The EZ Lifter positions one of two hydraulic cylinders weighing 50-tons. The cylinder holds parts in place during for hydroforming.
One could say Industrial Erecting Co., Milwaukee, had a lot riding on an installation job. The company won a conditional contract to install one of four large hydroforming presses from Siempelkamp Pressen Systems, Germany at Tower Automotive's Milwaukee facility. If Industrial Erecting successfully installed the first press, it stood a good chance of winning the other three installations from the automotive parts supplier.
The job was a big one. It involved over 200 tons of lifting and separately positioning the press's base, hydraulic cylinders, columns, tie rods, and crown. Guy Fox, general manager at Industrial Erecting, recommended using a Riggers EZ Lifter portable gantry, which can be delivered on a single truck and set up in under two hours. In addition, the product offered a high level of precision and safety because a single joystick on a portable console lets users operate the EZ Lifter's two legs under synchronous control. And a load-management system keeps loads level and safer to handle.
The first lift involved placing the press' 140-ton base in a 20-ft-deep pit, which was pitched to collect and recirculate discharge water. The second lift placed a 30,000-lb., 8-in. bolster plate for holding dies. With lifts three and four, the company positioned two hydraulic cylinders weighing 50-ton each and four support columns.
Once the cylinders and columns were installed, Industrial Erecting used a 70-ton crane to put in the tie rods. The final lift with the EZ Lifter positioned the press' 129-ton crown.
To safely span the pit, while placing the crown, Industrial Erecting designed a platform that could be dropped in on both sides of the foundation. Knowing the EZ Lifter's gantry track system could carry 250 ton, Fox used towers for support from below instead of timers and blocking to safely run tracks across the pit. This design cut setup time on the subsequent installations because it took just a few hours to move and level the towers instead of three days for a cribbing pile.
The major difficulty with installing the crown is aligning it with the tie rods. "You measure so that the crown comes down over the tie rods without hitting the sides of the press," says Fox.
The EZ Lifter's hydraulic beam traveler, which has a 33-ft reach and 225-ton lifting capability simplified the process. Operators picked up a piece and rolled it into approximate position, and then used the beam traveler's three-dimensional movement for precise alignment.
"The EZ Lifter was perfect for what we did. It couldn't have been a much better match," Fox says. "I've done a lot of work with gantries and cranes in setting up presses, and I felt so much more comfortable with this. We ended up being about two weeks ahead of schedule, and were awarded the remaining installations."