FIPA Inc., a leading manufacturer of advanced vacuum technology, gripper systems, air nippers, tube lifters, and End-of-Arm-Tooling (EOAT), exhibited and demonstrated its innovative and extremely customizable FIPALIFT tube lifting technology solutions for sheet metal processing applications at FABTECH 2015 — North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing event — which took place November 9–12 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Developed to enable fast, efficient, and ergonomic material logistics workflows, FIPA’s manually guided FIPALIFT tube lifters are available in three options: Basic, Smart, and Expert. Expert vacuum tube lifters allow a single person to safely lift, transport, and precisely position up to 639.34lbs (290kg) of sheet metal in a short cycle time and with minimal physical exertion, and can handle structured, smooth, oily, dry, non-magnetic, and even hot metal sheets without the risk of dents, scratches, or exposure to paint-impairing substances. Characterized by their ease of use, uncomplicated handling, sturdy construction, high reliability performance, and vast customization capabilities, FIPALIFT Expert tube lifters eliminate laborious, accident-prone, and economically inefficient manual handling processes in harsh production environments — even for heavy or awkwardly shaped sheets that would otherwise require the combined efforts of two or more people or expensive robotic lifting equipment.
“Modern CNC-laser cutting systems, punching machines, and other sheet metal processing machines are highly efficient. However, the loading and unloading of the metal sheets fed into these machines is still typically conducted by hand, which is both inefficient and dangerous. So, we designed FIPALIFT technology to extend the same high efficiency and improved productivity performance benefits to the material logistics portions of sheet metal processing operations,” said Rainer Mehrer, president of FIPA. “The FIPALIFT also eases the physical demands on employees in such operations, which both significantly improves working conditions and results in higher economy; as, according to popular research, one in every 17 people employed in 2013 was unable to work for some duration due to back problems.”
The standard version of the FIPALIFT Expert tube lifter has a standard controller, a lift height of 8.2’ (2.5m), a single suspension, and a lifting capacity spanning 66.14lbs (30kg) to 507.06lbs (230kg), but is available with several additional options, including: a double unit that increases the lifting force to 639.34lbs (290kg), automatic shutoff of the vacuum supply, a wireless remote control for shutting off the vacuum supply, rust-resistant stainless steel designs for use in the corrosive environments and the food industry, a silencing box to reduce the noise level at the vacuum pump, and both fixed and flexible elongated control units and accessory and fitted crossbeams for handling large plates. Fixed elongated controllers are available in lengths spanning 19.65” to 47.24” (500–1,200mm), and flexible versions measure up to 62.99” (1,600mm).
In addition to the FIPALIFT Expert, FIPA also offers Smart and Basic FIPALIFT options. The FIPALIFT Smart is ideal for the rapid relocation of light to medium weight loads, and is especially suitable for palletizing and picking cartons and boxes, and the FIPALIFT Basic extends the safety and efficiency benefits of FIPALIFT technology into smaller operations as a result of its flexibility and affordability. All three FIPALIFT tube lifters are extremely customizable, and are compatible with the entire range of FIPA vacuum, gripper, and EOAT technology, accessories, and adapters, which allows them to handle nearly any conceivable load in an almost unlimited range of industries and applications, including sheet metal processing, carpentry workshops, the chemical industry, and even food production.
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