Author: Christie Lagowski

Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Pfaff-silberblau Products Perform in “The Miracle of Bern”

Pfaff-silberblau Products Perform in “The Miracle of Bern”

Photo Courtesy of http://www.stage-entertainment.de/

Columbus McKinnon recently supplied Pfaff-silberblau brand products for a new musical venue in Hamburg, Germany. Stage Entertainment constructed the ultra-modern performance venue, “Theater an der Elbe,” capable of holding more than 1,800 spectators for the production of “The Miracle of Bern.”

Stage Entertainment commissioned Columbus McKinnon Engineered Products GmbH, based in Kissing, for the design, project planning and construction of the stage upper machinery and the “iron curtain” for the venue.

For the technical fire-protection equipment and the stage upper machinery, the company invested in tried-and-trusted stage technology from Pfaff-silberblau – our powerful DELTA electromechanical wire rope winches. These winches are designed to move the stage scenery and props quickly and precisely, while ensuring a maximum level of safety for the performers on the stage in accordance with the safety regulations for public performance venues BGV C1 and DIN 56950.

For the daily performances of the musical, more than 28 DELTA winches are used. Designed for loads between 650 kg and 1,500 kg, they move stage scenery and props with a speed of 1.2 m/sec and approximately 8 km of wire rope. The winches are anchored in a fly loft, which Pfaff-silberblau designed, produced and installed to meet specific customer requirements. Altogether, Pfaff-silberblau engineers installed a total of 15 tons of structural steelwork for the theatre’s fly loft. This is a great example of Pfaff’s products at work in a tough and challenging application.

Christie Lagowski
Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Santa Fe Springs Warehouse and Training Center Serve West Coast Market

Santa Fe Springs Warehouse and Training Center Serve West Coast Market

Santa Fe Exterior

Whether you’re located in the eastern United States or the northwest region of Canada, Columbus McKinnon is nearby. With warehouses located in Atlanta, Georgia; Tonawanda, New York; Edmonton, Alberta and Cobourg, Ontario, Canada; we are strategically located to meet the needs of customers across North America.

Further improving our ability to serve our customers, we recently opened a new warehouse and training center in Santa Fe Springs, California, to ensure product availability and local training for the west coast market.

“With its close proximity to Long Beach Port in California, Santa Fe Springs is strategically located to serve our customers in the entire West Coast market,” said Randy Lewis, General Manager – Warehouse Operations. “With 30,000 square feet, the new warehouse facility has twice the space as our previous location in Santa Fe Springs. That means we can stock more product and in greater volumes.”

The larger facility has not only allowed us to increase standard stock levels of a broader product selection, but also provides a more efficient layout. And, because incoming and outgoing containers can be unloaded more proficiently and inspected thoroughly, our customers receive their product sooner and with fewer errors.

As part of the new warehouse we also opened a training center to meet the growing need and request for CMCO entertainment training classes on the west coast. The space is designed to accommodate larger classes, provide ample room to display product and allow students to get hands-on training with our hoists and rigging equipment. The Santa Fe Springs location also acts as our west coast sales office which means we can service our regional customers better.

Together, our new Santa Fe Springs training center and warehouse will help us better meet the needs of our Channel Partners and end users on the West Coast, ensuring they get the products and training they need when they need it.

Christie Lagowski
Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Columbus McKinnon now Better Equipped to Support Customers in Asia

Columbus McKinnon now Better Equipped to Support Customers in Asia

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Columbus McKinnon China officially opened its new facility in Hangzhou, China, on August 21, 2014. Many of our valued customers and distributors witnessed the event, alongside nearly 200 CMCO Asia Associates.

Columbus McKinnon invested $6.4 million in the new facility. This investment will enable a 40% increase in capacity and give us the ability to manufacture additional western-designed products in China such as Global King wire rope hoists for the Asia-Pacific region.

Besides capacity improvements, Columbus McKinnon established the first regional Endurance Test Center in the new Hangzhou facility. This facility enables us to shorten the time to market for products designed in Asia.

At the facility’s grand opening event, Tim Tevens explained that “For 140 years, Columbus McKinnon Corporation has focused on continually exploring ways to grow and strengthen our company. We have made investments around the world to broaden our reach into markets that require safe and productive lifting of heavy loads. From continent to continent, we have established a meaningful presence and competed to be the best in those markets. Along the way, we have also developed capable products to help our customers work safely and productively.”

For CMCO China, the opening of this new facility is a significant milestone and marks a new era for the region. The bigger, more modern facility improves our production processes, boosts CMCO’s corporate presence in the region and allows us to better service our customers throughout the Asia Pacific market.

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Christie Lagowski
Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Yale Lifting Solutions Works to Improve Mine Safety

Yale Lifting Solutions Works to Improve Mine Safety

During trials

Yale Lifting Solutions, a subsidiary of Columbus McKinnon, has developed a product that significantly enhances safety and efficiency in underground mines. Located in South Africa, Yale Lifting solutions specializes in material handling needs of the mining industry and was well-suited to provide expertise for this application.

PHOTO 1 RE-RAILING DEVICE WITH TAURUS JACK

An Unsafe Practice
In underground mining operations, locomotives and hoppers operating on rails are used to transport ore and other materials. Derailing is a common occurrence, and getting the unit back onto the rails can be a very time consuming and extremely dangerous process. A common long-standing practice is to repeatedly jack up the locomotive and push it, until it’s close enough to be dropped onto the rails. Needless to say, this re-railing method is very unsafe.

A Better Way Of Doing Things:
The Taurus Jack & Re-Railing Device
Yale Lifting Solutions recognized the current re-railing practice as unsafe, and developed a patented re-railing device that could be used in conjunction with their existing Yale Taurus Jack.

The Yale re-railing device is placed across the rails. The Taurus Jack is then positioned on it and used to raise the front of the locomotive. After the unit is raised, the re-railing device can be manually operated to carefully move the locomotive sideways to align it with the tracks below. Once in place over the rails, the locomotive or hopper can be gently lowered on the rails using the Taurus Jack.

The re-railing device had to meet special weight and size requirements so it could be easily stored in the cab of the locomotive. One-person operation was also extremely important because sometimes train derailment occurs in a remote area of the mine and the locomotive operator has to re-rail the locomotive on their own.

After months of fine tuning, Yale Lifting Solutions’ re-railing device was approved by the mines and is now being requested at a rapid rate. This application story is a great example of how CMCO’s commitment to improving safety and partnering with customers can help solve unique challenges with practical solutions.

Christie Lagowski
Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Pfaff-silberblau Lifting Systems Help Boost Safety for Montreal’s Metro System

Pfaff-silberblau Lifting Systems Help Boost Safety for Montreal’s Metro System

Montreal’s metro system, “STM”, is Canada’s busiest underground transportation system. In 2006, the Canadian provincial government of Quebec decided, as a measure to reduce the number of private cars on the roads, to extend local public transport facilities by 16%. Montreal undertook this project in the metropolitan area, which soon led to a 22% increase in the use of local public transportation.

To transport the additional passengers quickly and comfortably, modern trains were ordered from a consortium made up of the two leading train manufacturers, Bombardier and Alstom. In total, an order was placed for approximately 468 MPM-10 trains, each consisting of nine coupled carriages.

These trains run on quiet, low-vibration rubber tires rather than on steel wheels. Since safety is exceptionally important where railways are concerned, the bogies (wheel sets) have to be serviced and replaced at regular intervals. To accomplish this, a system capable of lifting the entire train with all nine carriages in sync (+/- 3mm) would be required. This system would be installed at the Youville depot, which is where trains used for the STM system are serviced.

Choosing a lifting system
As far back as 2008, a team of external consultants began researching and examining lifting equipment to determine what would be most suitable for this massive undertaking. The team visited reference installations of the world’s leading lifting system manufacturers to find the best option. During a trip to Europe, Pfaff-Silberblau invited this team to Austria, where they were particularly impressed by the underfloor lifting system used by the Wiener Linen (Vienna Lines). This lifting system had been supplied a few years prior by Pfaff-silberblau. Some of the most important parameters and features of this lifting system, which up to that point was the longest of its kind, were later incorporated into the specifications for the system required at the STM Youville depot in Montreal.

It took until 2011 for the project team to put out an official bid for an underfloor lifting system and two turntables. Many of the original competing companies had to drop out, either on account of technical and financial deficiencies or due to the lack of references for similar systems. For these reasons, Pfaff-silberblau Rail Technology in Kissing was awarded the contract later that year.

Designing the lifting system
After winning the bid, Pfaff-silberblau went through a variety of steps before their system could be put into place. This included: technical and commercial consultations, the design and manufacturing of the system, a factory acceptance test by STM and construction of a prototype.

Project at a Glance

Number of wheel lifting platforms

18

Number of body supports

36

Lifting capacity of the system

306 tons

Lifting height of the system

1.7 meters

Length of the system

160 meters

The system had to be designed in accordance with the European standard for vehicle lifting platforms EN1493, while at the same time observing North-American welding and electrical standards. The STM planning team also used key data from Pfaff’s lifting system used by the Wiener Linen to develop specifications for the Youville depot.

To build the system, Pfaff had to work closely with Canadian suppliers. This entire process proved to be challenging given the multi-lingual global project team. Pfaff-silberblau was able to complete the project to the customer’s detailed specifications and within the predefined time schedule and plan.

Installing the system
Once constructional pre-conditions had been met at the Youville depot and the foundations were built, the installation commenced in late 2013. At this time, Pfaff shipped the lifting system to the customer, which included 18 containers measuring 40 feet long with a combined weight of 280 tons.

The lifting system was installed under the strict scrutiny of the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Throughout the entire duration of the installation, there was neither an accident nor a negative report issued by health and safety officials. The delivery of the new trains began in May 2014.

Christie Lagowski
Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
The CM Man Guard: CSA Approved for the Canadian Market

The CM Man Guard: CSA Approved for the Canadian Market

CM Man Guard

Columbus McKinnon recently launched the CM Man Guard electric chain hoist with CSA approval for the Canadian market. To explain the importance of CSA approval and discuss the features of this great hoist, we interviewed our Canadian National Sales Manager, Chris Siabanis.

What is CSA approval?

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is an independent third-party testing and certification organization. CSA tests products and their components, as well as audits manufacturing processes to ensure products meet or exceed the necessary codes, specifications and accredited standards for sale into the Canadian marketplace. Products must be CSA approved to be sold in Canada.

Since its launch in September 2011, the CM Man Guard has been well-received in the U.S. So, we felt that it would be an excellent addition to our Canadian product portfolio as well. That’s why we pursued CSA approval.

What are the key features of the CM Man Guard?

CM Man GuardKnown for reliable performance and best-in-class safety features, the CM Man Guard is a competitively priced hoist option and is available in capacities ranging from 1/4 to 3 tons with standard lifts up to 20 feet. It also has a lifetime guarantee.
Some key features of this hoist that are most important to customers include:

  • H4 duty motors that allow the hoist to be used in high-duty-cycle environments. We are able to achieve H4 duty rating using higher quality components and do not require the aid of a fan to cool the motor, unlike competitors’ hoists.
  • Efficient low-cost operation that saves you money. The Man Guard’s specially engineered motor and precision-machined gearing reduce the electrical demand required to operate the hoist. Single-phase and three-phase amp draws are, on average, 50% less than the equivalent competitors’ models. Less electrical demand per hoist can add up to big operating cost savings.
  • Made in the USA and stocked in Canada ensuring availability. Manufactured in our Damascus, Virginia facility, these hoists and repair parts are readily available for delivery from our Canadian warehouses located in Cobourg, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta.

What is ISG and what are the benefits to the customer?

Aside from all its great features, the CM Man Guard is part of our In-Stock Guarantee (ISG). Our In-Stock Guarantee (ISG) is our commitment to shipping our most popular chain, hoists and rigging products in 3 days or less. The CM Man Guard is our first electric chain hoist available through ISG, with more than 40 models in-stock and ready to ship, including 575V 2-speed units. This is a game changer for the industry.

Man Guard models available through the In-Stock Guarantee include:

  • Hook mount 1/4, 1/2, 1 and 2 ton units with 10, 15 and 20 foot lifts at 16 fpm
  • Hook mount 3 ton units with 10, 15 and 20 foot lifts at 5 and 10 fpm

Are there new features or changes coming soon for the CM Man Guard?

We are currently developing a lug mount for the CM Man Guard that can be used with the Universal Trolley. The UT Trolley allows you to use one trolley with a variety of CM air and electric chain hoists. It provides flexibility with inventory while reducing the need to stock trolleys for each model of CM chain and air chain hoist you use or carry, including the Man Guard.

For more information on the CSA Man Guard, visit our website.

Christie Lagowski
Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Crane Compliance: Are all cranes regulated by OSHA?

Crane Compliance: Are all cranes regulated by OSHA?

CRANE Power Mast There is some confusion in the industry regarding crane configurations and the application of OSHA regulations. In a recent article in Industrial Lift & Hoist Magazine, Tom Reardon, one of Columbus McKinnon’s training managers, discusses the issue and provides clarification for crane users.

OSHA 1910.179(a)(1) states that “A ‘crane’ is a machine for lifting and lowering a load or moving it horizontally…” As most overhead cranes can fit into this description, they tend to get grouped together and are assumed to be subject to OSHA’s regulations. This is not the case.

OSHA 1910.179(b)(1) defines the types of cranes that fall under its regulations –these regulations do not apply to underhung cranes, overhead hoists or monorails, which are covered by ANSI B30.11 and ANSI B30.16.  As a general rule, if both the crane bridge and trolley hoist travel on top of a rail or equivalent, the crane is subject to OSHA 1910.179 regulations. If any load-bearing member of a crane or monorail travels on an internal or external lower flange or equivalent, it is not subject to OSHA regulations.

Even though these types of cranes are not regulated by OSHA 1910.179, ASME and ANSI both have standards regarding the construction, installation, maintenance, inspection and safety of these cranes. OSHA may use the standards set forth by organizations like ANSI and ASME to regulate these cranes under its general duty clause. OSHA will issue a General Duty Citation for serious circumstances where employees are exposed to hazards that present a substantial probability of death or serious injury.

Therefore, when using cranes, it is important to understand the regulations your specific crane falls under and the steps you need to take to ensure your employees are safe and your crane is in proper working order. To read Tom’s full article regarding this topic, visit ILH online.

Christie Lagowski
Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
The Low-down on Plate Clamp Inspection and Operation

The Low-down on Plate Clamp Inspection and Operation


Crane & Rigging Hot Line
recently published an article on plate clamp inspection and operation based on a presentation given by one of Columbus McKinnon’s corporate trainers, Chris Zgoda, at the ACRP Conference in San Antonio, TX.  Below are a few of the highlights:

Plate Clamp Operation
Plate clamps are most often used to lift and move steel plates from both horizontal and vertical positions. CM’s clamps operate through a self-actuating spring that engages when the clamp is attached to a plate. When using plate clamps, it is important that the load is close to the clamp’s working load limit – weighing no less than 20 percent of the clamp’s working load limit.

Inspecting a Plate Clamp
Lifting clamps are just like any other piece of machinery and therefore require frequent inspection and maintenance. Clamps should be inspected every one to four weeks, depending on frequency of use. Plate clamps should be degreased and cleaned regularly and should be lubricated as needed to ensure smooth operation. When inspecting clamps it is important to check the teeth, handle, shell plates and other components like bolts, nuts and chain.

To read the full article in Crane & Rigging Hot Line, click here.

Christie Lagowski
Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.