States of the art

25 June 2020


This year’s Modex show took place in Atlanta, USA, just before international travel began to be curtailed by Covid-19. Daniel Searle caught up with some of the exhibitors remotely to discuss their key developments

Palamatic, headquartered in Chesterfield, UK and with US premises in Garner, North Carolina, showcased its range of vacuum tube lifters, designed specifically for handling boxes and cartons, drums and sacks, and for completing pallet inspections.

The company, which was founded in 1985, introduced two new sub-ranges to the marketplace at Modex: the Uni-Lite Series and Uni-Lite Flex Series. These ranges offer different strokes to ensure the safest ergonomic performance for the operator, depending on the application: the Uni-Lite range is designed for packing and unpacking applications around waist height and conveyor height, and whilst it can offer longer strokes, it is advised not to select more than 600–700mm, says Palamatic; the Uni-Lite Flex range is for packing, unpacking, stacking and depalletising, and had a much broader stroke range. The Uni-Lite Flex range is also better for larger materials, adds the company, where the operator prefers not to lean over.

All of Palamatic’s equipment is bespoke to suit the individual customer’s application and requirements; the company distributes to a wide range of end-use sectors including food, beverage, chemical, distribution, pharmaceutical, plastics and woodworking. The company’s product range also includes support gantries and cGMP hygienic handling systems under its PalPharma Handling Solutions brand, suitable for use in controlled environments. The abbreviation cGMP refers to the US Food and Drug Administration’s ‘Current Good Manufacturing Practice’ guidance.

Within the cleanroom sector, Palamatic recently introduced the PAL Cleanroom Electric Wire Rope Hoist, featuring a rhombus shaped cross section designed to reduce particle migration and ease cleaning compared to conventional hoists, including those on I-beams. The hoist can be considered for any environment that is required to meet cGMP or graded cleanroom criteria such as the semiconductor industry, pharmaceutical, biotech, nutraceutical, and cosmetics industries.

As well as new products, Palamatic also promoted its Service Contract Plan, which ensures that lifting systems stay up to date and allows improved allocation of labour resources, says the company. It includes installations and commissioning, servicing of equipment, service response, spare parts and technical manuals, training, upgrades, and system relocations.

Gorbel

Gorbel presented its complete line of G-Force Intelligent Lifting Devices at Modex, in conjunction with its workstation cranes. Various sizes and capacities were shown, some integrated into its Easy Arm for complete lifting and positioning flexibility.

The G-Forces showcased the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) technology, with users able to set parameters and view functions through a tablet or PC as well as via the device itself. All systems were incorporated with custom tooling designed for typical applications that would be encountered in a manufacturing environment, says the company.

In addition to the Intelligent Lifting Devices, Gorbel highlighted its full line of foundationless jibs. These jibs are designed to allow quick, easy installation without the need for new, poured foundations. Also, the line of GS Hoists was featured on a fixed gantry crane developed specially for movement under load.

Piab

Piab showcased its PiLift Smart vacuum lifter at Modex—the first vacuum lifter that meets the needs of Industry 4.0, says Mike Tuohey, marketing manager for the Americas at the company.

Designed to offer enhanced usability, flexibility and data management, the system combines advanced vacuum lifting technology with an energy consumption reduction of 76%, minimal noise emissions, and smart data features, says Tuohey.

The PiLift Smart enables the operator and operation to obtain live information on performance and status via a web-based platform: the weight of the lifted object is displayed on the system’s screen, helping the operator to identify loads and qualityassure incoming or outgoing products.

Oz Lifting

Oz Lifting showed its complete range of davit cranes, including a 500lb-capacity Tele-Pro 500 as the centrepiece of the company’s display.

The crane offers its full capacity at 36 inches, but the boom is infinitely adjustable, says sales manager Richard Miller. For simplicity, ratings have been split into four positions: 66in, 300lbs; 56 in, 350 lbs; 46 in, 430 lbs; and 36in, 500lbs.

The patent-pending product allows the operator to telescope the boom in and out under load, utilising a hand drill attachment provided by the manufacturer, or a winch.

Oz also showed its CompOZite and CompOZite Elite carbon fibre models. The 0.25t–3t capacity sector represents a good percentage of the company’s business, says Miller, but it does carry up to 30t-capacity chain hoists and trolleys.

Steve Napieralski, president at Oz Lifting, says: “The industry-first Tele-Pro davit crane was a hit. The two composite davits we displayed were popular too. Attendance was certainly way down but the few leads we did get were good ones.”

Power Electronics International

Power Electronics International (PE) promoted its latest brand of AC variable frequency drives (VFDs) at Modex, which combine power sections and instant Gang- Set programming of the Micro-Speed line with web-based programming and industrial level communications, says the company.

The Micro-Speed Multi-Vector Ultra is a closed-loop vector drive generally used for hoist without a mechanical load brake; it uses encoder feedback for vector motor control and hoist safety routines.

The Micro-Speed MX-Ultra is an openloop VFD used for travel motions, built on the existing Multi-Vector series platform and used for both horizontal applications and for hoists that utilise an internal mechanical load brake or a self-locking worm gear design.

The MX-Ultra runs the same advanced programming as the MV-Ultra, adds PE, but without encoder feedback.

The company also demonstrated its antisway system, the Swing Amplitude Manager (S.A.M), designed to almost eliminate the pendulum movement of a load and allow for precise, safe, and much faster movements.

S.A.M is available as an add-on option on Micro-Speed MV-Ultra and MX-Ultra drives, and is built in to Ultra Series drives. The system was demonstrated at PE’s Modex stand with a miniature motorised overhead crane and hoist, which visitors could operate to appreciate the effects of the anti-sway device.

All PE Ultra Drives also feature Smart- Set flash drive input built-in, to enable easy upload and download of settings between drives. The drives also offer native network communication, with no cards or other addons required. A further benefit of the Ultra Series drives is the new PE-Hub datalogging device, which can keep years of drive, motion and event code history, and can be connected wirelessly to a smartphone or laptop.

PE’s Micro-Speed CX, Micro-Speed Smart-Move and Ready-Built bridge panels were also promoted at Modex. The panels are designed to allow the quick retrofit of existing overhead cranes. 

Palamatic’s S-Line panel lifter.
The Easy Arm from Gorbel, which can be combined with the company’s intelligent lifting devices.
A food-specification bag lifter from Palamatic.
Oz Lifting’s booth at Modex 2020
Visitors to the Power Electronics International stand could operate a hoist fitted with the Swing Amplitude Manager (S.A.M.), the company’s anti-sway system.
The Piab PiLift Smart vacuum lifter, which incorporates cutting-edge Industry 4.0 technology.