07/12/2012 - 04:00 am

Miniaturized All-directional Wheelift Transporters Designed in U.S.

Wheelift Systems are introducing two new products based on industry demand for a lighter, cost effective and safe means of supporting and transporting structures from three to 30 tons. Designed by Intelliport Corporation, the transporters will soon be available for aircraft assembly tooling and a wide variety of lighter manufacturing operations. The new miniaturized all-directional drive axle assemblies dubbed “mini modules” along with other innovative small transporter designs like the new TrikeLift are based on demand from government contractors, equipment builders and existing clients seeking smaller, smarter offerings to assemble heavy products and efficiently move machinery and components.

“We’ve introduced a new way to think about and go about assembly, transportation and manufacturing,” shares Mel Terry, entrepreneur and engineering industry veteran. “A planned new group of lighter capacity transporters can be less than a foot tall and offer fully equalized loading using nitrogen based and hydraulic suspension systems. The self-loading TrikeLift uses a simple self-elevating 3-point suspension design inspired the tricycle to move large loads in congested spaces.”

The Wheelift designs are positioned to accomplish multi-tasking that has not been possible until now for industries like aircraft assembly operations where wide varieties of heavy scaffolding and tooling structures are supported on very heavy-duty caster wheels. Without modification to those structures, the new Wheelift transporters are designed to drive under scaffolding platforms and related structures to effortlessly pick them up and omni-directionally move and position them with precise accuracies over any type of floor systems.

Uniload Mini Module

The UniLoad mini module is less than nine inches tall and can securely and precisely move up to 5,000 lbs.per axle assembly using nitrogen based pneumatic equalizing suspension.  According to Terry, it is the ideal size for the assembly tooling market in a wide variety of industries from aerospace to all types of large machinery assembly operations. There are two designs for the mini-module. The first provides omni-directional power travel but does not have vertical lift capability. The second is a fully equalizing, self-loading, pneumatic suspension version. Many situations can use nitrogen based pneumatic equalizing suspension, which is highly reliable, simpler and less expensive than hydraulic system. As a nitrogen base system, the UniLoad Mini Module also lends itself to “clean room” applications in the composites industry serving marine, automotive, mass-transit, military, oil and gas and wind power industries.

Each nitrogen based Uniload Mini Module will have three inches of self-loading vertical lift and +/- 3 degrees of lateral tilt, end to end on the axle. The lowered empty transporter is driven under a tooling platform or large scaffolding structure, and when positioned, the operator triggers a solenoid valve that pressurizes the system from the on-board bank of small nitrogen cylinders.  With adjustable flow control valves, the load deck smoothly rises and lifts the load to the top of the cylinder strokes. In its simplest form, and exactly like air bearing systems, each UniLoad Mini Module or group of modules has a manual adjustment regulator to allow corrections for severe off-center loading.

TrikeLift Transporter

The TrikeLift will be designed for any plant that requires less expense movement of large, heavy and delicate loads – including heavy scaffolding and tooling – in highly congested spaces as well as between buildings. In the TrikeLift configuration that, like a tricycle, has a steerable front axle and a fixed direction power driven rear axle, the three suspension points are actually high pressure air cylinders that will raise and lower in unison. The TrikeLift is coupled with a computerized controller that acts as an electronically controlled differential that calculates the exact rotation needed on each of the fixed rear drive wheels to enable tracking of where the steerable front axle is taking them.

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