Power Lifters for Loading CNC Tables

Loading panels onto your CNC equipment can be hard work. Consider lift equipment to save labor (and avoid injuries). November 11, 2006

I'm in the process of preparing my shop for a new Komo, which is our first CNC. Presently, we use a vertical Hendrick panel saw and struggle with loading melamine panels. I'm looking for input from anybody that has gone to nested base processing about how they handle loading the CNC safely. I've always got my fingers crossed that I don't get a L&I claim for a back injury. I'm looking at a Smalze lift with a 14' jib crane. Is it worth the space and money (approximately 10K)? Will it improve productivity or allow me to hire only strong operators? A big day for us would be 25-30 panels.

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor L:
When I bought my Busellato router, I also installed a Tawi vacuum lift. We never looked back. While you may question if this is a worthwhile purchase, we could not get along without it. It allows one man to load material from multiple stacks of material on the floor. You will find a yield benefit from wider material and the vacuum lift allows one man to easily position 5x10 on the table. In this day and age, it is also a benefit to be able to ramp up the speed that you can kick out a job that was approved at the last minute. I would also consider a panel cart that can rotate sheets to 90 degrees, because you will need to cut some materials good side up and some good side down. This will have to be a manual process with 2 men pulling from the pile and positioning on the cart for flipping for good side up or good side down depending on how the mill stacks its sheet goods.

From contributor A:
We use Schmalz lifts, both rail and gib crane on all our routers. I personally prefer the jib crane, because it gives you a greater area to work with. Before purchasing the lifts, we had an operator and a helper. We eliminated the helper and eliminated the chance of an operator breaking his back and all the health costs associated with it.

The moment you use more than one operator on a machine, you're losing money. Schmalz lifts are very well built lift systems. They have great support and I have not had any problems since we purchased them 6 years ago.