Motion Control Resources
Fewer heavy lifts in the construction industry
LINAK Posted 11/05/2020
Together with LINAK®, the Danish company Smartlift has developed electric and battery-driven lifts that can lift objects such as panes of glass weighing up to 600 kg. This is a tremendous boost to ergonomics for the people usually lifting these panes by hand.
Working in the construction industry has always been a tough job. As we live longer and stay in the job market longer, there is a growing need to reduce heavy lifting. This is an area where an ingenious Danish manufacturer is paving the way.
Improving ergonomics when lifting windows
When a building needs new windows, builders are often left juggling large glass sections. Inserting the windows by hand is a tough, dangerous and time-consuming job that often requires more than one pair of hands. Back in 2004, Smartlift spotted an opportunity to make lifts do the job instead. Together with LINAK, the lifts have since been refined and the range expanded.
Turning lifts into Smartlifts
A ‘Smartlift’ is, as the name suggests, a smart lift. It works by using the vacuum created by suction cups to fixate the object that needs moving. The object is then very carefully and precisely lifted and positioned in the correct place.
Today Smartlift's product range includes seven lifts – all using electric actuators. Each lift is equipped with five LINAK actuators, which in turn push, lift and tip the objects into place. Depending on the model, the lifts are able to lift objects weighing between 200-600 kg. It is often glass that is lifted, but the lifts can be used for other facade elements too, as long as they have a vacuum-proof surface.
For jobs that require lifting of even heavier objects, Smartlift uses hydraulics. But according to the company's CEO Nicolai Tange Jørgensen, it is the electric lift models that are most in demand:
”Our frontrunners are quite clearly the electric lifts for 400 and 600 kg loads respectively. These lifts can handle the most common jobs in a building project,” Jørgensen explains and continues:
“We're also experiencing that customers prefer the lifts without hydraulics. Electric actuators are much easier to handle, and to replace and repair. This is where oil is much more inconvenient for customers”.
Ergonomics focus improves working environments
According to Nicolai Tange Jørgensen, customers have many reasons for investing in a lift:
”The working environment is clearly high on the list of reasons when customers choose one of our lifts. The lifts can handle heavy jobs and employees spare their physical health by avoiding having to carry large glass panes. Fewer strains mean fewer sick days and greater job satisfaction for the employees."
And it is not just the employees who are protected:
”We're also experiencing a financial incentive behind the decision to buy a lift,” says Jørgensen.
“Not only because you use less man hours for the same job, when you only need one man to put a pane of glass in where before you needed two. There’s also the clear benefit of less waste – there simply aren't as many windowpanes breaking when it's not left to people to handle them".
Future lifts use LINAK® solutions
LINAK has been working with Smartlift ever since the company's foundation in 2004, and the strong partnership between the two has been important as the electric actuators are essential components in the lifts.
”We initially decided to work with LINAK because they had the complete solution we needed. Then our collaboration grew stronger as they were constantly introducing us to new products and opportunities that made our lifts even better," says Nicolai Tange Jørgensen and adds:
"LINAK is incredibly flexible and attentive. When we have a problem, they're always ready with a solution."
When asked about the future, he feels sure that it includes LINAK and some new and exciting projects:
"We already have some interesting development projects going on with LINAK. We have a goal for our lifts to become even more intelligent, and more user-friendly for those who aren't used to using them. We are still only at the beginning stages of these development projects, but I believe that together we will create something quite unique," Nicolai Tange Jørgensen concludes.