Like many machine shops and job shops, Spencer Corporation was looking for a solution to safely lift and maneuver heavy equipment parts throughout its facility in Santa Clara, California. Working with parts weighing just under 500 pounds, the potential for accidents and injury was always a present danger. Specializing in close-tolerance projects, the workflow at Spencer Corporation regularly involves maneuvering large and heavy machining and fabricating parts in tight quarters, a significant issue when a piece of equipment weighs close to a quarter ton — enter Sky Hook.
The company’s owner, Mark Spencer, identified the problem but the best solution eluded him until a chance meeting with Dean Christensen, owner of Syclone ATTCO Services, the manufacturer of the Sky Hook brand lifting solutions. “I met the owner of Sky Hook on a UTV ride,” Spencer explains. “After seeing the need for a mobile boom crane in our company, the idea of mounting the Sky Hook on a Big Joe lift was born.”
Established in 1977, Spencer Corporation has developed a solid reputation as a leader in close-tolerance projects, including wire EDM, CNC mill, Sinker EDM, EDM drill, surface grinding, CNC CMM, and Micro-Vue inspection, metal laser engraving, and other general manual machines. A small business with a limited staff, Spencer needed a lifting solution that would not only prevent lifting injuries but also help improve efficiency and productivity. He chose the A8727, a model designed for lifting heavy loads in tight quarters and can be easily and quickly moved to other lifting locations. The model is offered in several configurations, the most popular being the Premium series with the LoadLock Clutch Brake system. “This provides smooth, safe handling of heavy, awkward loads and is extremely straightforward in operation making it easy to integrate into day-to-day procedures,” says Dusty White, Technical Sales Director for Syclone ATTCO Service. “The operator simply rotates the handwheel up to raise the load, and down to lower the load. As soon as the operator’s hand is removed from the handle of the unit, the load is automatically locked and held in place.”
The portability of the Sky Hook A8727 allows it to be used in almost any setting with a flat surface. Additionally, mobile lifting devices such as the A8727 can be customized with caster wheels or with a mobile cart base for even greater maneuverability. The A8727’s portability and ease of use have made it a valuable part of the daily workflow at Spencer Corporation.
“The Sky Hook mobile crane is used almost daily for a variety of lifting, lowering, and repair applications,” says Spencer. “The fact that we can wheel it anywhere in the shop, makes it invaluable for quickly loading and unloading machines.
“The Sky Hook is used as a mobile crane to lift expensive machined parts and materials on and off CNC machines where overhead shrouds and shields prevent the use of overhead cranes,” adds Spencer. “It is also used to repair equipment in the shop where precise lifting and lowering requirements in tight spaces is needed.”
Moreover, the Sky Hook crane is capable of lifting and lowering heavy equipment gentler and with greater accuracy onto Spencer’s close tolerance CNC machines, an added benefit for the company’s small staff. “The added reach and pivoting ability of the Sky Hook boom give us added reach and range to load up to 500-pound parts on our CNC machine tables with ease and delicate maneuvering thanks to the smooth cranking mechanism of the Sky Hook,” says Spencer.
ATTCO, Inc. DBA Syclone ATTCO Service, first began manufacturing the Sky Hook lifting devices in 1969. Based in Emmet, Idaho, the company now produces 12 models and seven accessories, allowing for an almost endless array of configurations and adaptations to fill a variety of industrial needs while preventing common lifting injuries that can cost a company time and money. All Sky Hook lifting solutions are built OSHA and ASME compliant, however, the Syclone ATTCO Services team works with companies to develop custom lifting solutions based on their unique needs.
“For over 50 years, Syclone ATTCO Service has specialized in increasing the manual lifting ability of operators, preventing dangerous lifting injuries, and improving operational efficiency,” Thomas Christensen, Design Specialist for Sky Hook and the son of company owner Dean Christensen, says in an introductory video on the company’s website www.skyhook.cc. “With the industry’s ever-growing interest in egonomics, our design team here at Sky Hook works hand-in-hand with our customers to develop custom solutions that meet the project’s applications, safety, and ergonomic requirements.”
Another benefit to Sky Hook lifting systems is they can be used comfortably and easily by only one person, which not only reduces the number of people needed to complete a project but also helps companies maintain social distancing requirements. “During this time of crisis, we’ve been contacted by many companies seeking lifting solutions to fill these lifting needs and Sky Hook has been proud to rise to the occasion!” says Dusty White, Technical Sales Manager in a press release issued on April 1, 2020.
Back at the Spencer Corporation machine shop in Santa Clara, the Sky Hook has become an integral part of the company’s daily operation, a tool with an almost infinite number of uses and a price-point making it accessible to companies of all sizes.
“The Sky Hook,” Spencer says, “has become the most versatile lifting tool with the smoothest lifting and lowering mechanism of any crane I’ve used in its weight and price range.”