Unified Industries Helps Automotive Manufacturer Solve Assembly Line Challenge

Automotive Industry | Crane Systems | How To's | By Anthony Alessi | Jul 08, 2015

Enclosed Track Aluminum Rail System


To help solve an ergonomic problem they were encountering on their assembly line, a large automotive OEM approached Columbus McKinnon’s Unified Industries and our Channel Partner for assistance.

At the facility, employees working at the customer’s final assembly unload station were having difficulty moving the existing steel trussed overhead crane system – to the point that it even caused operator injury.

To address this issue, Unified and the Channel Partner visited the facility and developed an economical and effective solution. Together, they decided to remove the existing steel trussed rail system and replace it with the Unified ETA‐8 enclosed track aluminum system. Steel is much heavier than aluminum, so Unified’s aluminum system would make it much easier for the operators to move the crane system.

The team presented two options to the customer, each with difference performance features. The first option was a fully integrated Unified system with articulating end trucks that would allow for the easiest movement for the crane system. The second solution was the same Unified system with rigid end trucks that functioned similarly to the existing system they were currently using but was much lighter.

New Articulating System Reduces Push/Pull Force by 66%

After the demonstration, the customer decided to go with the articulating system due to their application requirements. The entire Unified ETA‐8 rail system was installed over the course of a single weekend –half the time it took to install their existing system. The customer was very impressed with the quick installation, specifically the fact that the Unified product came pre‐assembled unlike competitors’ steel trussed systems that have to be assembled in the field.

To compare the old steel system to the new Unified ETA‐8 system, the customer performed an internal push/pull test and found that they had reduced the push/pull force by 66%, which was a huge factor in helping to reduce operator injuries and making the system easier to operate. The customer was impressed with every aspect of the Unified ETA‐8 system, from the start of the project to its completion, and is looking forward to seeing the continued benefits the new rail system will provide.


Anthony Alessi

Tony Alessi is a Unified Industries Product Manager at Columbus McKinnon Corporation. Tony has 10 years product/marketing experience at Unified Industries and over 18 years marketing and business development experience in agency, manufacturing and distribution settings working in the automotive industry.

Tony Alessi