FUEL TANK LIFTING DEVICE
AFE Crane was tasked to create a new load bar for lifting plastic fuel tanks on to agricultural vehicles. The existing process required the operator to exchange the load bar on the hoist for each of three variations of the fuel tank. The existing load bars required the operator to latch and unlatch it from the fuel tank. This process had many safety and ergonomic issues.
Our new fuel tank load bar relieved the operators from the physical demands of the previous process. We used electric linear actuators to engage four spud pins into the fuel tank. The spud pins contain a sensor that can stop operation if a force is applied against the actuator movement. There is another sensor in each spud pin that detects when a fuel tank is attached to the load bar.
In total, over 15 sensors feed into a PLC. The PLC was programmed with an attention to safety and controls all the motors and indicator lights on the load bar using a Point I/O system. The PLC can even interrupt hoist, trolley, and bridge motions.
Each of the fuel tanks is unique. The center of gravity of the fuel tanks is different. This required us to have an adjustable hooking point that shifts fore and aft via a lead screw. The hook point can be placed directly above the center of gravity of each tank to ensure the fuel tank stays level while lifting. The hook point has a total adjustment of over 12 inches. There are indicator lights that tell the operator when the hook point is in the loading/unloading zone or in the lifting zone for each fuel tank.
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