Special Vehicle: STILL Ergopick

Nominated in the IFOY category ‘Special Vehicle’ is the Still Ergopick, which offers a flexible and ergonomically designed solution for handling heavy and bulky goods in various areas. The solution is based on the Still CX-S 16 horizontal order picker and has been fitted with a lifting arm complete with vacuum lifter from the Schmaltz company to ensure ergonomic handling. With this add-on device, the machine can pick heavy and bulky items efficiently and with minimum physical strain on the operator.

The Ergopick makes it possible to easily and safely lift all manner of containers, such as crates, buckets, sacks or barrels weighing up to 40 kilos, by a single person. The flexible hose system is controlled by one finger and allows the use of multiple grippers. The integrated fast-change adapter makes for easy and quick changeover between the various gripper mechanisms. Operation of the vacuum lifter takes some getting used to but will be soon intuitive after regular use.

The lifting arm has a reach of 2.1 metres and a range of 230 degrees around the truck. Thanks to the scissor lift mechanism, two pallets can be simultaneously lifted to a convenient working height of 785 mm. The mobility of the Still Ergopick permits palletization of goods directly at the order picking point, rendering additional transports and handling routines unnecessary.

When developing the Ergopick, Still focused on safety. The lifting arm has an electronic position detector, for example, to ensure that it always remains within the contours of the vehicle during travel and there is therefore no risk of collision. If the scissor arm is not in the safe position, the vehicle will not move. During order picking, the CX-S can be inched and exactly positioned at reduced speed and with slightly extended arm via buttons on the side of the machine.

The Still Ergopick offers a solution for companies who, as a result of the ever-stricter legislation in many countries, need an ergonomic solution and/or want to minimize health risks. After a period of familiarization, the system is more productive than manual handling, particularly where a high number of goods have to be moved frequently and the number of order picking stations is not too high. Employee fatigue then no longer plays a role. In addition, the system avoids the absence of personnel due to excessive physical strain resulting from the handling of heavy loads.

During the IFOY Test Days, it became clear that the operator has to become accustomed to this system. In this context, alternative solutions for the suspension and fixing of the hose for the vacuum grippers could make the system more user-friendly. Dosing of the vacuum power via the pistol grip requires a sensitive touch and takes some getting used to. The power behind the vacuum system is impressive. However, the system appears to be too cumbersome for order picking at a large number of different stations.

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