MLE Builds Lift for Development of New Spacecraft

Cudahy, Wis.-based Man & Material Lift Engineering has produced the MLE 1250AJP-E to aid in the development of the new ORION spacecraft. The spacecraft is the next generation shuttle for transporting explorers to the moon, mars and beyond. The 1250AJP-E will be used at NASA's Glen Research Center, home of the world's largest Space Environment Simulation Chamber.

The boom lift has a working height of 131 feet, with 1,000-amp-hour battery power and an on-board battery charger. It features a hose reel for charging cable and an on-board 8,000-watt generator. With smooth proportional control, the lift has extendable axles and tire socks.

One unique feature of the lift is the lift pump system. Two electric motor/pump combinations were required to provide adequate flow for the large multi-acting boom assemblies. Horsepower limiting load-sense pumps were used to accurately match power output to the electric motors.

Dual hydrostatic pumps were required to accurately position this large machine and to provide precise creep control when inching near the spacecraft.

MLE has developed a charging system that will charge the batteries while operating the machine. This includes a high rate charger and a Sauer-Danfoss microprocessor that monitors the state of charge and turns on when below 50 percent charge and off when above 80 percent charge. It also monitors the battery temperature so overheating does not occur. This battery-powered system can then provide continuous operation unlike other DC systems. Continuous operating systems that include AC motors are much more complicated with duplication of hydraulic components.

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