Artillery Shell Manipulator
Operators at U.S. Army arsenal locations are required to load artillery projectiles with various materials depending upon the specific application for the shells. This particular facility loads 155 mm howitzer shell casings with specific materials designed to illuminate a battlefield at night, designating these shells as illumination projectiles. At the arsenal, the operators receive a pallet of (8) shells in an upright position adjacent to a conveyor. They need to reach over and pick, raise then rotate the shells 180° for the loading process; after loading, the shells are rotated back 180° and placed on the shipping pallet.
The all-pneumatic lifters are designed to be suspended from the existing hoist units. Due to the sensitive nature of the product, the lifters incorporate several safety features including a failsafe holding system in the event of power (compressed air) loss and a load cell release interlock (preventing the gripper jaws from opening until the shell had been placed in the appropriate cradle).