Imagine a forklift trying to maneuver through confined spaces in a warehouse to load and unload heavy boxes. Now picture it turning a tight corner and passing through a standard 28-in. doorframe.
Of course, physics dictates that this is impossible. The alternative in most facilities is to employ human labor to lift and transport heavy materials and packages. However, Beyond Products, Inc., predicts that as today’s lean manufacturing environments continue to evolve, they will focus on how these tasks contribute to inefficiency. Even small amounts of time spent on various jobs can add up to hours of wasted time, effort, and money.
To address this need, Beyond Products developed The Mule, an affordable, electronically powered, compact, hand-lift truck that functions as a stacker, transporter, and portable workbench. Unlike most material handling equipment, which can be specialized and limited to one task, The Mule can handle a variety of applications, including large and small tasks. It is easy-to-use and to maintain, and its weight and size make it simple to transfer to multiple locations. However, it can still handle heavy payloads.
The ergonomic all-in-one lift is ideal for moving boxes and rolls of packaging material, supplies, and finished goods. It assists workers with repetitive lifting and heavy payloads and moves heavy items through narrow aisles. The Mule also raises and lowers material to and from assembly tables to serve as a workbench.
It raises rolls of filtering, printing, or fabric material into cutting machines. Holding blocks can be easily configured to accommodate nesting materials. In addition, it can be used to lift cutting, injection molding, and printing tools into machines during set-up and maintenance.
Improving efficiency was a primary goal, so that meant the Mule’s designers needed to engineer a product that did not require special training or licensing to operate. Hand-operated locking disc brakes hold the platform steady while the operator loads it. Custom-designed, low-profile casters make it agile for maneuvering in tight quarters.
Portability was also an important consideration in its design. The Mule folds up easily to 55 x 20 x 12 in. for easy storage and shipping and weighs 85 lb (39 kg). It is designed to go anywhere, including industrial sites, commercial operations, and warehouses.
A rechargeable, maintenance-free, commercially available, 12 V battery powers the unit after an average of 125 to 150 lift cycles. Because of its screw driven mechanism, it does not require adjustment.
Many of The Mule’s flexible features are in its platform design. It expands from 17 x 24 in. to 17 x 34 in. and can be custom made for special applications. It also comes with four mounting blocks, a vice knob, and two hold-down straps.
Beyond Products, Inc.
Filed Under: Material handling • converting, Mechanical