MezzCrane System Optimizes Material Flow in Lean Environments

Wildeck, Inc. Waukesha, Wisc., working in collaboration with crane manufacturer, Gorbel in Fishers, N.Y, has developed an innovative configuration for lean manufacturing and maintenance operations that can be customized to meet individual customer needs.

The MezzCrane system combines the strength and utility of a custom-designed Wildeck mezzanine with the agility and flexibility of a 3-axis enclosed track bridge crane from Gorbel. A myriad of options are available to easily lift, move, and store materials within a work cell. The system enables localized staging and storage of work-in-process or finished goods above or below the mezzanine. “Combining these operations,” says Hue Schlegel, director of marketing for Wildeck, “eliminates unnecessary handling and material movement; which is not only more efficient and safe, but can reduce cycles times and lower manufacturing costs.”

Five configurations are available to satisfy customer requirements: crane above mezzanine, crane below mezzanine, crane above and below mezzanine, crane below and extended beyond mezzanine, and crane above and below and extended beyond mezzanine. Depending on customer requirements, the crane section will include everything above the hook: high strength/smooth-moving enclosed track, crane bridge, rails, trolleys, etc. The mezzanine will also be configured to customer requirements including the required columns, framing, decking, handrail and guard railing, safety gates for mezzanine access, stair systems (either knock-down or welded stairs), stair platforms, and safety ladders.

The system complies with applicable safety standards including ANSI B30.11 for under hung bridge cranes, CMAA (Crane Manufacturers Association of America) standards, OSHA, IBC, BOCA, and UBC code requirements.

A mezzanine uniform live load of 125 pounds per square foot is standard and higher load capacities are available depending on application requirements. Crane capacities of 250 to 2,000 pounds are standard but higher capacities can be provided. Crane bridge spans can be up to 34 feet, which reduces the possibility of support columns interfering with the work-cell layout. The company notes that short bridge lengths are better for higher-cycle production areas. Longer bridges are acceptable for lower-production cycles or maintenance areas.

Typical applications include manufacturing; kitting and packaging; assembly operations; maintenance and repair; printing and paper roll handling; moving dies, molds or patterns; transferring machined parts, castings, engines, motors, and more.

Schlegel notes, “The new MezzCrane saves valuable space by minimizing the required footprint for manufacturing or assembly operations and it can dramatically increase material flow and efficiency in a fast-paced work environment.”

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