Cascade Canada required a Conveyor System for Forklift Attachments
Client: Cascade Canada Corporation
Project: Conveyor system for forklift attachments
The Cascade Corporation is an international manufacturer of quality handling materials for lift trucks, including forklift forks and attachments.
Cascade Canada needed a new tooling conveyor system for their Guelph facility that would move product efficiently, address safety and ergonomic issues and combat the significant wear and tear abrasive items were causing to roller surfaces. The system had to move heavy steel bars weighing 160-500 lb. a piece, with thicknesses ranging from 30-60 mm and widths from 40-150mm. The challenge was to create a device that could move any cross section successfully.
Before the new system was put in place, tasks were performed manually, which led to safety and ergonomic concerns – employees complained about shoulder and back pain and other physical issues stemming from lifting and moving the heavy bars. Automating the process was the best approach to avoiding injury.
“Almac came up with a very slick solution,” says Sinadin Pajic, Cascade manufacturing engineer. “The system was designed to move bars automatically onto the conveyor or working station where the operator is working. There is no need for the operator to manually touch the bars; with a simple touch of a button, they can to rotate it by 90˚ and send it down the line.”
After the initial meeting, Almac president and his team of engineers presented their solution, and their comprehensive proposal won them the project.
“Out of all the companies bidding for the work, Almac was the obvious choice,” says Pajic. “Overall, the concept they presented and the amount of detailed information they provided made it clear they understood our needs and really knew what they were talking about. The other proposals were all much too vague – when you don’t get enough info at that stage, you can be up for an unpleasant surprise down the road.”
Almac started off by creating a working model to prove the concept to Cascade stakeholders. The clients were invited to come to Almac headquarters in Aurora to examine it, making the final product much easier to visualize, refine and test. The clients found this step very helpful. When the model was approved, the system was built and installed – after testing, it worked according to plan, with no adjustments required from the initial revision.
The specialized system accommodated the highly abrasive load with extra-large, core-hardened rollers designed to withstand abrasion, and addressed extreme weight with heavy-duty steel structures built to handle thousands of pounds.
According to Cascade, collaborating with Almac was easy – they were agile and responsive, unlike previous contractors, who were often very slow or reluctant to provide information or make requested changes.
“The lines of communication were always open,” says Pajic. “They were always willing to do whatever was required to meet our needs.”
But, ironically, one thing Pajic was particularly impressed with is Almac’s ability to say no. Unlike some contractors, who will say yes to anything despite not having the knowledge or experience to complete it properly, Almac is comfortable letting their clients know if something is not their specialty. The result is a quality end product – and a confident client.
Almac Industrial Systems – Fork FlipperAlmac Industrial Systems – Fork Flipper
The tooling conveyor has been running without issue since day one, and overall, Cascade is extremely satisfied with their new automated system. In fact, Almac is currently working on two new systems for their Guelph facility.
“Working with Almac was smooth and we will definitely continue the relationship,” says Pajic.