We were challenged to design and build a portable jib crane to be used in an industry manufacturing facility. A manufacturing company had to lift a component that weighed 150 LBs constantly throughout the course of their manufacturing process. This amount of weight is just a little too heavy to handle by hand, but too small to make sense moving constantly with a bridge crane. This required that a custom hoisting solution be created to safely, efficiently, and productively hoist the component through the different manufacturing steps. In addition, the work bays were constantly changing to adjust to the projects, so the crane needed to be portable to keep the flexibility of the manufacturing floor layout.
Solidworks allows every piece of hardware to be put into the model to gain efficiency throughout fabrication and assembly
To design the portable jib crane, we had to consider many variables that included power supply, geometric constraints, code compliance, ergonomics, and ease of use. After careful analysis of the different stakeholder concerns, we were ready to start designing the crane utilizing Solidworks for both component design as well as finite element analysis. Once simulated the various load cases, and calculated the capacity per OSHA, ASME, and CMAA standards we sent our design out for 3rd party verification and Professional Engineer’s stamp.
Our design allows for 360 degree rotation of the main boom, and 320 degrees of rotation of the secondary boom which allows for a compact, fast, and easy to use crane. Because the hoist, as well as the swing brake are air-operated the only power that is required to run the crane is compressed shop air, and the built-in hose reel makes it fast and easy to position it anywhere in the shop and be running immediately, even outside, or in wet conditions.
An additional unique feature that we built into the portable jib crane design was that it has a splice in the main support post. This splice allows it to be disassembled for shipment inside of a standard shipping container. In addition it also makes the manufacturing process easier by allowing the main boom assembly to be built on a bench as opposed to 10’ in the air.
Portable Jib Crane Designed for Lean Manufacturing
The Double Articulating Crane Boom Allows for Working in Tight Areas
The fabrication of the portable jib crane required a wide range of operations ranging from small part machining, large diameter lathe turning, press brake forming, and lots of critical welding. The sequence of work, as well as the manufacturing tolerances had to carefully be analyzed so that we could assure proper functionality after assembly.
Because we always think about how something will be built as we design it, many features were built into the design to aid in the fabrication process to aid in tighter tolerance, and easier part assembly. This includes tab & slot sheetmetal features, Cleco alignment holes, and indexing features to aid in forming sheetmetal components.
After the fabrication was complete a series of load tests were completed across the full range of the crane to proof test both structural and tipping capacity.
In the end, the portable jib crane resulted in a range of improvements in the manufacturing shop that included:
- Increased productivity
- Reduced safety hazards
- Can be used in small rooms or when obstacles don’t allow standard jib.
- Safe and productive operation with minimal training
- Portable with the use of forklift or pallet jack
- Can be outdoors or in wet environments