Do you have to do a lot of lifting in your work? And is it not always possible to do that in a back-friendly way? Then adjust your working environment and use tools that make it easier for you to lift loads. For example, clever load lifting systems that can be put to versatile use.
Unfortunately, it must be said that in most cases we get backache after behaving incorrectly. The clearest example is how we lift loads. If you keep your legs stiff and straight when lifting a crate of drinks and bend your back to heave it up, you shouldn’t really be surprised if you end up with lumbago.
Lifting loads like this will squash the intervertebral discs into a wedge shape. If you do this all the time, the intervertebral discs will age prematurely. As a result, the disc core is no longer retained in its correct position, it slips back and exerts painful pressure on the nerve fibres in the spinal cord. The vertebral joints can also be affected, with the risk of them getting wedged together when the muscular corset is too weak.
Those who’ve been to a back school know the rules for lifting loads correctly: stand up close to the load in a frontal position, hold your back straight when bending down and bend your knees to lift the load up in a flowing movement close to the body.
It’s not always easy to implement the apparently simple answer: time pressure, workplace design or also knee problems can make it difficult to lift loads correctly. That’s why it makes sense to have machines that do the heavy work, particularly in view of the fact that many loads are so heavy that they cannot be lifted by most average workers. Modern electric cable hoists and vacuum lifters then prove to be valuable helpers. Among others, they should be suitable for individual use, and it should be possible to adapt them to the specific workplace.
Vacuum systems can be used for stacking boxes or bags, loading drums or barrels, laying stone slabs and much more besides. The technical principle is extremely simple: a vacuum is generated between the suction foot of the suction lifter and the item being lifted, so that the air tube is compressed by the negative pressure which makes it possible to move the load. Single prerequisite: as far as possible, the surface must be smooth and impermeable to air. Different suction feet must be provided depending on requirements. An additional rubber sealing skirt can ensure that the vacuum system still works perfectly even when the material is porous.
Vacuum lifters/grippers are available in various designs. They can also be fastened to different suspension systems. Here again it is crucial that the load lifter is not too heavy and has an ergonomic operating handle for both right- and left-handed users. Tools such as hooks, clamping grippers and vacuum tools must be easily changed. Important features include fast vacuum application and release; the load should also turn and swivel easily. Swivelling can be facilitated by a rotary function integrated at the top and bottom of the air tube.
Rope hoists are another possibility for lifting loads with machinery. They are ideal for moving loads weighing up to 120 kg, regardless whether these are boxes, bags, buckets, slabs, panels, drums and barrels or also pallets. They are extremely variable in use when fastened to swivel cranes or other crane systems. The rope hoist itself should not be heavier than about 22 kg to ensure it is easy to use. An ergonomic operating handle is ideal. This can be a one-hand pistol grip or a joystick, which must be designed for both right- and left-handed users.
Quick-change tools such as hooks or clamping grippers help to ensure easy, fast and economical workflows. A quick-change coupling makes it much easier to change the tool as it eliminates any great workload or tooling requirements. The rope hoist should also be designed for easily accessible lifting, turning and swivelling from above or from the sides at a wide range of different angles with fully variable speed control.
Safety aspects play a major role for both vacuum lifters and rope hoists. For example, the load must not be allowed to fall down immediately if there is a power failure. The system must detect the error and be designed to hold the vacuum until the load can be put down safely for man and machine.