A major auto assembly facility added an area for their employees to unload bins of parts and then to turn and assemble the parts into sub-assemblies. To complete their layout the equipment solution needed to satisfy at least three requirements: 1. An ergonomic solution is to keep the employee from bending into the bin to reach bottom layers of parts. 2. Productivity – wasted motion and time was to be minimized as in all LEAN environments. 3. Consume minimum floor space – the aisle space between multiple workstations was very limited and just wide enough to accommodate the operator. There was no room for the tilter to encroach into this operator space during tilting.
The Autoquip Solution
The challenge for American Lifts, manufactured by Autoquip was that the traditional tilters available out in the industry were designed to tilt their load into the operator’s work area as the equipment tilted down. If space isn’t a problem then these traditional tilters work fine. However, this was a problem for the auto assembly line plant and they needed the bin to not take up space in the work area and they wanted to avoid obstruction and danger to the employees on that line.
American Lifts, manufactured by Autoquip, reviewed various equipment option and a creative new tilter was designed (American Tork Non-Intrusive Tilter T1T45) that would translate the platform back away from the operator when tilted. The design minimized the amount of work space lost as the bin by tilting forward and the employee could now reach into the bin in an upright posture rather than to bend over and down into the bin to reach each part. The tilter platform was also equipped with ball transfer decks to permit the ergonomic transfer of empty bins from one workstation to the next. The new tilter included a foot control to allow the operator a “hands-free” operation. These additional features provided greater ergonomics and higher productivity.
The Solution Benefits
In this case, American was the best solution and the only solution. No other tilter offers a “non-impinging” design. This automobile assembly company was able to position a maximum number of workstation tilters to their small “footprint”, and employees work in open aisles and perform at peak productivity through enhanced ergonomics.