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Did you know that June is National Safety Month? According to the National Safety Council, this is “an annual observance to educate and influence behaviors around leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.” It’s meant to inspire awareness of safety issues, and avoidance of dangerous habits and conditions, particularly in the workplace.
Ergonomics is a science specifically designed to reduce employee discomfort and fatigue, while maximizing efficiency. It’s an important factor to consider all year long, and should be especially considered during National Safety Month. According to this article, “40 to 75 percent of recordable workplace injuries happened because of poor ergonomic conditions”, and obviously, workplace injuries are bad for people and business.
By using a FlexArm, the operator does not have to handle the weight of the tool or part. The gas charged cylinders (or struts) on the arm handle the weight to provide the necessary counter balance. In addition, the FlexArm will also absorb the torque and/or vibration produced from the tools. FlexArm can manufacture a custom mount to hold a variety of tools and applications including vertical mounts, horizontal mounts and multi angle mounts.
It is up to the employer to provide their work force with safe conditions and provide any helpful equipment to assist with achieving this goal. FlexArm is just the type of addition to help eliminate potential injuries associated with carpel tunnel, lower back and legs, shoulder and arm and vibration or torque. The FlexArm team is devoted to removing weight, torque and injuries from the work place.
The FlexArm can be used for a number of applications, by so many different industries. With all of these uses, the question we’re often asked is “what kinds of specific applications can your arms be used for?” We’d like to help out with that.
- Tapping: We can thread holes from size 0 up to2” in mild steel depending on the model, which can be made in the vertical or horizontal position, and the more holes one taps, the quicker the machine will justify itself. An operator moves the arm into position over the hole and actuates the motor holding the tap. The FlexArm will quickly tap the hole and the torque controlled tap holders eliminate tap breakage and poor quality threads. The same arm can be used to chamfer, ream, spot face and countersink. Many companies choose to replace CNC machining with the FlexArm for this operation, and some even have their operators tapping while their CNC machine is cycling other machine operations for optimal time management.
- Die Grinding: Most FlexArm’s sold with a Die Grinder are used in the automotive industry—customers include GM, Ford, and Chrysler. They typically use the Arm and Grinder (with a carbide deburring bit) to clean up dies that have been repaired or dies that are worn. Some use it just to deburr steel dies, parts, fixtures, etc.
- Helicoil: Our Helicoil drivers, front end assemblies, adapters and clutches are often sold with one of our small assembler arms to counterbalance the tool weight and keep the Helicoils vertical. These are used whenever a part that is hard to thread still requires threads (i.e. plastics, woods, brass, aluminum, and other soft materials). You can install a steel insert with threads that can handle more strength and repetitive use than if the insert wasn’t there, as well as installing Helicoils where threads have been damaged. Rather than scrapping a part, simply drill out the damaged thread and install a Helicoil using the FlexArm, thereby saving the part.
- Part Manipulator: Designed to help operators lift heavy or awkward parts and reduce injuries from wrists, arms, and back, this runs off a pneumatic cylinder and joystick using shop air pressure, lifting parts up to 150lbs. Applications include lifting parts from a pallet, table, conveyor belt, basket, etc., and loading and unloading heavy CNC machines or other pieces of equipment.
- Assembly: Our various assembly arms absorb weight or torque from a part or tool so the operator doesn’t have to. They can handle weight ranges from 1lb up to 60lbs and torque from 1ft/lbs up to 800ft/lbs. They are broken into two categories: tools where torque is not a real problem (i.e. using a pneumatic or electric screwdriver or insertion tool all day long); and those looking to hold a monitor or camera that produces no torque at all and looking to hold the weight and be able to place the arm in a location of their choice. Our assembly arms handle pneumatic tools, electric tools, nut runners, drills, stud welders, glue guns, inspection equipment, shields and covers, routers, hand drills, gauges, etc., and can include custom mounts specific to any user’s application.
What do standard office workstations and drone pilot workspaces have in common? A lot, actually—or at least they should—according to a report entitled “Minimizing Human Factors Mishaps in Unmanned Aircraft Systems”.
The basis of the report, in response to the large amount of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) crashes, is the possibility of a high degree of human error in piloting these drones; a conclusion that does make sense. Think about it this way: if a person were to do something twenty times, and a computer were to do the same thing twenty times, chances are, the computer will have more consistent results than the person. Humans are prone to make mistakes- it’s in our DNA.
Based on this deduction, the study states that “mishaps attributable to lack of attention to human factors/ergonomics” could be prevented if the ANSI/HFES 100-2007 human factors standard were to be applied to the design of UAS’s. What’s interesting about this idea is that ANSI/HFES 100-2007, or Human Factors Engineering of Computer Workstations, is a national standard providing guidance for the design and installation of computer workstations—or common, everyday office-computer setups. In essence, the design and ergonomics, according to this article, should be made less complicated, and more like your regular office computer.
Of course, it isn’t a surprise that it isn’t done this way, as it would be more expensive to use more labor. A lot of companies simply can’t take on extra expenses. But it is, indeed, an interesting suggestion. We’d be curious to hear what our clients’ and peers’ in aerospace and other similar industries think about this subject.
As many manufacturers and industrial leaders are realizing, robots in the workplace are no longer based off of science-fiction stories, they’re being used in our daily practices more and more each day. A recent article described a robot at the University of California at Berkeley being capable of washing laundry, and then neatly folding it (imagine the impact that could have on parents all across America).
It’s no secret that American businesses are utilizing technology in the workplace in unprecedented ways and applications. This same article states that companies “see such automation as the key to cutting costs and staying competitive,” including General Electric, who are now using “spiderlike” robots to run their facilities. American manufacturing is making a great recovery, with companies around the country seeing a return of customers, many of whom are bringing back business from overseas. Using advanced technology, such as robots, is helping these companies accommodate the added business, and in turn, aiding in the creation of more jobs.
Here at FlexArm, we see the benefits of using technology on a daily basis, and on many levels. Our clients who use our various robotic arms see benefits in the form of safety, cost effectiveness, and increased production. In general, using arms to pick up moving parts is much safer than picking them up by hand, which can cause strain on various parts of the body and other factory related injuries… The magnetic pull of the arm not only eliminates the possibility of injury, but also of dropping and damaging products and parts. The cost savings from the reduction of damaged goods and workman’s compensation claims, along with the importance of workers’ safety and health—not to mention the aid in production speed—mean advancing the success of a business.
With the use of experienced, skilled employees, and technology that improves and enhances their abilities, the possibilities for advanced manufacturing are endless.
As we all know, longevity in business is an indicator of success. That’s why we at FlexArm are proud to say that since 1984, we have committed to becoming experts in tapping and assembly applications. We have certainly evolved since the start of our original tapping arms. Our continued innovation allows us to remain the leader in the tapping arm industry. We strive daily to improve and enhance the qualities that set us apart from our competitors. Some of these qualities are:
Quality: We take the time to make sure our products are always up to standard. We offer a limited one year warranty on all of our products excluding perishable items. We also carry a full inventory of parts in house and offer services by our qualified technicians. Providing products that exceed our customers’ expectations is our first priority.
Innovation: Our eagerness to innovate has helped us remain a leader in our industry. We know the importance of expanding our capabilities and products. As such, we have grown our products lines over the last 20 years. To spotlight a few, we now offer assembly arms, die grinding arms, and helicoil arms.
Superior Customer Service: We pride ourselves in offering quick turnaround and response times to questions and concerns that may arise from our customers around the world.
FlexArm is so confident in our products we offer a 30 day trial on most units. Call us today and one of our sales specialists will help you with any application you have!