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  • Susan Griepsma

    We just got back from the IMTS Show in Chicago, where our Easy Arm and G-Force Intelligent Lifting Devices again drew a lot of attention. And despite the ever growing popularity of Intelligent Assist Devices in the industrial sector, we still find there are lots of questions about them, what makes them different from traditional lifting devices, and what sets Gorbel devices apart from the rest. Maybe this post will help.



    Intelligent Lifting Devices (ILDs) allow operators to ergonomically lift and maneuver heavy loads. They use exclusive patented technology and an industrial processor controlled servo drive system to deliver unmatched lifting precision and speed. Their fusion of advanced technology and basic human guidance maximizes productivity while minimizing the risk of injury to the operator. First developed in the late 1990s, ILD usage has significantly increased in the past five years.


    WHY ILDs?

    • Studies show ILDs allow for increased productivity and decreased product damage
    • Speed vs. Precision - we've found that users value precision, or a combination of speed and precision, where traditional lifting devices offer just one or the other.
    • The 100 lb. paradigm - For loads weighing 100 lbs. or less, depending on physical ability, workers are more likely to choose manual lifting because traditional lifting devices are too cumbersome.

    Why Gorbel ILDs?

    Customers choose Gorbel ILD's for a variety of reasons, including the ones listed below. Browse our gallery of application videos to see why Gorbel was the right solution for so many different applications.

    • Integrated process and control systems
    • Standard intelligence features
    • Customizable Software
    • Combined collector/air swivel allows the handle to continuously rotate without damaging electrical conductors of coil cord or optional air coil.
    • Custom end tooling maximizes speed, precision, safety and ergonomic benefits

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  • Susan Griepsma

    I'm feeling a little neglectful. I always give a lot of blog love to our Easy Arm, but I don't give nearly enough attention to its cousin, the G-Jib. Both products are part of our G-Force family of Intelligent Lifting Devices and have a lot of similarities. The biggest difference between them is that the Easy Arm articulates and G-Jib does not, but the G-Jib makes up for with a longer standard span (16') and a higher capacity (up to 660 lbs).

    To make up for neglecting the G-Jib on the blog, May's Application of the Month will highlight the G-Jib eliminating bottlenecks for a firm that handles automated handling systems that was having trouble maintaining efficient work flow.

    "Our shop handles a pretty wide range of jobs, and the work flow isn’t always predictable," said the Installation and Warehouse Supervisor. "We’ve always got people in the field then coming back to work on their project. One week we’ll have just a few people working on things, and the next week there’s a logjam because everyone’s back in the shop working on their project."

    One major culprit of the problems was the shared use of an overhead bridge crane by multiple work bays. A 5-ton capacity bridge crane with a single speed hoist covers half of the workshop, creating a bottleneck when more than one person needs to lift something.

    "We decided to focus on improving the fabrication area because it had the most frequent need to lift items in that cell, and the 5-ton crane was overkill for all of it."

    The fabrication area is where covers and guards for electronic controls are built in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The most common components being moved are tubular and angled steel, which could be as light as 15-20 pounds or as heavy as 500 pounds.

    After exploring options including another bridge crane and a jib crane with a chain hoist, the company chose the G-Jib™ by Gorbel with a 16-foot span and 660 pound capacity. The G-Jib™ allows full coverage of two welding tables without restricting movement of the overhead bridge crane. It also features the actuator of the lifting device in a fixed position while only the trolley moves along the boom of the jib, reducing deadweight and offering a competitive advantage to a regular jib with a chain hoist.

    The primary goal of the G-Jib™ was achieved now that the fabrication work cell is free to continue working without waiting for the overhead crane to become available.

    "I liked that it was a total solution with the crane and lifting device in one package," said the Installation and Warehouse Manager.

    Another benefit that workers are enjoying is the amount of control they have when positioning the loads. "With the big crane, moving anything around was very course," said an operator. "It was tough with just the one speed hoist to position something carefully. Now we can engage float mode when we’re doing some fine alignment on some assemblies. I can use both hands to guide it, it’s very precise."

    "We’re very happy with the work flow now," said the Supervisor. "I don’t have people standing around waiting for someone else to finish what they’re doing so they can lift something. The G-Jib™ just makes so much more sense for that application. It’s so much less cumbersome, and our workers have great control over the loads."



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  • Susan Griepsma

    Well, naming this post "love handles" should bring some interesting traffic to our site... 

    Today I wanted to shed a little light on our G-Force® handles.  The G-Force® itself is a very innovative product, but I don't think people get a real sense of its full capabilities until they see the different handle options we offer, and how those different options integrate with tooling from our integrators (stay tuned - I'll be doing a future post showing some of the really cool G-Force® tooling we've seen). 

    Allow me to introduce you to our G-Force® handle possibilities:

    First up - the In-Line Slide Handle.  The in-line slide handle allows operators to get close to the load for more control and precision.  With this handle, the load moves with the motion of the operator’s hand. Our In-Line Slide Handle has a backlit display so you can set up certain features of your G-Force® right from the handle menus, and also see valuable information like operation modes, weight readout, diagnostic info, and fault codes. 

    Next up is our Remote Mount Slide Handle.  This configuration offers all the benefits of our slide handle, but works better for applications where your operators can't get close to the load.

    We also have Pendant Control Handles.  The first is a Suspended Pendant, which is great if you have limited headroom, where your operator can't get close to the load, or when they need to maximize the lifting stroke.  It's also a good choice if you expect the load to bounce or tip during lifting. The pendant handle can also be mounted remotely (we call that our Remote Mount Pendant. Brilliant, right?)  Choose the Remote Mount Pendant if the handle is mounted more than 12" from where the wire rope attaches to tooling, or when you expect the load to bounce or tip during lifting.

    AND don't forget our Force Sensing Handles, released last summer, which are also available in in-line, hub, and remote mount configurations.

    There you have it.  I hope this helps shed a little light on why you'd choose one handle over another (and hope you love them all as much as we do!)  Stay tuned for tooling pictures in future posts.

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  • Susan Griepsma

    Congratulations to our Aluminum Gantry Crane, which won the Gold Award for Manual Material Handling at last night's Plant Engineering Magazine's 2011 Product of the Year Awards dinner. 

    Each year, the staff of Plant Engineering magazine selects products in a variety of categories to compete for their Product of the Year Award.  The products all appear in their magazine, and qualified Plant Engineers then vote on their favorite ones.  The Aluminum Gantry now joins past Gorbel Product of the Year winners like our Pivot Pro® Light Duty Articulating Jib, our G-Force® Intelligent Lifting Device, our Easy Arm™ Intelligent Lifting Arm, and Tether Track™ Rigid Rail Fall Arrest Anchor Systems.

    Learn more about the Aluminum Gantry in this installation video and the roll-out video from the ProMat 2011 Show Floor.


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  • Susan Griepsma

    I didn't think it was possible, but we just made our G-Force® line of Intelligent Lifting products even more awesome.  You asked for it, and you got it - Float Mode is now a standard feature on all G-Force®, Easy Arm®, and G-Jib® units.  I get a little geeked up about G-Force® stuff.  Could you tell?

    Check out this video, where G-Force® Product Sales Manager Mark Grandusky explains the new standard Float Mode feature and the associated benefits such as:

    • User settable overload limits allow in-field setting of overload capacity.  This can be used to allow only the load you want lifted instead of overloading beyond full capacity of the unit
    • More accurate load sensing capability for overload detection
    • Weight readout on the LCD screen at the handle

    We threw in some other improvements to the Program Mode interface, too:

    • Additional error diagnostics and fault information
    • A spare I/O block upgrade that allows advanced feature capabilities that were previously unavailable, like an external high resolution (less than 1 oz.) load cell
    • Improved memory and CPU efficiency that allow more custom features to be added

    We hope you enjoy this video from one of the world's foremost leading experts in Intelligent Lifting Devices.  Need more info?  Give us a call at (800) 821-0086. 

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  • Susan Griepsma

    This past Sunday, there was a story on Good Morning America about a partially paralyzed Berkeley graduate who walked across the stage to get his diploma, thanks to the help of technology.  I'm a sucker for a feel-good story, so I was glued to the screen.  As they started talking about the exoskeleton technology, which was originally designed to help factory workers safely move large loads, I thought, "Hey, this sounds an awful lot like our G-Force®."  And sure enough, the technology used to help this young man walk was developed by UC Berkeley Professor Hami Kazerooni, the same scientist who invented the technology behind our G-Force® and Easy Arm® Intelligent Lifting Devices. 

    (Photo courtesy of

    Here's the link to the story, which talks more in-depth about the technology:


    Congratulations to Austin on his graduation, and a huge pat on the back to Professor Kazerooni and everyone else in the Berkeley lab who helped develop this amazing technology. 

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  • Susan Griepsma

    Float (verb) /flōt/ 
    1.  Rest or move on or near the surface of a liquid without sinking
    2. Be suspended freely in a liquid or gas
    3. Move or hover slowly and lightly in a liquid or the air; drift

    I'm a big fan of floating.  It's so relaxing to be weightless in water, letting the waves rock you into a fuzzy, dreamy place.  Plus, floating is a LOT less work than swimming...  But when you say "float" around Gorbel, you're not talking about your backyard pool - you can only be talking about one thing - "Float Mode" on our G-Force® and Easy Arm® Intelligent Lifting Devices.

    Float Mode is a pretty cool concept - when the G-Force® and Easy Arm® are in Float Mode, the operators can precisely orient the load through the full stroke range by putting their hands right on the load instead of on the controls of the unit.  This gives the operator so much control to precisely place a load. 

    We have several end-users who have told us that Float Mode has been a lifesaver for them.  The added control when placing fragile parts really cuts down on costly damaged parts, and that savings goes right to your bottom line.  Here are a few case studies where Float Mode has made all the difference:

    Lawn Mower Manufacturer: “Float Mode makes this all possible,” said the Senior Manufacturing Engineer. “When we tried doing this manually, we could only get a few done per hour, and our people were exhausted. Now we can do 15-20 pieces per hour with just one operator who doesn’t get exhausted at all.”

    Hydraulic Cylinder Manufacturer:  “Control is the big thing,” said one operator. “Once I lock onto the part with the magnet, I can lift it, rotate it or put it in float mode to position it onto the clamp exactly where it needs to be.”

    Hydraulic Motor Manufacturer:  "In Float Mode, the G-Force® basically counterbalances the weight of the cylinder so that it almost seems weightless," said Manufacturing Engineer Jon Seboe.  "Our operator doesn't even need the G-Force® controls to move the part. He can maneuver it into position with his fingertips - just like fine-tuning. Even if the part weighed 300 pounds, the G-Force® can make it seem weightless."   

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  • Susan Griepsma

    We got a great holiday gift today.  We found out that Today's Industrial Products and Solutions Magazine named Gorbel's G-Jib Intelligent Lifting Jib as one of their Top Products of 2010.  The G-Jib is the newest product in our family of Intelligent Lifting Devices built on our G-Force technology.  We rolled out the G-Jib in January of this year, and the response has been phenomenal.  Congrats to the G-Jib and all the Gorbel people involved in making such a great product!

    Happy Holidays from everyone at Gorbel.  We wish you and your families a joyous holiday season, and a healthy and happy New Year! 

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    G-Force G-Jib
  • Susan Griepsma

    Ah, Chicago in the fall.  Beautiful city, beautiful time of year.  What better time to check out the latest and greatest in the world of Manufacturing Technology at the IMTS 2010 Show at McCormick Place next week?

    If you've never been to IMTS, let me say's huge.  Enormous.  Wall to wall exhibitors filling up 4 buildings in McCormick Place.  If you need something to help improve your manufacturing process and you can't find it at IMTS, it probably doesn't exist.  That's why we love being at this show.  It's the ideal place to show off tried and true technology, but also a great place to find the new cutting edge technologies. 

    We probably won't be your first stop, because we're tucked in the back of Building E, but please make it a point to stop by and see us in Booth E-5065 (right across from one of the two Robot Combat booths), especially if you've never tried out our G-Force® or Easy Arm® units and want to see what all the fuss is about.  A hands-on demo of either unit will really illustrate what sets them apart from traditional lifting devices.  Not only do you get a hands-on demo, but you also get to take a little trip down memory lane as we give you the chance to play Gorbel's version of the Operation game.  Help us perform some minor surgery on our Gorbel game table using the G-Force® - and without setting off the dreaded buzzer - you might even win yourself a copy of the new Operation game!

    Operation Game


    After you've mastered the Operation Game, check out our Augmented Reality display, where our Crane Technology and Ergonomic Lifting products come to life in your hands.  Create a 3-D work cell using just your imagination and a simple web cam.  Before you leave, peruse our collection of Intelligent Assist Device tooling photos so you can really get a sense of all that's possible with the G-Force® or Easy Arm®

    See you in Chicago!

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  • Susan Griepsma

    It's another hot, sticky day in Western NY, the perfect kind of day to be lazy.  So I'm giving the blog team the day off, and we're going to let our end-users tell the story today.  The focus?  Our G-Force® Intelligent Lifting Device.  As a Marketing person, I struggle to capture the "wow" factor of the G-Force® in words.  It's the kind of product that you don't truly appreciate until you've used it yourself.  Believe me, it's pretty awesome to be able to lift a 150 lb load with hardly any effort.  But don't listen to me, I'm just a lowly Marketing person.  Check out what people "in the know" have to say:


    There was a definite ‘wow factor’ the first time we saw the G-Force®,” said Matt Malfroid, Quality & Training Supervisor for Best Metal Products. “Everyone who touched it was amazed with the ability to float such large parts.”


    "The G-Force® system has cut down on our time to assemble the engine drastically. Before, it would take us one hour just to install the cooling package, now it takes less than 5 minutes." - Dorian Rice, Production Worker


    "I couldn't be happier with it. There's no comparison. The G-Force® is so much smoother than an air balancer - and I don't have to wait for the balancer to catch up!" -David Rothfuss, Operator


    "If you try to introduce a solution to a problem, but it actually makes the process hard or slow, workers just won’t use it," said Dave Diehl, a Process Engineer at Atlas Copco. "We’ve had no problems with workers not using the G-Force®. They all think this is the greatest thing."


    Well, my work here is done.  I'm just going to finish this iced tea, roll out of the hammock, and figure out who we can get to write next week's blog posts for us... 

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  • Susan Griepsma

    I used to be a huge newspaper reader, but for the past year, I've been getting all my news online.  My bookshelves at home are full of books I bought years ago, but now most books I read are ones I've downloaded to my laptop or Blackberry.  There's a definite shift from the tangible to the virtual in my home life, and I'm wondering how that shift will start to play out for my work life.

    Case in point?  Trade shows.  Trade shows are a big part of our marketing plan, in part because of the nature of our products.  If we were a button manufacturer, we could easily send out button samples to every customer who was interested in our products.  But popping a sample jib crane in the mail isn't quite as realistic...  Trade shows provide us an easy way to get our products in front of large audiences and to give them the hands-on demos that they need to understand what makes our products different, especially our G-Force and Easy Arm lifting devices.

    Gorbel Show Booth

    With every trade show I go to, it seems that fewer and fewer companies are showing their actual product, and more and more are relying on videos and websites to show their wares.  And now, several of the magazines that we advertise with are actually offering virtual online trade shows as part of their marketing packages. 

    It all leads me to question the future of trade shows. 

      * Are convention halls full of row after row of product booths and aisles full of badge-wearing attendees going to become a thing of the past? 

      * Do companies even still budget for their employees to attend shows? 

      * Do you still consider trade shows a good way to network and check out new products, or are the Internet and Social Media edging them out?

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on trade shows and where you think they're headed.  Leave us a comment!

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  • Susan Griepsma

    Congratulations to our Tether Track Rigid Rail Fall Arrest Anchor System, which won the Bronze Award in the Environmental Safety and Health Category at this year's Plant Engineering Magazine's Product of the Year Awards.

    Gorbel's Tether Track

    Each year, the staff of Plant Engineering magazine selects products in a variety of categories to compete for their Product of the Year Award.  The products all appear in their magazine, and qualified Plant Engineers then vote on their favorite products.  Past Gorbel winners have included our Pivot Pro® Light Duty Articulating Jib, our G-Force® Intelligent Lifting Device and our Easy Arm Intelligent Lifting Arm.  We're proud to add Tether Track to our winning line-up!

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