Magnet Relieves Lifting Pains

Magnet Relieves Lifting Pains

A SafeHold APL-154 magnet reduces worker back injuries at Custom Engineering.

Employees that worked on the materials-management crew at Custom Engineering, a medium to heavy fabrication and contract machining shop, continually suffered from back injuries. Company supervisors wanted to know why, so they observed the crew at work to determine a solution that would not only improve safety, but would also maintain efficiency.

What the supervisors saw was that materials-management workers moved heavy steel plates with a manual-locking magnet suspended from an overhead crane. These workers often had to reach across plates or climb on top of them to turn the magnet off or on, and it was obvious that practice contributedto the frequency of back injuries.

In addition, to activate this style of magnet, the workers had to brace a foot or hand against the magnet while they pulled back its attached lever, putting them at risk for injuries when the lever propelled back at them.

Management at Custom Engineering determined that its magnet had to be replaced, and consulted Eriez Magnetics (, a manufacturer of equipment and solutions for magnetics, vibratory and inspection applications. Eriez recommended its SafeHold APL-154 permanent lifting magnet that handles loads to 3,600 lb.

Immediately after installing the APL-154, Custom Engineering experienced an increase in production and a decrease in injuries, but none are more appreciative of the ease of operation that the magnet affords than those who work with it every day.

"In this industry, everybody battles back pain, and anything that reduces it is a Godsend," said Mike Monroe, a burner programmer at Custom Engineering.

Besides the reduction in back pain, workers also noted a significant reduction in the amount of time they spend moving scrap and parts with the APL-154. "With the old magnet, we had to precisely measure out the material to place the magnet on the center of the load. With the APL, it's much easier to balance the load. We're able to just estimate the center of the load, lower the magnet into place and quickly lift material," explained Monroe. The APL-154's large footprint makes this possible because it provides more surface contact.

SafeHold APL Series magnets load and unload steel sheets from burn tables or anywhere that limits operator access. They use no slings, hooks or cables and do not damage surfaces. The magnets work by themselves or in multiples on a spreader beam, turn off and on automatically for smooth operation and require no electricity, so power failures do not interrupt operation.

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