J&B Equipment has installed a circular crane and other systems to lift jet engines for testing at an aerospace company. Acco Material Handling Solutions LLC, a manufacturer of material handling products, including cranes and hoists, provided the solution.

The scope of work covered design and installation of a system for moving jet engines to and from test cells. The principle challenge was that the engines needed to be moved quickly, slowly, and with great precision at various stages of the testing process. Of course, safety was the paramount concern throughout material handling operations.

J&B designed a carrier (blue) for the jet engines, which was lifted by the circular crane system.

The solution was a Louden monorail, a circular (360-degree curve) and other cranes, a customized carrier, and work-rated hoists. Variable speed control was provided for the crane and carrier travel, while two-speed controls for the hoists facilitated lifting and lowering operations. Weston-style mechanical load brakes and multiple carrier travel limit switches provided added safety.

John Jones, district sales manager at Acco, explained that the circular crane was used to rotate the jet engines into position before it interlocked with the monorail system to transport the load to other areas of the facility. The equipment is exposed to cold conditions in the building and the mind-blowing thrust generated by the engines during testing also had to be factored into the material handling equation.

Jones said: “This type of innovation is possible only because we partnered with J&B and collaborated our ideas with theirs. Our distributors are not just people we take orders from; they are our partners. J&B received an inquiry from the end-user and brought the challenge to us. We then combined with them to make a system that would meet the customer’s stringent requirements—safely and efficiently. There is always a lot of back and forth at this stage to innovate and create new solutions for special applications.”

He added: “All of our products are manufactured to specific project requirements but many components are a standard design, emphasizing the important role the dealer plays in tailoring a solution for the end-user. J&B, for example, takes those products and, as we like to call it, provides the ‘magic’, like the special carrier device for the jet engine.

The end-user and location of the project were not disclosed.

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