Columbus McKinnon Corp. has introduced its Unified Industries brand ProPath Automated Workstation Crane. The ProPath combines lightweight Enclosed Track Aluminum (ETA) Rail Systems and semi- or fully automated “smart” material handling solutions to increase the safety, productivity and uptime of facilities.
Two automation configurations are available for varying levels of control, which can include wireless communication, positioning components, and diagnostics and analytics for efficient, precise operation. The Company’s Magnetek brand semi- and fully automated control systems are integrated to minimize wasted operator effort and enable efficient manufacturing processes. Each ProPath Automated Workstation Crane is configured per the application to maximize performance.
In its semi-automated configuration, also known as auto-dispatch, the ProPath enables automated movement, while also utilizing human assistance for precise actions. Movement is initiated via Magnetek brand radio remote controls or pendant pushbutton stations, while IMPULSE Variable Frequency Drives power the bridge, trolley and hoist motions. As the crane travels to designated locations, operators are free to work on other critical tasks rather than manually guiding the crane and its load.
Intelligence built into the fully automated ProPath manages the flow of materials throughout the manufacturing process, requiring limited human interaction beyond initial setup. Accurate, repeatable processes reduce idle time, provide consistent operation, and improve cycle times. This higher level of automation provides continuous analytics and diagnostics to keep operators informed of system status at all times. System feedback means maintenance can be planned to minimize downtime. Variable frequency drives monitor parameters such as hook height, load status and speed throughout the process.