Lifting heavy loads with ease

Article of 29 January 2021 

Pneumatischer Muskel

Legal regulations allow a maximum of 55 kilograms to be lifted occasionally at work by men between 19 and 45 years of age. But even much lighter loads can damage muscles, bones or vertebrae if done incorrectly. In order to relieve employees in production and logistics, many companies use lifting units with which heavy parts and components can be moved easily. Fluidic muscles can thus replace human muscle power.

Herniated discs, tendinitis, muscle tension – lifting heavy loads too often can have numerous negative health consequences. Lifting devices are therefore often used so that employees in production and logistics can lift and transport loads ergonomically. They reduce the weight of the components many times over, relieving the workers of the heavy work.

Flexible handling of loads with pneumatic lifting unit

The lifting units are designed in a variety of ways and can be operated electrically, pneumatically or hydraulically. Loads of up to 25 kilograms can be moved very flexibly with a pneumatic fixture from Festo, which is driven by the DMSP fluidic muscle. Employees control the unit up and down to the desired position via manually operated valves, allowing them to ergonomically lift components or insert them into machines, for example. The maximum speed can be set with the help of a tamper-proof flow control valve. A delockable non-return valve ensures that the position is maintained even if the pressure drops.

With the support of the fluidic muscle, employees can ergonomically load a grinding machine with components weighing seven kilograms.
With the support of the fluidic muscle, employees can ergonomically load a grinding machine with components weighing seven kilograms.

Pneumatic lifting aid with fluidic muscle takes the strain off workers

The DMSP fluidic muscle is the power behind the lifting unit and can be used vertically, horizontally or diagonally, depending on requirements. Essentially, the muscle consists of an elastomer hose with embedded aramid yarns. If it is filled with air, the diameter of the elastic hose increases and its length simultaneously contracts, which creates a flowing elastic movement. The force of the fluidic muscle decreases with increasing contraction, allowing easy positioning via pressure. Up to 25 per cent of the membrane length can be used in this way.

The fluidic muscle is based on its biological role model. It can be used flexibly – vertically, horizontally or diagonally.
The fluidic muscle is based on its biological role model. It can be used flexibly – vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

DMSP packs a powerful punch

Since it has no seals or bearings, the fluidic muscle moves smoothly. The fluidic muscle achieves ten times the force of a conventional pneumatic cylinder of a comparable size. In addition, the DMSP is very sturdy and can even be used under extreme conditions, such as in sand or dust. Its design as a hermetically sealed hose makes it impervious to particles or dirt. This makes the pneumatic lifting unit suitable for a wide range of applications and can provide long-term support for workers.