A manufacturer of insulated power and control cables for use in consumer electronics, aerospace and petrochemical industries was experiencing a drag in productivity and risking injury in its “bunching” application.
Full spools of wire are loaded onto one end of the “buncher” machine, which feeds a specified length of cable to fill a customer order into an empty spool. While being fed through, the cable is inspected as a final quality control station. The spools measure 36-inches in diameter, 24-inches wide, and range in weight from 100 to 600 pounds.
Operators were using an old portable lift with a hand crank winch that helped with the lifting and lowering. However, it still required the operator to push the heavy load onto the turnstile of the machine, an injury risk and source of plenty of worker fatigue.
“Over the course of a day, I probably load and unload 20 times,” said the operator, a woman who has worked this application for 30 years. “We were using a hand crank to lift and lower the spools, but moving them off of there was just as hard on your back as if you were moving it without any tool. You were struggling all day long to keep up.”