Pneumatic Manipulators

For delicate operations involving smaller loads too heavy to safely lift and position repeatedly by hand, Street CraneXpress can create and install pneumatic manipulators, suited specifically to your needs.

These manually operated mechanical lifting devices automatically lift, lower, traverse and/or rotate with the user’s movement, enabling precise positioning of cumbersome loads via minimal effort and maximised comfort on the part of the operator. This vastly improves the safety and efficiency of fundamental processes, creating a more productive and ergonomic work place.


Street CraneXpress hot billet pneumatic manipulator for BAE Systems


Pneumatic manipulators are ideally suited to a wide variety of industries, from Automotive to Textiles to Food Processing; anywhere that requires the comfortable, safe, and productive orientation of a small load to the proper position, with minimal effort.

A full pneumatic manipulator system consists of three parts: a handling device, an air balancer and usually a light crane system.


Handling DeviceHandling Devices

The lifting attachment, sometimes called the ‘Lift Assist’ or ‘End Effector’ can be engineered specifically to your load(s). Handling Devices can be created with manual or powered tilt and/or rotation packages, as well as shifting centre of gravity modules, to allow the operator to orient the part to the proper position with minimal effort.

Both standard and custom-designed manipulators generally couple with the load in one of the following ways:

  • Clamps designed specifically to the application. Suitable for rigid loads that allow mechanical or pneumatic clamping.
  • Hook or trap devices that typically apply no force to the product, tending to be easily applied to a wide variety of shapes. Suitable for straight transfer applications with no orientation manipulation. Solutions range from simple J hooks to multiple gripper systems.
  • Probes, generally custom designed to be inserted into and/or grab the inner diameter and bore of spherical/tubular items. Suitable for paper rolls, wire spools, steel rolls, bobbins, barrels and carpet rolls, etc.
  • Vacuum cup systems in either standard 1-cup or 4-cup configurations or as custom solutions to handle unusual shaped loads. Suitable for non- and low-porous items with flat surfaces including glass, cardboard, sheet metal, plastic and wood.

Most of our handling devices come equipped with a safety interlock system that will not allow the operator to accidentally disengage the part during transfer, and all solutions meet the ASME B30.20 specification for Below-the-Hook Lifting Devices.


Air Balancer

Air Balancers

Pneumatic air balancers replace the hoist in a manipulator set-up in order to facilitate automatic lifting of the load with the user’s movement by sensing user force input and translating it to precise vertical motion.

The pneumatic air balancer therefore allows the user to not only lift the load but also ‘float’ it, allowing for precise manual movement and placement.

Dependant on the application, air balancers can either be initially pendant controlled to enable larger movements of the load whilst complete with ‘float’ control for final positioning, or completely float controlled to enable one handed operation for smaller operations.

Capacities range from 22kg to up to 900kg for tandem reeved units, with height of lift up to 9m.

Safety back-up ensures that the load remains suspended in the event of a loss of air supply or power.


Automotive Grade Light Cranes

Automotive grade light crane

Automotive-grade light crane systems offer less rolling resistance than standard light cranes and therefore provide the ideal support structure for mounting a pneumatic manipulator system, complementing the ‘float’ capability of the air balancer.

The enclosed, resin-injected rail design reduces the accumulation of dirt and grime on the internal running surfaces, thus reducing rolling effort compared to stainless steel light cranes. This gives the lightweight aluminium track a precision running surface with less than 1% rolling resistance.

Available in ceiling or floor mounted configurations, Street CraneXpress can work with you to provide the optimal light crane configuration for your requirements, adapting systems to suit the job in hand and the available space.

Manipulator systems can also be mounted to other support structures, such as jib cranes, to provide a more cost effective solution, but the light crane system offers a much wider range of movement for larger-scale transfer of loads.