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Columbus McKinnon offers intelligent solutions from ceiling to floor for all types of manufacturing applications. From industrial actuators to industrial automation systems. We are here to help you increase the safety, uptime and productivity in your facility.

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Manufacturing Solutions by CMCO

Combining technologically advanced products with over a century and a half of application expertise, we solve tough customer problems with efficient and reliable manufacturing automation solutions. Whether our customers need to designate no-fly zones, prevent load swing, synchronize a lift, automatically send cranes throughout a facility, or access detailed, system-wide diagnostic information, our automation technology can help eliminate redundant processes and improve overall productivity.

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Industrial actuators are essential if processes call for rotating and pivoting, opening and closing, or keeping a production line moving. The industrial linear actuator is a component in any machine that enables movement by converting rotational motion into push or pull linear motion. These devices are used in automotive manufacturing, process industries, food and beverage processing, material handling, robotics, and other industrial settings where linear motion is required.

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Manufacturing Case Studies

To increase efficiency and reduce process time, Magnetek-brand IMPULSE® Variable Frequency Crane and Hoist Controls, collision avoidance software, PLCs, HMIs, and power delivery transformed the manufacturer’s engine marriage crane system into an efficient and safe solution. With the new automation system, takt time was reduced by 36 seconds while providing the precision control and safety the application required.

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To replace manually operated controls for a mill scale clarifier system, we developed a fully automated solution complete with IMPULSE•VG+ and G+ Variable Frequency Drives with custom crane-specific software, IMPULSE®•Link Software, PLCs, and HMIs. Connected via Ethernet communication, the system continuously reports analytics and diagnostic information to keep operators informed of system status and executes tasks without human intervention.

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Challenge: A railroad company used hydraulic-powered moveable bridges to lift rails and move locking pins. However, the hydraulic fluid would leak into the waterway below, and the company received a fine for the spillage every time this happened.


Solution: The company replaced its hydraulics with Duff-Norton’s electric cylinder actuators to solve this issue. Doing so eliminated the risk of spills, environmental contamination, and associated fines.

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Challenge: A customer’s plant was out of compressed air capacity but replacing their existing compressor or adding capacity was cost-prohibitive: an estimated $250,000 to $300,000. Furthermore, the pneumatics were inconsistent when they raised eleven fixtures at once, with some raising faster than others and sometimes with a jerky movement.


Solution: The customer replaced pneumatic cylinders in their welding fixtures with reliable and efficient Duff-Norton CMLA-Series actuators. These electric-powered actuators offer far superior performance, providing a movement that is ‘smooth as glass’ and raising/lowering all fixtures simultaneously.

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Challenge: A paper company used a hydraulic-powered upender to rotate large, heavy paper rolls. The hydraulics were prone to leakages, which would end up damaging entire rolls of the finished paper. Each leak would cost the company thousands of dollars in scrap material.


Solution: The paper company replaced their hydraulic upenders with Duff-Norton electric cylinder actuators, capable of moving 25-ton loads across a distance of 66 inches. In the four years since making this change, Duff-Norton’s SuperCylinders have delivered a reliable performance with zero scrap, saving the paper company money.

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