Diagnosing a Lift Table Motor Burnout for a Distribution Center

A material handling customer had been experiencing motor failures on hydraulic lift tables in their distribution centers. E Tech Group helped their team identify the problem and correct the malfunction with a signal delay timer.

The Project: Stop a Distribution Center Dilemma that was Hemorrhaging Money

Our partner, Wynright, asked that we get involved to help to pinpoint the exact issue causing $160K a month loss in failed motors and hours of downtime at one of their distribution centers. During the process review with the customer and distribution center associates, it was determined that the failures were likely due to excessive cycling of the on/off state of the motor. 

The cycling was a direct result of the hard contact of a foot switch provided to the line associates to raise the lift table. In a normal working position, the associate would stand with one foot on the switch and the normal shift of weight as packages are moved across the worker’s position would cause incidental switching of the motor. 

Some instances indicated that in an effort to perfectly position the lift table, the worker would feather start/stop operation, exacerbating the situation. E Tech Group’s extensive experience in material handling automation gave us the perspective necessary to accommodate the human part of the process by altering the machine response.

The Solution: A Signal-Delay Timer Takes Stress Off the Motor

To remedy this, initially a VFD-based solution was recommended. But we felt a solution with a delay timer that negates the signal from the foot pedal for a short time, stopping the on/off signals would provide a better, more long-term resolution to their issue. Stewart Brinkoeter, our fabrication manager, partnered with our Ohio team to finalize and implement this solution in one facility for a test run.   

The Result: Less Cost, Less Downtime, No Loss of Functionality

Just an hour and a half of downtime and less than a third the cost of a new motor, the table was functioning flawlessly and the associate working with the test unit did not discern any loss of functionality.  Because of its success, this solution will now be implemented across multiple distribution centers. E Tech Group continues to work with our partners at Wynright to ensure these system updates are performed seamlessly across facilities.