The Versatile Stacker Crane
Published by : Industrial Automation
The Stacker Crane is a unique innovation catering to material handling challenges with heavy loads and large size products.
Optimum utilisation of space by value and floor area is critical whether it is a warehouse or a manufacturing facility. This is particularly pertinent in metros, with the spiralling cost of land and construction or an existing facility with limited space availability. While there are many types of material handling equipment available in the market, some requirements need special solutions, customised to suit the exact purpose. Enter the stacker crane, indigenously designed and manufactured by ElectroMech. Introduced in 1993, the second iteration of the original design features a slew bearing for smooth operation, and boasts of many global references.
The stacker crane is a combination of an EOT crane and a forklift. The stacker crane offers several operational advantages like movement in narrow aisles as compared to the space required by a forklift to manoeuvre. The stacker crane is supported by the racks without needing additional structures. Being electrically operated, the emission of harmful exhaust fumes is avoided. Further, there is no downtime required to charge batteries. The structure of the system with a crane mounted on the racks is inherently safe with no danger of tipping over.
ElectroMech’s stacker crane is the solution of choice for swift retrieval and stocking where large volumes of raw material, components or finished goods are stored. These cranes can be customised to the user’s requirement for optimum space utilisation and efficient warehousing operations. A large variety of products can be stored in different racks across different levels using the stacker crane. This allows effective storage and retrieval with highest safety.
The stacker crane proves to be useful in various sectors, viz., automotive, steel, foundry, forging and manufacturing. Its serves as a great equipment with many benefits for storage of components like gearboxes, motors, farm equipment, automotive dies, tyre moulds and more.
Challenges & solutions
For customers who need to store steel pipes and tubes, the stacker crane has proven to be the most efficient and useful product. The stacker crane supplied to one such customer was designed for 2T lifting capacity, spanning across a width of 18-metre shed and covering a travelling length of 50 metres. The bundles of steel tubes and pipes can be very easily stored and retrieved from the racks without any difficulty. The additional advantage to the customer is that the fork can be spread inwards and outwards to accommodate long and short tubes in the storage racks.
The stacker crane offers benefits like uniform capacity at all heights, without any deration. It also provides higher safety while manoeuvring loads, especially larger and voluminous products. The narrow aisle width is achieved due to compact design which ensure better space utilisation for a given storage area.
The stacker crane finds its use in multitude of applications. Another noticeable application is for a steel foundry, for storage and retrieval of large patterns and fixtures. This customer to which the product was offered, is into manufacturing of valves, hydraulic casings, and castings for mining equipment. These products are manufactured in batch quantities using the patterns and fixtures.
Based on the volume of the business and product portfolio, the customer had higher quantities of patterns that needed to be stored in a dedicated storage area. The size of these large metal patterns was approximately 2.5m x 2.9m in width and depth. The weight of these patterns accounted for 4.5T each.
The stacker crane solution finds it success over other equipment, where the weight and product dimensions are non-standard and cannot be handled with standard material handling equipment like forklifts.
With the help of the automated stacker crane, these products were easily stored in the heavy-duty racking systems, also supplied by ElectroMech as a turnkey solution. This enhances the storage density of a stores, reduces the aisle width, and makes the store efficient due to its automation.
The stacker crane effortlessly lifts heavy loads and stores them up to its last loading level, even at heights exceeding 12 metres from the ground level.
The benefits of stacker cranes are as below:
- Uniform lifting capacity and no capacity deration
- Easy storage of large sized products
- Maximum utilisation of available space
- Optimised aisle width
- Warehousing automation and integration with ERPs, and
- No hydraulics, making it easy for maintenance & service.
ElectroMech offers the entire package as a turnkey solution including:
1. Stacker cranes
2. Racking system
3. Product automation with IoT
4. Forklifts and pallet trucks for movement outside stores, and
5. Remote monitoring systems.
Since its inception in 1979, ElectroMech has carved a reputation for itself as one of the leading brands in the material handling industry. ElectroMech focuses on rendering well-engineered material handling solutions for various industry sectors. The company is known as one of India’s largest manufacturers and service providers in the vertical of industrial overhead cranes.
Apart from standard industrial cranes, ElectroMech also offers forklifts and lift trucks in association with Hyster Yale, USA.
The latest from ElectroMech is the Wireless Asset Management solution, the Yale Vision, which can drive fleet efficiency, improve operator performance, reduce carbon footprint and lower the overall material handling cost for users. The Yale Vision portal can be accessed via desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone – anywhere with an internet connection – and one can see every truck in the fleet that’s been equipped with the compact and rugged telemetry module. The system communicates via cellular or Wi-Fi connection to the secure Yale Vision portal, and can also connect with lift trucks of other brands, making it a true IoT application in forklifts and lift trucks. A customised dashboard handles the data analysis, providing clear, concise and interactive reports to enable assessment of fleet performance, efficiency and operator performance. E-mail notifications can be configured to make you aware of truck impacts, OSHA checklist faults, and diagnostic trouble codes as they occur.
Yet another recent addition is the Robotic reach – a dual-mode, pantograph robotic reach truck from Yale. This is a first of its kind, capable of autonomously storing and retrieving loads from locations over 30 feet high to maximise vertical storage space and address labour shortages. The robotic solution can service double-deep pallet storage and offers a 3,500 pound capacity rating, ideal for distribution centres challenged with inventory growth. It runs with zero, partial or full integration with facility warehouse management systems (WMS), and is scalable, with the ability to take on small tasks and expand as operational requirements grow.
When it comes to stores, warehousing automation and material storage in racks, ElectroMech specialises in making storage and retrieval of non-standard products extremely easy and efficient. The stacker crane has proven to be a unique innovation and has catered to material handling challenges involving heavy loads and large size products. There are various industry segments which have opted for the stacker crane as a solution for their material storage challenges. The prospects customers are looking for a one stop shop to get all their material handling needs fulfilled. Hence, supplying stacker cranes, with heavy duty racking system, warehousing automation, and right combination forklifts and lift trucks contribute towards customer delight.