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NEW CONVERTIBLE MOBILE CRANE

Small Business Helps NASA with 4-in-1 Lifting Solution

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Mentor, Ohio September 9, 2016 – Air Technical Industries (ATI) announces the development of a new “Reversible, Convertible Self-Propelled Mobile Crane” designed especially for NASA.

NASA has the unique and challenging task of lifting and maneuvering hydraulic cylinders on a test stand.  Multiple heavy cylinders from 800 to 2100 pounds need to be lifted and positioned at different angles for assembly.  Working in tight areas with little clearance and low headroom created a major challenge in accomplishing these tasks safely.

The RBC-3000SPBLL-M has been equipped with regular telescoping boom and swivel eye hook for some common crane boom tasks.  The crane is convertible and can be changed to a double parallelogram boom with three-axis manipulator for pitch, yaw and roll operations with a pair of special adjustable forks and holding straps to secure the cylinders during articulation.

The cylinder can be lifted in vertical or horizontal orientations and the yaw axis allows the cylinder to swing left or right for precise positioning.  The pitch axis adjusts the vertical alignment to allow the cylinder to be tilted backwards, then raised and plugged into the proper orientation in a tight spot for installation.

The yaw adapter of the manipulator can be removed and replaced with traditional lifting forks for handling standard pallets.  The conversion from regular boom to parallelogram boom takes about 15 to 20 minutes and provides NASA with more flexibility and cost savings by having one piece of equipment handling four different tasks.

The RBC is constructed out of heavy duty welded steel.  The tilt back mast allows for space saving and provides better safety with less counterweight requirements, making the equipment lighter for easier mobility and longer battery life.

The crane is self-propelled battery powered with infinitely variable speed control from 0-4mph and the steering is 90° to left and right which is ideal for making sharp turns in crowded areas, narrow isles and tight spaces.  The unit has built in battery charger that is 120-volt operated.

The propulsion is electro-mechanical with built in automatic braking.  The mobility is provided on roller bearing mounted cushion-type wheels for quiet, smooth operation,  protecting the floor, and minimizing point loads on the work platform.

All the functions are hydraulically activated which includes the boom lift, telescopic boom  and pitch actions.  The hydraulic cylinders are equipped with chrome plated shafts for smooth operation and to prevent corrosion.  Hydraulic cylinders are equipped with holding valves to prevent loss of load in the event of a hydraulic failure.  The hydraulic systems is protected with safety relief valve to prevent over-pressurizing.

All the control functions are push button pendant remote controlled so that the operator can be hands on where precision alignment is required.  Hydraulic controls are also built into the steering handle allowing complete operation of the boom and drive functions from one location.

The RBC is truly an ideal tool that is, unique, versatile, mobile, agile, ergonomically safe to help NASA in deep space exploration.

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International Space Station Unites Nations

Mentor, Ohio October 11, 1996 – Hands of many different colors and creeds have clasped together to develop the first ever international space station. The cooperative effort has teamed Russia, Japan, Canada, Europe and the United States together to develop living quarters for year-round stay in space, equipped with everything from high tech scientific tools for space study to workout equipment for leisure activity.

At one and a half football fields in length, it will be the largest manned object ever sent into space. In fact, because of its enormous size, component modules (each the size of a typical school bus) must be pre-fabricated and spun into orbit individually. As each new component arrives in space, it is linked with the existing components.

It goes without saying that the scope of this project is immense. Within the United States alone, over 550 companies have been contributors in the U.S. National effort and include the lead contractor, Boeing, as well as McDonnell Douglas, Rockwell and Lockheed. These contractors have in turn, solicited and relied upon the contributions of manufacturers to brainstorm and design solutions for the intricate challenges they faced.

For example, each component module has just over a 4 foot square access-opening making it difficult to install the interior panels. Like trying to install a new radiator through the grill on the front of a car, the challenge of limited access led Boeing engineers to Air Technical Industries (ATI).

A manufacturer of specialty material handling equipment, ATI designed a uniquely modified version of their RBC-6000-SPB self-propelled floor crane that could meet the challenge. “We needed to be creative yet practical in respect of Boeing’s budgetary and timeline boundaries” says Design Engineer, Pete Novak Jr. of ATI. “What we developed was the perfect solution. We designed a Mobile Crane that stands over 13′ tall with a powered telescopic boom that extends over 19′ in length to reach well into a module, and can lift vertically to 30′.”

In addition, a cable lift was used to pick up panels from ground level and carefully lift them to align with the access opening for installation in the interior of the module. The design of the crane was engineered to be extremely maneuverable with 180 degrees steering for precise positioning of the interior panels during their installation.

When asked how such a feat was accomplished, Novak explained “The international space station is a testament to the idea that where there’s a will there’s a way. Our 33 year history of success was founded on this premise. I guess that made us the perfect fit for the application.”

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RBC for International Space Station

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