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What Is Load Float?

Jim Suchor
Area Sales Manager, Central USA Workstation Lifting Systems

Improving the efficiency, safety and ergonomics of material handling

Load float is a capability of workstation air balancers that enables operators to safely, ergonomically and efficiently conduct repetitive, high-cycle material handling tasks. Especially helpful in assembly operations, the load float feature enhances operator movement and promotes precise load positioning, which is particularly beneficial for lifting and placing fragile items.

In contrast to the reactive operation of electric chain hoists or electric servo units, the load float function of air balancers operates in real time, powered 100 percent by compressed air as opposed to electrical power.

The air balancer’s load float capability supports the operator’s natural movements, allowing him to take his hands off the push button pendant and manually move the load. Meanwhile, the pneumatic technology of the air balancer allows the operator to handle objects that typically weigh 100 to 500 pounds each. Combined, this makes loads seem nearly weightless (thus, the term “load float”) and greatly reduces the risk of repetitive motion injuries.

Load float allows the operator to raise, lower and move the object at the speed she chooses. And when the operator removes her hands from the object, it stays in place, as if floating. When necessary, the operator can also switch off the load float function to return to standard up and down control.

Konecranes’ ATB AirBalancer distinguishes itself in the market with load weight compensation technology. Through this technology, the air balancer calculates the weight of the load and moves it proportionally to the air pressure requested. This enables the operator to lift loads of varying weights at the same speed with predictable up and down control. Heavier loads, however, may take a little longer to reach top speed.

The ATB AirBalancer also features an automatic load sensing system, which recognizes the load being lifted and promotes safety by preventing overload.

A wide range of objects can be moved using air balancers, as an array of specially designed gripping devices and manipulators are available to assist operators.

To learn more about load float and how air balancers can improve efficiency, safety, productivity and ergonomics at your facility, contact a Konecranes sales representative today

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