Case story

Versatile solutions for safely handling heavy items

Australian company Makinex uses their knack for innovation and the unwavering passion for improving efficiency to design specialised solutions for a range of material handling environments.

Workplace health and safety is a top priority for many businesses, especially within material handling where manual handling is a large part of the job. Ensuring the safety of employees while improving their efficiency and productivity is a top priority for Australian based manufacturer Makinex, whose core business is about MAKing INefficiencies EXtinct (MAKINEX).

Operating out of Sydney, Makinex strives for unique, innovative and practical product solutions for various environments. There is an increased focus in material handling on how to make work environments safer by implementing improved workplace health and safety (WHS) practices. For Makinex, avoiding physical injury was one of their main drivers when developing their solution, and WHS improvements presented them with a challenge to create a unique product that could be operated by one person to lift heavy materials easily and safely.

 

Heavy lifting with one-person operation

Makinex designed and manufactured the Powered Hand Truck (PHT), which can lift up to 140 kgs (309lbs) of goods with just one person operating the machine. As it does not require a license to operate, it provides a quick and versatile alternative to a forklift. This universal handling solution enables the operator to safely lift and load equipment or bulky objects with minimal physical exertion.

“The unique design enables a single operation to lift and load directly onto a truck, van or utility vehicle… It could also be used to place equipment and small loads on bench tops where they can be worked on,” says Michael Chen, Global Production Manager at Makinex.

Versatile solutions for safely handling heavy items
Versatile solutions for safely handling heavy items
 

While developing the product, Makinex was aware that what they created must have the ability to lift goods with a substantial weight capacity. This is especially important in workplaces such as construction, flooring and landscaping businesses where handling of bulky, heavy goods is common. Unlike hydraulics, using an electric linear actuator solution would not only be able to sustain the load but would require minimal to no servicing, which would also provide a long-term cost-saving option.

 

Proven reduction in workplace health and safety injuries

When describing the benefits of designing this niche product, Michael Chen explains: “It eliminates awkward and dangerous one or two person lifts and reduces the risk of muscle strains and back injuries from heavy lifting”.

Together with Australia’s largest equipment hire company, Kennards Hire, Makinex trialled the Powered Hand Truck inside various locations. The feedback on this trial was that there was a reduction in workplace health and safety injuries e.g. back strain of approximately 30%. Further feedback from the trial was that not only was the Powered Hand Truck easy to handle, it confirmed that zero maintenance was required, which proved that it was not only safe but also highly efficient.

Versatile solutions for safely handling heavy items
 

Collaborating with LINAK

When searching for suppliers to assist in the development of this product, Makinex needed an electric actuator to lift the jib that picks up the material. The LINAK actuator LA36 with integrated controller (IC) was selected as the best solution for the company's unique product, as it offered first-class software options and no additional control box or wiring, making installation effortless.

“We chose LINAK as it is a reputable company in the electric linear actuator world and their products are of the highest quality in the industry. Their local AUS support is really good,” says Michael Chan and continues: “The IC version of the actuators was beneficial for us to program what we needed, e.g. setting a current limit to cut off the system in case of lifting more than the rated load. Also, it is good for troubleshooting if required, as it can generate fault reports”.

It does not stop there for Makinex. The global demand for ergonomic solutions is growing substantially and LINAK will continue to support MAKINEX as the company grows.

If you wish to know more, visit the LINAK® TECHLINE® website or contact your local LINAK office.

Find more information about The Powered Hand Truck at Makinex corporate website.

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