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Author Archives: Unidex Inc.

  1. Lifts for Aerospace Industry

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    A lift table uses a mechanism to lift or lower equipment or people. Lift table systems can raise heavy equipment and supplies, including individual parts or pallets, along with workers or vehicles. Because of their versatility and reliable design, platform lifts and lift tables see frequent usage in various processes across the aerospace sector. Typical examples may include preventive aircraft maintenance and the placement of different aircraft components during assembly.

    The Purpose of Lift Tables in Aerospace Applications

    Work platform lifts offer numerous benefits for aerospace operations. Some of these advantages include:

     

    • Reduced risk of injury. Many workplace injuries in the aerospace sector involve repetitive motion, overexertion, and bending. Lift tables reduce these injuries by enabling workers to easily position or preposition during various tasks, preventing strain that might otherwise result in long-term harm.
    • Improved maintenance. Ladders are often unstable, making it difficult or unsafe to perform maintenance on large aircraft. Table lifts allow workers to safely and effectively reach every aircraft area to perform necessary maintenance.
    • Simplified installation of aircraft parts. Engines and other aircraft components require precision for proper installation. Table and platform lifts help to move components accurately and quickly into place for proper installation.

    Lifting and Handling Solutions for the Aerospace Industry

    There are multiple types of lifts available for aerospace applications. Each lift type may perform different functions based on the application’s specific needs.

    Jet Engine Test Cell Lifts

    Engineers rely on jet engine test cell lifts when conducting functionality and performance tests on jet engines. These lifts feature two hydraulic-actuated, floor-mounted lifts that support the main platform. The design also features removable guard rails that keep workers secure while using the platform while simplifying access during loading or unloading of workers and testing equipment.

    High Travel Work Platform Lifts

    Built for frequent use, these lifts feature a high weight capacity for carrying workers and aircraft parts for repairs. They are designed with durability and safety to protect workers while frequently accommodating heavy equipment and multiple personnel.

    Lightweight Personnel Work Platforms

    Lightweight personnel platform lifts provide an ideal lifting solution in facilities with limited loads. Engineers design these lifts to fit through doorways, and some available models will fit into elevators. Lightweight personnel work platforms typically hold one or two workers at a time, allowing them to access hard-to-reach aircraft areas for cleaning and maintenance work or assembly.

    Jet Engine Assembly Lifts

    This type of engine table lift holds jet engines in place during the assembly process. The lift mounts to the floor for stability, allowing technicians to adjust the engine height reliably during placement operations, and rotate on the z-axis.

    Aerospace Lifts From Unidex

    Whether you need a lift to hold a single maintenance worker or an assembly lift for accurate and precise component installation, Unidex offers lifting solutions for every aerospace requirement. To see how lift tables from Unidex will benefit your aerospace operation, please contact us today.

  2. Hydraulic vs. Pneumatic Systems

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    Pneumatic and hydraulic systems use fluid power to increase pressure and move mechanical parts in machinery. While pneumatic systems use compressible air or pure gas to achieve their function, hydraulic systems use compressible liquid, such as oil. Commonly seen in lifts and other handling equipment, pneumatic and hydraulic systems offer many advantages, making them ideal for a wide range of applications.

    Hydraulic Vs. Pneumatic Lifts

    Lifts refer to equipment used to raise or lower objects, such as people, cargo, heavy machinery, and more. In order to produce the upward pushing force necessary to move objects, lifts utilize a range of actuating mechanisms and components. The two most common actuator types include hydraulic and pneumatic.

    Hydraulic Lifts

    Hydraulic pneumatic systems

    Hydraulic lifts utilize a lifting mechanism that compresses a liquid, such as oil, to increase pressure within the cylinder, generating the linear motion that is needed to raise and lower the platform and object. Capable of producing more than 25x the force of pneumatic lifting systems, hydraulic lifts can tolerate very heavy loads. Hydraulic lifting mechanisms can also hold torque and force at a constant level without continuous fluid flow, unlike their pneumatic counterparts.

    One primary concern of hydraulic lifts is their environmental impact. Since these mechanisms use hydraulic fluid, they can be damaging to the environment in the event of a leak. Additionally, hydraulic lifts tend to take up more space due to having several components and parts, meaning they are best for applications where space isn’t a primary concern.

    Pneumatic Lifts

    The lifting mechanism within a pneumatic lift utilizes a hollow cylinder and piston. Through the use of an external motor or pump, the piston moves within the cylinder to increase air pressure, allowing the cylinder to move and create enough linear force to extend the lift components.

    One primary advantage of pneumatic lifts is their versatility. Since most pneumatic lifts don’t require electricity, they are suited for a variety of applications, including those exposed to extreme temperatures and other environmental conditions. Pneumatic systems are also very accurate, capable of generating extreme force, and less expensive than hydraulic systems.

    However, pneumatic lifts must maintain operating pressure during use, making them less efficient and more costly to run than other lift types. Also, pneumatic actuators are normally sized for specific applications, limiting them to the needs of that application’s specifications and requirements.

    Applications for Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems

    While both hydraulic and pneumatic systems are powerful lifting tools, they are each suited to their own applications.

    Hydraulic Applications

    Hydraulic lifts are incredibly powerful and offer superior strength and capacity, making them ideal for the following applications:

    • Car Lifts
    • Dump Truck Lift
    • Elevators
    • Excavating arms for diggers
    • Forklifts
    • Turbines
    • Wheelchair Lift
    • Wing Flaps on Aircraft

    Pneumatic Applications

    Pneumatic actuators can be matched precisely to the power needs of each given application. They also don’t pose an environmental hazard because they use air instead of oil. Having the ability to absorb some amounts of shock, they are ideal for automotive and other sensitive applications. Some of the most common applications include:

    • Air brakes used by buses, trucks, and trains
    • Air compressors
    • Compressed-air engines and vehicles
    • Conveyor systems in pharmaceutical and food industries
    • Explosion-proof work areas
    • Manufacturing and assembly lines
    • Precision drills used by dentists
    • Pressure sensors, switches, and pumps
    • Vacuum cups for sheet lifting

    Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems From Unidex

    Hydraulic and pneumatic systems work differently to lift objects, and they each offer their own unique advantages. At Unidex, we specialize in providing standard and custom material handling manipulators, lifts, and work positioners to meet the needs of any application. To learn more about our hydraulic and pneumatic lifting tools and how we can improve your production process, contact us today.

  3. Medical Support Equipment

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    Lift tables are simple yet versatile tools that help employees lift, lower, or reposition heavy loads of all kinds. In the medical industry, these lifts serve many critical functions. As a stable and quick lifting solution, lift tables enhance safety and efficiency in medical applications from patient care to medical equipment assembly. 

    Lift Tables for Patients

    Lift tables are devices that utilize a valve and hydraulic cylinder to raise or lower objects and/or people. As an easy to use, cost-effective lifting solution, lift tables are highly beneficial for enhancing safety, mobility, and productivity in many instances, especially when used for patient care applications. 

    Medical lift tables are commonly used as patient positioners in settings such as hospitals, rehab facilities, and more. Patients with mobility challenges, such as wheelchair users, require special support in a healthcare environment. Healthcare providers can use lift tables to provide a safe and easy means of positioning these patients since they may have difficulty moving on their own. 

    Common patient positioning applications include:

    • Overbed tables
    • Helping support patient’s arms or legs when extended from an exam table 
    • Transitioning patients from a bed to a wheelchair (commonly known as Hoyer Lifts)

    Speed and stability are critical concerns in hospital environments and other medical settings. Lift tables help to eliminate these concerns by allowing healthcare providers to quickly and safely move or position patients so that they can receive the medical attention they need, especially in surgical or emergency situations. 

    Medical Equipment Assembly Lifts

    Lift tables are also commonly used in manufacturing for medical equipment assembly. Mass production of medical equipment relies on assembly lines to rapidly build products step by step. As each piece of equipment passes through the assembly line, factory workers perform repetitive movements, such as turning, twisting, and lifting, to complete manual assembly tasks. Performing these repetitive tasks hundreds of times per day puts workers at serious risk for injury; therefore, proper ergonomics are critical, especially in medical equipment assembly lines where workers must handle heavy, bulky, or fragile components.

    Lift tables provide the power and stability to move heavy loads without placing repetitive strain on employees. Used in an assembly line, they drastically reduce the effort required to lift and lower raw components, increasing efficiency and reducing the likelihood of mistakes and injuries. At Unidex, we provide lift tables for assembly line manufacturing of respirators, x-ray machines, and other critical care equipment.

    Lift tables also serve as adjustable-height workbenches, which allow employees to quickly raise or lower the surface to a comfortable level. On an assembly line, this is yet another way of ensuring a safe and ergonomic work environment, eliminating the strain of reaching for an improperly positioned work surface. These advantages carry over to pharmaceutical companies as well, who use adjustable-height workbenches to quickly reconfigure testing and assembly areas depending on the needs of their employees.

    Lift Tables from Unidex

    Lift tables are crucial to the safety and efficiency of many applications in the medical industry, including patient care and medical equipment assembly. Unidex specializes in providing standard and customized material handling manipulators, lifts, and work positioners for a variety of industries. Our expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction enables us to meet even the most challenging material handling equipment needs. For more information, or to get started on your custom lifting solution, contact us today.

  4. Hydraulic Lifts—The Types & Their Uses

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    Hydraulic Lifts—The Types & Their Uses

    In the industrial and commercial sectors, the term “hydraulic lifts” refers to devices that rely on hydraulic pressure to raise or lower personnel and products. They generally feature a cylinder and piston assembly—which extends or contracts depending on the hydraulic pressure—and a platform—upon which the load sits. In addition to being available in a wide range of standard models, they can be customized to meet the requirements of specific applications. 

    Below we provide an overview of the types of hydraulic lifts available, including their unique features, advantages, and use cases. 

    Types of Hydraulic Lifting Machines

    Hydraulic lifts come in several variations. At Unidex, we offer the following types:

    Hydraulic Lift Tables (PH/QL)

    Our hydraulic lift tables are highly customizable, allowing users to make modifications to meet their needs. They have a standard load capacity of up to 500 pounds and lift stroke of 16 inches with standard height capabilities for between 28 inches to 44 inches. Typical applications include automobile servicing and industrial assembly transport carts.

    Types of hydraulic lifting machines

    Portable Hydraulic Lifts (PHL)

    Our portable hydraulic lifts are lightweight, stable, and easy to operate. They have a standard load capacity of up to 250 pounds and can lift loads to a maximum elevation of 48 inches from the floor. These lifting devices accommodate the integration of fixture or tool holders, allowing for assembly or inspection of cantilevered parts. Typical applications include component assembly and transfer, machine feeding, mobile staging, and work positioning.  

    Portable Electric Hydraulic Lift Carts (PE)

    Our portable electric/hydraulic lift carts offer optimal durability, flexibility, and safety for production operations. They feature 12 volt DC power units, options for light-duty, standard-duty, shaft handling, and telescopic variations, and compatibility with a wide range of end tools (e.g., forks, platforms, grippers, and rotators). Typical applications include product assembly and material loading and unloading. 

    Electric Hydraulic Pallet Lifts (TL)

    Our electric/hydraulic pallet lifts are designed for heavy-duty tasks, offering a standard load capacity of 2,000 pounds and a lift stroke of 36 inches. They feature a bolt down design open on three sides that facilitates loading and unloading pallets but also accommodates a variety of end components.  Typical applications include product transferring on assembly lines and work positioning. 

    Electric Hydraulic Positioners (EH)

    Our electric/hydraulic positioners are compact but powerful lifting devices suitable for raising, lowering, and rotating workpieces in fabrication, welding, and assembly operations. They offer standard load capacities of up to 500, 2000, or 6000 pounds and a lift stroke of 60 inches. Typical applications include large and heavy component manufacturing. 

    Electric Hydraulic Workbench Lifts (EHW)

    Our 120 VAC electric/hydraulic workbench lifts are designed for use with heavy loads of up to 500 pounds. They feature a 30-inch by 60-inch worksurface that raises and lowers to the proper working height (between 27 inches and 45 inches) at the touch of a button. Casters can also be integrated for easier positioning. Typical applications include food processing and pharmaceutical production, and general assembly for all industries.

    Electric Hydraulic Person Lifts (EHWP)

    Our electric/hydraulic person lifts are designed for raising and lowering personnel to the desired work height. They are self-supporting and can draw power from any standard 120 VAC outlet. Typical applications include assembly and inspection operations.

    Standard and Custom Lifting Solutions From Unidex

    Hydraulic lifts play a critical role in countless industrial and commercial applications. However, ensuring lifting operations proceed safely necessitates choosing the right lifting device for your facility. For selection assistance, turn to the experts at Unidex. 

    At Unidex, we have extensive experience providing material handling equipment to customers across a diverse set of industries. In addition to our standard hydraulic lifts, we offer customized solutions to end-users with highly specific or unique requirements. To learn more about our lifting products and services, contact us today.  

  5. Critical Applications That Require Ergonomic Lifting Solutions

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    Critical Applications That Require Ergonomic Lifting Solutions

    In the military and defense sectors, the products employed must demonstrate a high level of quality, dependability, and safety. This requirement is true for all materials, machines, and systems, including material handling equipment.  

    Material handling equipment finds applications in many military and defense operations, ranging from the loading and unloading of supplies to the transport of materials from one location to the next. In these often critical and sensitive situations, it’s important the lifting and positioning solutions are designed and manufactured to provide optimal performance without the risk of operator injury.

    The following blog post discusses the importance of integrating ergonomic design into Mil-spec material handling equipment and provides examples of the equipment used in military and defense applications.

    The Importance of Ergonomics in the Military and Defense Industries

    In the workplace, the term “ergonomics” refers to the design and optimization of equipment and a facility’s layout to suit the employees. While it is generally used when referring to offices and warehouses, its principles can be applied to all industries, including military and defense.

    Ultimately, the goal of ergonomic design is to make the workplace safer and more efficient. These benefits then translate to lower risk of operator injury, higher employee productivity, and greater overall morale. Within the military and defense industries, the use of ergonomic material handling systems result in the following:

    Lower Risk of Injury to Life and Limb

    Well-designed lifting and positioning equipment can accommodate large and heavy materials without significant risk to the machine operator. On the other hand, the wrong equipment can increase the risk of employees experiencing back injuries as a result of lifting, handling, or carrying objects.

    Some of the factors that can cause back injury include:

    •   Awkward positioning or posture. When lifting heavy materials, the amount of force acting on the body and where it is concentrated depends on the lifter’s posture and lifting method. Improper lifting or carrying technique may result in excessive force acting on the back, which can cause injury.
    •   Continuous or excessive vibrations. During operation, powered hand tools often generate vibrational force. When used for significant amounts of time or under the wrong circumstances (e.g., in cold environments or by personnel with poor blood flow), the vibrations can cause muscular disorders, muscular spasms, vascular constriction, and other vibration-induced issues.   
    •   Constant or extreme force. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends personnel lift no more than 51 lbs. However, many industry professionals regularly lift more than the recommended amount in their day-to-day activities. These heavier loads cause strain on the body.
    •   Repetitive movement. Operations involving repetitive movement continually put stress and strain on the same muscle groups. Over time, this can lead to inflammation, irritation, and other injuries.

    Faster Operations

    Material handling equipment allows workers to move supplies easily without resorting to manual methods. In doing so, it enables them to complete transportation and distribution operations much faster.

    Better Accommodation of OSHA Regulations

    OSHA regulations dictate safety requirements for workers. Ergonomic equipment generally integrates these standards to enhance worker and workplace safety.

    Common Applications of Material Handling and Lifting Equipment

    Material handling equipment is used to load and unload various military and defense supplies, including engines, tank components, maintenance platforms, cargo doors, wheels, motors, and castings. Some of the typical machines and systems employed for these operations include:

    • Common Applications of Material HandlingYard ramps: These ramps allow workers to move trolleys and wheeled pallets between different heights, such as between a truck and the ground. Without these ramps, workers would have to make repeated lifting and twisting motions that could stress their backs, necks, shoulders, arms, and legs.
    • Drum handling equipment: Product stored in barrels, drums, and other containers typically require transportation or movement to other areas. Using specialized equipment designed for gripping, lifting, and dumping them reduces the risk of injuries related to tugging, lifting, and picking.
    • Tank lifts: Cylindrical tanks are often moved with a two-wheeled dolly. However, improperly secured tanks can fall off and injure the tank’s contents and the operator. Lifting devices with a securing mechanism facilitate safer transportation and lifting operations.
    • Manipulators: Floor-mounted manipulators with articulating arms are often used to pick and place products to build up pallets. Using vacuum cups or gripping arms to lift materials reduces the amount of physical stress experienced by workers.
    • Maintenance platforms: Powered work platforms that adjust to different heights eliminate the need for workers to climb up and down ladders multiple times—often with tools and parts in hand—during maintenance operations.
    • Positioners: During maintenance or rebuilding operations, positioners allow heavy or bulky parts to be lifted and rotated into the proper position.  

    Contact the Ergonomic Equipment Experts at Unidex

    When used in military and defense applications, ergonomic lifting and positioning solutions keep workers safe in a wide range of critical operations. Additionally, they improve efficiency and productivity. For more information about ergonomic material handling equipment, contact the Unidex experts today.

  6. How EH Positioning Systems Power the Aerospace Industry

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    How EH Positioning Systems Power the Aerospace Industry

    Every industry is feeling the crunch to be more efficient, but perhaps none are more stringent than the aerospace sector. Aerospace companies need to be able to easily access and store thousand of unique parts, each type with wildly different dimensions and storage condition demands.

    Static storage and pick shelving are basic solutions, but they take up a lot of space. More complex systems like AS/RS systems, carousels, and gravity flow picking racks are more efficient. Aerospace facilities need material handling and storage solutions that can enable the movement of heavy and high-frequency parts while also being able to handle a wide variety of sizes for tubing, plates, sheet metal, and channels.

    Advantages for Improved Efficiency and Productivity

    Ergonomic Solutions for the Aerospace IndustryInvesting in better equipment handling systems doesn’t just save companies on square footage. Smart solutions also reduce the risk of workplace injuries by automating many lifting and handling tasks. These systems include material handling equipment, portable lifts, and any other equipment used to lift or move materials and inventory.

    With more advanced material handling solutions in place, personnel can easily access vertical and lateral storage spaces and use machinery to move the actual equipment to its destination. Reducing workplace accidents increases employee productivity, reduces turnover, and also reduces the costs of paying for medical fees and temporary staff. It also lets people work faster throughout the entire day.

    Adding positioning tools to the system further increases its efficiency. These solutions allow workers to rotate airplane subassemblies, move them, and easily assemble or inspect the parts.

    Three key benefits of positioning systems specifically include:

    1. Consistent quality. Automated positioning machinery enables accurate, precise, and consistent movements. This ensures that the resulting assemblies and product placements are also accurate.
    2. Increased efficiency. With automated equipment, setup and positioning are faster. It also requires fewer trips to storage shelves to gather all of the necessary components for each assembly. EH systems create even more efficiency because they reduce the amount of direct labor per assembly.
    3. Work flexibility. Smart automated equipment can be trained and retrained on more than one task. It requires less lead time between function changes and can handle more discrete projects or assemblies.

    Common Applications

    The aerospace industry has unique demands that must be considered when sourcing material handling and lifting equipment. These demands include the size of very large and heavy aircraft components, the weight of assembled parts like jet engines, and the complexity of electronic configurations. Some of the most common applications of specialized EH positioning systems include:

    • Equipment to carry jet engines from storage to test cells, such as high-travel lifts and heavy-duty ram lifts
    • Lifting, inspecting, and working on large components
    • Lifts that provide cantilevered work platforms along fuselages
    • Lightweight lifts for manual positioning
    • Platform lifts to position jet engines in recessed pits for inspections and work
    • Portable hydraulic lifts that give workers access to various vertical points along jet fuselages
    • Portable hydraulic tables to carry satellites between storage and launch sites

    Custom Aerospace Solutions from Unidex

    EH positioning systems give personnel in aerospace facilities greater positioning and flexibility to handle complex assembly tasks. These systems can help workers operate on and near heavy and large machinery with reduced risks for injury. They also allow facilities to run more efficiently, have faster tool setup, and have more high-quality, precise arrangements.

    Unidex specializes in providing material handling systems and equipment for manufacturers in a variety of challenging industries across North America. Since 1989, our company has concentrated on creating customized material handling solutions that meet unique challenges. We prioritize an engineer-to-order system that gives companies design options, custom features, and unique material handling functions that best fit the intended application.

    Contact us today to learn more about our material handling systems and positioning systems for aerospace industries.

  7. The Benefits of EH Positioners

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    The Benefits of EH Positioners

    eletric-hydraulic positionersElectric hydraulic (EH) positioners use electric hydraulic pumps and cylinders to create safe and efficient ergonomic lifting processes. One of the most significant benefits provided by EH positioners over alternative devices is the ability to lift and rotate large components or materials. This one capability can widen a facility’s manufacturing capabilities.

    Other benefits include greater durability for equipment, flexibility and versatility in general lifting processes, and greater safety for workers at and around the workstation.

    The Advantages of Electric-Hydraulic Power

    EH positioners offer a range of advantages, such as:

    Ergonomics

    Every workplace needs to consider ergonomics and safe handling when considering new equipment for their facilities. Correctly applied ergonomic choices can reduce the number of injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and potential liabilities.

    Creating a more comfortable work environment for employees also boosts employee morale, productivity, and length of employment terms. Ergonomic EH positioners allow employees to operate heavy duty machinery and complete tasks in more comfortable and healthy positions.

    Controlled Lifting Speeds & Higher Load Capacities

    Safety is equally as important as ergonomics, if not more.

    Efficiency

    Unidex’s ergonomic EH positioners can be customized to fit certain tasks. This customization improves task completion times for a greater overall rate of efficiency. EH positioners also fit in constricted areas, so more units can safely share a limited work floor.
    Dual-Column EH Positioner
    The system that’s implemented at the beginning of construction can be customized to meet both functional requirements and simplicity requirements.

    The ergonomic aspect of EH positioners also leads to increased efficiency. Operators are more comfortable and less likely to experience repetition-related or equipment-related injuries, so the regular pace of completing work will face fewer interruptions.

    Versatility

    Dual EH positioners may be used together to create a positioning system with multiple set controls and actions. They can share a single hydraulic pump so each station can handle multiple routine actions. EH positioners feature a full range of motion—they can rotate 360° to lift or rotate complete workstations. They also feature high loads and the positioner itself has welded steel components that facilitate a long service life.

    Custom Equipment for Versatile Applications

    Operators can use EH positioners in a variety of industries and for multiple applications, though they’re typically reserved for heavy duty tasks. Some common applications include:

    • Lifting dump truck wheel rims
    • Manipulating the orientation of aircraft components for assembly
    • Material handling on shop and sales floors
    • Moving loads and empty skids in a warehouse
    • Rotating, powering, lifting, and spinning jet engines for repairing, assembly, and inspection

    EH positioners can be used in any industry or facility where workers need to transport, lift, or manipulate heavy loads.

    Request Your Ergonomic Solution Today

    EH positioners are ideal solutions for material handling applications across a variety of industries. Operators can move heavy objects or workpieces while reducing or eliminating the risk of repetitive stress injuries and accidents.

    Unidex Inc. is a leading builder and supplier of electric hydraulic positioners and other rotating and lifting tools. We specialize in developing and manufacturing material handling solutions, including:

    EH Ergonomic Positioning Solution

    • Heavy duty workstations
    • Industrial manipulators
    • Mobile lifts
    • Portable lifts
    • Portable tables
    • Adjustable work positioners

    Unidex’s EH Single Column design incorporates linear rails and pillow blocks (as seen on many 3, 4, and 5-axis machines). It also uses gear motors and large geared radial bearings to rotate heavy loads to fit our customer’s needs. There are many safety features included on the EH.

    Our team of experts can help you select and customize the right material handling equipment for your facilities and work needs. Contact us today to learn more about our positioners or other material handling equipment.