Mack Manufacturing Inc. was in the forefront when diesel-powered crane buckets and grapples with remote controls first appeared in the material handling industry, according to the Alabama-based company. With the latest addition to its line-up of attachments, Mack set its sights on “small” with a series of self-contained remotely operated attachments ranging from as little as 3/8 cubic yard up to a 20 yard capacity.
According to Mack’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Matt Davidson, the new small-sized grapples and buckets were developed to solve big problems for customers in forestry, recycling, aggregate and shipping industries. “We have been producing large units like this to handle bulk loading for several years,” he explains. “But we found many customers need similar attachments sized smaller for more mobility, faster deployment and greater precision in moving material.”
The new Mack attachments can handle a wide array of materials, including logs, rocks, scrap metals, waste and bulk material. The first unit Mack delivered was a 3/8 cubic yard 5-tine grapple, built for a paper mill to clear jammed logs from its debarking process. “Jams can be a costly problem, whether you’re processing logs like this, or pulling oversized, wedged-in material from a grinder or a shredder. In this case, a stuck log could stop production for 6 hours or more. The jam could happen 60 feet above the crane location, out of the crane operator’s sight, and the mill would have to send a crew into the equipment to free up the jam.”
The paper mill ordered the self-contained grapple from Mack so an operator can use the remote control to pick out a stuck log. The crane, working down below the debarker line, simply lifts and positions the grapple with directions for the remote operator. “It’s much safer than the old method,” Davidson continues. “The remote operator can maneuver the grapple precisely to clear the jam in far less time. It can save a day’s production.”
Because they are fully self-contained, the new Mack attachments can swing into action quickly. Simply attach the grapple or clamshell bucket to the crane’s hook, start the engine, and it’s ready to start moving product. Any rope crane, hydraulic crane or even an overhead crane can put the attachment into service as needed to keep conveyors and processing equipment moving, or to perform other light-duty tasks efficiently.
The smallest of the Mack attachments are powered by 14 HP air-cooled Hatz diesel engines. The largest models use 85 HP air-cooled Deutz diesels. The attachments are maneuvered by hand-held radio controls similar to those used with Mack’s production-sized self-contained models.