loads. The purely pneumatic control of the manipulator allows extremely fine positioning. Since the articulated arm can be shortened to a radius of 1.4 m, the device is particularly suitable for confined spaces.

"The SPEEDYFIL SP with a load capacity of 80 kg is to be placed as an intermediate solution between the POSIVEL models with a maximum of 60 kg and POSIFIL with a maximum of 140 kg, as it has a larger working stroke of 1.65 - 2.15 m based on its basic design," explains Dieter Hager, sales manager at Dalmec. "This is an advantage when palletising products, for example, as greater deposit heights are required here." The essential component of the SPEEDYFIL SP is a double articulated arm designed for 360° rotation. In addition, the applications of various pick-up devices, with which the products can be lifted and moved, are connected to the basic unit on two independent steel cables. A pneumatic cylinder, which is pressurised with compressed air, regulates the weight balance of the picked-up load in combination with the deflection rollers on the unit. The force acting on the cylinder is controlled by two preset compressed air circuits: the first circuit balances the weight of the pick-up device, the second circuit is responsible for balancing the picked-up load. The adjustment of the different load weights is done by a direct operation of the operator on the pick-up device or by guiding on the load itself.

Pneumatics ensure high precision
Due to the special design and the functional principle, the SPEEDYFIL has various advantages over alternative handling solutions: For example, pneumatics are much more sensitive than electronic controls, which are used in chain hoists, for example "You can guide directly at the product or via the operating elements and, due to the compressibility of the compressed air, you have the possibility to dose the lifting and lowering extremely precisely," explains Hager. Due to the exclusively pneumatic operation - at least 0.7 MPa is required - the device is also particularly reliable and easy to maintain. 

For better ergonomics, the pneumatically controlled system is designed to follow the natural movement of the worker. This not only gives the manipulator a particularly high degree of manoeuvrability: "The amount of force required by the operator when positioning and moving the products is much lower than with other solutions, as the kinematics and the interaction of the basic unit with the extension arm mean that the movement sequence is optimally adapted to the worker," explains Hager. This means that the operator only has to exert a small amount of manual force for the movement, which leads to a more ergonomic activity. Thus, the operator can work through his entire workload evenly without having to fear physical restrictions due to lifting and carrying the loads.

Particularly narrow radius possible by shortening the articulated arm
Since the SPEEDYFIL is a rope device, it is particularly suitable as a cost-effective solution for simple pick-and-place tasks. Like every manipulator from Dalmec, its design and functional equipment can be adapted to the individual requirements and conditions in the respective company. The SPEEDYFIL offers a special option: It can also be used in narrow production and intralogistics areas, as its articulated arms can be shortened to such an extent that a radius of only 1.4 m is achieved. "This is due to a special design," says Hager. "With the SPEEDYFIL we achieve the required working stroke via a compensating cylinder with rack and pulleys, while with the POSIVEL and POSIFIL compensating cylinders with a winding unit for the ropes are used according to a pulley principle." This means that these devices always have a minimum overall length that is not can be shortened. 

In principle, the SPEEDYFIL can be designed as a standing, floor-mounted, suspended or ceiling-movable version. For the latter, a special track system is used that allows a larger work area to be covered. This is a patented continuously cast aluminum profile that was specially designed by Dalmec to be able to accommodate eccentric moments. In contrast to steel profiles, the use of plastic carriage wheels prevents wear. These moving units were also designed by Dalmec and can be configured individually for the respective load. 

Holding devices for a wide variety of products
Like the basic construction, the grippers of the SPEEDYFIL are also designed for the specific application: Suction devices as well as pneumatic parallel grippers and pantographs are suitable for handling cardboard boxes, for example. “The holding devices can be used for a wide variety of cardboard-packed products. Apart from the maximum weight, there are no restrictions here, ”explains Hager. "For use with suction devices, however, the products should be packed in high-quality cardboard boxes that ensure a low air flow." 

Handling manipulators of the SPEEDYFIL SP model can be used in the food and beverage industry not only for cardboard boxes but also for water bottles, stainless steel mesh baskets with sacks, in the mechanical processing of rims and wheels or for loading and unloading processing centers as well as for sausage and ham molds be used. “After filling, the molds are closed and then have to be transferred from the workplace to a shelf trolley,” explains Hager. From an ergonomic point of view, this is too high for most employees. The SPEEDYFIL can support the employee in lifting the load and also cover the required height of the rack trolley. 

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