The term manual handling covers a wide variety of activities including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying. If any of these tasks are not carried out appropriately there is a risk of injury.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries. These include work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as pain and injuries to arms, legs and joints, and repetitive strain injuries of various sorts.
With this in mind, and as part of its expanding product range, Piab now boasts various handling solutions including ergonomic lifters (Vaculex), vacuum gripper systems (Kenos) and vacuum conveyors all designed to increase efficiency and reduce injuries.
Ergonomic lifting systems developed by Vaculex, and now part of the Piab Group, drastically reduce the problems with repetitive strain injuries, whilst still being able to integrate into existing handling systems –even if this is partly automated or fully manually operated.
The ergonomic lifter solutions allow a high work pace and is extremely flexible making it possible to handle a wide variety of different goods with one type of equipment. The installation of the equipment usually involves only minor modifications to the existing handling layout.
Vacuum gripper systems are designed and optimized to be used in various applications e.g. packaging, wood, food etc. The Kenos range, also now a part of the Piab Group, represents a flexible solution for the handling and manipulation of many products with different shapes, dimensions and compactness.
Most of the gripping systems can be equipped with integrated vacuum generation or suitable for a separate vacuum pump. The integrated vacuum generator is a modular multi-stage COAX® ejector offering easy maintenance and the market's most energy efficient ejector technology.
The foam used on Kenos grippers is made of a technical foam (FDA mat approved available), with different pitch holes and thickness or pads depending on the product to be gripped and on the requirements of the application.
Vacuum conveyors for powder & bulk are also automation-friendly.
Heavy, monotonous and time-consuming manual procedures can be avoided by using automated handling systems, and vacuum conveying lends itself beautifully to automation.
For instance, instead of staff opening the rejected bags of coffee beans and pouring the beans into reclaim vessels from which they can be conveyed back into the packaging process, it is possible to automate the entire process from rejection to reclaim.
Automated bag opening equipment can simply be added to the conveying system. This will help improve the working environment as well as avoiding industrial injuries to the workforce.
Advanced vacuum conveying systems from reputable suppliers also comply with industrial and environmental standards and regulations, and use technology that has been certified or approved by the relevant standardisation bodies or organisations, such as the American Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and/or according to regulations such as the European Union’s ATEX directive.