Telescopic handler add-on module Litocran passes trial by fire
An innovative add-on module for telescopic handlers and loading cranes is currently revolutionising assembly technology in the window and façade construction industry: the eT-Litocran700. It combines the practical features of a telescopic handler with the fine-tuned control of a vacuum lifting device. This helps façade construction specialists achieve unprecedented speed, precision and agility in the last few centimetres of installing sensitive elements at lofty heights with minimum manpower. The ‘red gazelle’ underwent its trial by fire during a challenging new construction project in the immediate vicinity of the supplier euroTECH in Rosenfeld.
The idea of using vacuum lifters on building areas is not new. There are numerous devices that can be hung on cranes or even mounted on forklifts or telescopic stackers to move loads on construction sites. However, experienced window and façade construction specialists know that successful installation of elements is decided on the last few centimetres. Unfortunately, standard equipment often lacks the necessary precision and 360-degree 3D mobility. Another issue is that window elements must be installed from the inside to the outside. This is also the reason why ‘glass manipulators’ or ‘glass robots’ are often used. They pick up the glass elements inside the building to assist with their placement. The only way to accomplish this task is to transport elements and machines into the building, which is time-consuming and costly. During early construction, this is still relatively easy. However, if the building is already finished and possibly has raised floors for IT and communication technology, the weight of the machines in combination with the glass usually exceeds the load-bearing capacity of the floor and its covering.
The perfect solution for outdoor installation
The best way to install glass and façade elements quickly and easily with the least amount of manpower is through outdoor installation. This requires an assembly module that combines four elements into one functioning unit. One requirement is that the module should be compatible with a standard lifting device with a corresponding reach, which are available from many construction machinery rental companies (e.g. a telescopic forklift). It should also have a powerful vacuum lifter that can handle heavy loads of over 500 kg. Additionally, a self-sufficient power supply and its own hydraulic power unit are required to facilitate working close to the final position with millimetre precision. Last but not least, an intuitive 3D control and bearing system enables smooth movements in all directions.
euroTECH makes it possible
The engineers at euroTECH in Rosenfeld were approached with a specific request. A Danish sales representative asked for enhancement of a glass lifting device that could be mounted on telescopic forklifts. It needed to be as manoeuvrable and graceful as a gerenuk. The engineers analysed the existing solutions and started working on a new development to finally meet all the requirements.
The result was the eT-Litocran700. The name refers to the Latin name of the gerenuk (Litocranius). Like its model in the wild, the machine, painted in euroTECH-red, has exceptional manoeuvrability and flexibility, which earned it the nickname ‘red gazelle’. Originally, the eT-Litocran700 was designed as an autonomous add-on module, consisting of the vacuum lifting device ‘eT-Hover-univac’ and its own telescopic arm, which can perform 360-degree movements in the last few centimetres. The carrying capacity is designed for 700 kg. The module’s integrated power and hydraulic supply with its own remote control makes the device independent and flexible. It can be attached to a telescopic forklift as well as to a crane.
Telescopic forklift manufacturers are taking notice
Well-known manufacturers such as MAGNI Telescopic Handlers were immediately interested in the red Gazelle and are planning on integrating it into their own telescopic forklifts in an effort to further expand their appeal as a solution provider. MAGNI Telescopic Handlers customers using the eT-Litocran700 benefit from the on-board hydraulic and power supply and having to use only one remote control for the vehicle and vacuum lifting device. As the developer and supplier of the ‘red Gazelle’, euroTECH Vertriebs GmbH is open to additional integration efforts by other manufacturers of telescopic forklifts and cranes.
Time and cost constraints in construction projects
A construction project in the immediate vicinity of euroTECH’s headquarters in Rosenfeld showed just how operational the eT-Litocran700 really is. This is where the headquarters of Blickle GmbH u. Co. KG are located. Blickle is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wheels and castors. The constant growth of the company required an urgent capacity expansion. To accommodate this need, a representative administration building and a modern production facility covering more than 37,000 square metres will be built by June 2023.
The tight schedule posed a real problem for the commissioned window and façade manufacturers. The delivery of custom-made window elements was delayed. When the eagerly awaited elements finally arrived, it was time to install them. The main issue was that the custom-made elements could not be damaged under any circumstances during installation. To make matters worse, the installation was very tricky. The installation site was under a roof at a height of 20 metres. The window could not be placed at a 90-degree angle to the façade, because the window opening was to the right of it, below the roofing. A crane was therefore out of the question. It would have been conceivable to erect scaffolding on which a lifting device could then be placed, but this would again cost valuable time. A light shaft in the underground car park, which was located directly below the installation site, also caused headaches.
The managing director of SAXONIA Glas- und Fassadenmontage GmbH knew that euroTECH had a telescopic handler add-on module that was specifically designed for such challenges: the eT-Litocran700. He had been toying with the idea of testing the eT-Litocran700 for some time. Now the moment had come. He contacted the neighbouring euroTECH headquarters and received immediate support. The eT-Litocran700 was quickly mounted on the borrowed telescopic forklift. The telescopic forklift positioned itself at a distance from the building’s roof and the light shaft and lifted the Litocran to installation height. Now an operator used the separate remote control of the Litocran to precisely install the element. Carefully, he approached the window opening with the 400 kg pane. The clearance for installation was only one centimetre on each side. However, the eT-Litocran700 proved its operational capability under the most difficult conditions and responded with millimetre precision to every control command in all directions. In no time at all, the tricky challenge was solved. SAXONIA Managing Director Hannes Sachse was relieved: ‘We mastered the task in record time with minimal financial and personnel effort with the Litocran. We passed our first assignment using the Litocran with flying colours!’ The whole operation was recorded on video, which can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFY1S36ReqEhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFY1S36ReqE“ abrufbar ist.
Considerable savings potential
The savings potential of the eT-Litocran700 was also demonstrated during an operation in Denmark. The façade builder there won a tender for glazing of an airport building. He had three months to plan for this job. Shortly before the start of construction, he became aware of a predecessor model of the Litocran, which then helped him complete the task within one month. The eT-Litocran700 is interesting for larger glass and façade construction companies as well as for operators of machine parks and rental companies.