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Tsubaki zip chain lifter wins energy efficiency award

Tsubaki zip chain lifter wins energy efficiency award
Tsubaki has received another plaudit for its innovative Zip Chain Lifter, in the form of the METI Minister's Award - the highest honour in the Energy Conservation Prize awards program sponsored by the Japan Machinery Federation. The Zip Chain Lifter received the Award in recognition of its remarkable energy savings, ingenuity and economic efficiency.

The Zip Chain Lifter is an innovative lift table that utilises a zip chain that can be pushed and pulled. This groundbreaking electrically driven lifting mechanism delivers twice the energy efficiency of conventional hydraulic lifters, and is approximately 28% more energy efficient in terms of transmission efficiency than systems which push pantograph arms diagonally upwards. It also features a regeneration unit that returns energy produced by the descending platform to the primary power system, allowing the lifter to recover as much as 30% of electricity consumption.

With these innovations the design precisely met the requirements of the Energy Conservation Awards, which were introduced in 1980 specifically to promote energy efficiency. Awards are presented to individuals or companies recognised as having contributed to the promotion of efficient energy use through the development and commercialisation of energy-efficient equipment or systems.

In addition to its energy efficient design, the Zip Chain Lifter brings further benefits to industry by reducing travel time to enable high-speed, high-frequency operation, and high stopping precision - all factors that improve productivity. The Zip Chain Lifter can elevate at speeds of up to 50 m/min, offers positioning accuracy to ±1mm and is available in a range of models offering lifting capacities up to 2,000 kg.

Capable of pushing and pulling, the Zip Chain Lifter consists of two chains that interlock in a zip-like fashion to form a single, strong column. It operates by raising and lowering the platform at a constant speed in sync with the rotational velocity of the motor, with simple position control and repeatable positioning accuracy.

Applications for the zip chain lifter are many and various. It is employed in numerous major automotive plants, and is extensively used in LCD display and solar cell production equipment, as well as food and metalworking machinery. Most recently, Tsubaki itself has integrated the zip chain lifting mechanism into a new design of high-speed vertical conveyor.

The Tsubaki Zip Lator seamlessly integrates with existing continuous production lines to transfer products and parts to overhead conveyor lines and to create aisles. The design addresses the problems of size, stopping accuracy and repeatability, lack of multi-point stopping capability and ease of maintenance associated with conventional vertical conveyors used to lift cases, containers, crates and other light- to medium-weight items.

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