How to Get There From Here

With the increase in production of large, heavy molds, moldmakers need a reliable way to move them off the shop floor.

There are many industrial buildings these days that cannot support the installation of an overhead bridge crane due to the light construction of many modern buildings. This is very common in the moldmaking sector, where during recent years the requirement for larger and heavier molds has increased - leaving moldmakers with the challenge of finding a way to handle these profitable yet cumbersome molds.

The handling of molds has always proved challenging, from the loading of raw material onto large milling and boring machines, to the control needed to assemble core and cavity components and to the final assembly and shipping of a completed mold project.

This new and larger breed of molds not only is heavy and cumbersome, but also is very expensive. Careful handling is essential to prevent damage. An affordable solution to this dilemma is a powered gantry crane - which can be considered a portable/mobile bridge crane in that it comprises an overhead beam structure mounted on its own independent legs. The gantry crane can be custom made in any size up to a 50-foot span that is 30 feet high and is capable of loads up to 20 tons. This is comparable with many bridge cranes.

One such gantry crane design has the ability not only to be powered, but also steerable. The patented steerable feature allows the gantry to be power driven in any direction; therefore a relatively small unit can cover more than one bay - something that a bridge crane cannot do. Since the steerable gantry does not require any track or runway, it can be freely moved to other areas of the plant. In addition, the optional adjustable height feature enables it to pass through otherwise restricted areas.

This new powered, steerable gantry that is currently on the market features variable frequency drives for precise control of the load, and when fitted with a wire rope hoist - which also features a variable frequency drive - gives the user optimum precision handling capability. It should be noted that all of these advantages also could be realized by the injection molding companies for loading and unloading molding machines.

As a result, moldmakers do not need to worry about taking on larger products, as the new steerable gantry will allow them to move the results of their hard work quickly and easily.