Custom Work Platform

Project Types: Custom Applications, Work Platform Applications

Custom Lift Adds Safety and Efficiency for U.S. Air Force Contractor

Executive Summary
A contractor to the U.S. Air Force needed a portable lift system that would accommodate two operators, easily lift and position a very heavy part into a fixture, and have the ability to be driven in and out of the work area. After realizing that several standard lifts and scaffolding would need to be used simultaneously to perform the work, the contractor looked to LPI to build one lift that could do it all, providing their operators with a safer environment in which to work, while increasing efficiency over the current process of using ladders and scaffolding.

Company/Customer Background
LPI worked with a contractor to the U.S. Air Force that performs development & testing of new equipment and frequently has varying types of products that they have to work with in their operations.

Customer’s Challenges
The work area where a lift was needed was a large bay with a pedestal fixture that is designed to hold various products in an elevated position. The work crew was using a combination of ladders, hoists and partial scaffolding, 15 feet in the air to place a heavy part on top of a cylindrical pedestal. In addition to the challenge of positioning the part,  safety was a concern when using straight scaffold sections on a round pedestal.  Ladders, support structure and lifting equipment would need to be repositioned throughout the process while positioning and securing the parts.  Overall the current process was very time consuming and presented some unsafe situations.

As LPI explored possible lift system options with the customers team, LPI’s engineers learned that the lift couldn't be in the room during various operations and testing, creating a need for it to be portable as well as stable enough to support and place heavy loads.  With the part being loaded prior to movement of the platform the best option was to design a track system to move the lift in and out of the bay. The platform needed to be contoured to fit around the pedestal, large enough to safely fit two operators, tools, and the various parts that needed to be fitted.  Even with the contoured platform fitting up against the pedestal, the parts needed to be moved out in front of the platform to be fitted on the pedestal.  To assist with the lifting, extending and positioning of the parts, the upper framework of the platform included a rail guided, overhead chain hoist.  This process was currently being done by operators on ladders, while they lifted the payload with a forklift and positioned the part by hand. 

The customer had looked at scissor lifts, fork lifts, boom lifts, and scaffolds, but none of these options provided a single solution for them. Each of those lifts could solve part of the problem, but not all. For example a standard scissor lift could be used for two operators, but it wouldn't accommodate the payload. A large scissor lift that would hold the payload, but still didn't offer a solution to lift or position the parts on the pedestal and couldn’t get close enough to provide full access without frequent repositioning. 

LPI’s Solution
LPI designed and built a custom lift system that fully meets the customer’s needs, solving the issue of movement in and out of the bay , accommodating the weight of parts and elevation needed for work to be performed, and addressing the process of placing the parts onto the column. 

The lift, designed with a superstructure consisting of four vertical columns mounted on drivebase, incorporated a platform that could be raised and lowered, was contoured to fit around the pedestal and was open on the front side for work access.  The drivebase and track system allowed the workers to load the parts outside the bay, drive the lift up to the pedestal, elevate the platform, load the part and then remove the lift from the bay in order to perform tests on the part.  With a contoured platform that would fit around the pedestal, which could be raised and lowered, the workers could position the platform at the exact height they needed to effortlessly install the parts.  For safe loading of parts on the platform and placement of the parts onto the pedestal, LPI’s engineers designed an overhead, rail guided gantry, which was located 7’ above the working platform.  The rail guided gantry included a  hoist that could lift a 750# part and move it forward or backward.  This allowed the operator(s) to pick up the parts from a transport cart and place them into the lift platform, and then drive the lift up to the pedestal in order to raise the part up to the work height. Once the operator platform is raised, the overhead gantry can lift the part up from the platform floor and position it out in front of the platform, onto the pedestal. The operators then lower the lift and back it out of the room so that testing can begin.

While the initial cost of this solution was slightly higher than the utilizing standard lifts, it solved their challenges with a single unit. LPI’s custom lift solution addressed all of their needs, was much safer and reduced the time needed to do the work.

Impact for the Client
LPI’s approach looked at their entire process and access needs and provided them with a consolidated solution which helped them increase safety and efficiency as well as reduce the number of pieces of equipment they were using.  That also had the benefit of reducing equipment maintenance and the amount of floor space required  to store multiple lifts and scaffolding.  As a benefit from the successful resolution of this project, the customer again turned to LPI’s team to address a different challenge which LPI did and supplied them with another custom solution. 

About LPI
LPI customers count on us, repeatedly, to provide the right solution to their access challenges with standard and custom-designed lifts and platform systems. Our experienced team understands the rigors of industrial processes and is ready for you to challenge us with your application!

LPI is proud of the products we manufacture. From start to finish, we utilize high-quality components to provide reliability, dependability, and durability. Many of LPI’s lift systems fabricated in the early 1990s are still in use today, providing service in industrial settings ranging from blasting and paint booths to welding and assembly areas. Our products are designed to provide maximum operational time with simple and minimal maintenance, backed by LPI technicians and engineers.

To learn more or get a quote on a standard or customized lift system, contact our sales team:, (800)-657-6956.

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