FIPA combines experience, quality & creativity to increase efficency, production & profit in the woodworking industry


FIPA Inc. recently designed and installed a custom material handling solution for Krieger Treppen GmbH, a well established and highly respected German staircase manufacturer. The system, now in place since August 2015, relieves employees from strenuous physical labor and increases overall efficiency and productivity.

A mid-sized company that has focused on the customized production, restoration, and renovation of carefully crafted, high quality, solid wood stairs for more than 50 years, Krieger Treppen GmbH sought an economical solution for modernizing the methods used to handle the large, heavy, rough-hewn wooden planks it sources from local sawmills.

“After careful deliberation, we chose to work with FIPA due to their extensive experience with developing specialized components and custom lifting solutions. We felt with their broad range of vacuum, gripper, crane and lifting systems, in conjunction with their talented in-house design and installation team, FIPA could provide an effective solution to a difficult challenge at a competitive price,” said Guido Krieger, Krieger Treppen GmbH. “The material handling system that FIPA built for us successfully satisfies all of our needs. Installed and in use since this August, the system has significantly reduced the physical demands on our employees while increasing efficiency and, as a result, both production and profit.”

Using a combination of its FIPALIFT Expert tube lifter, a custom crossbeam that easily adjusts to accommodate varying plank lengths, and four moveable vacuum suction cups equipped with specialized sealing foam to securely grip and prevent vacuum loss on the rough, uneven, and sometimes even fissured surface of the wooden planks, FIPA delivered an ergonomic and affordable material handling solution that allows a single employee to safely and easily lift, relocate, and precisely place planks weighing up to 353lbs (160kg) — a task that previously required the extreme exertion of at least two employees.

“Much of the machinery in modern woodworking shops has been enhanced by technology to improve efficiency and ensure operator safety. However, the loading and unloading of the often unwieldy wooden materials fed into such machines is typically still conducted by hand, which is both inefficient and dangerous, or is executed by expensive robotic lifting equipment that is inaccessible to most small- and medium-sized companies,” said Rainer Mehrer, president of FIPA. “At FIPA, we pride ourselves on utilizing our vast portfolio of standard vacuum and gripper components and the creative insights of our extremely talented and extensively experienced design team to develop cost-conscious custom lifting solutions designed to perfectly suit applications in a variety of industries, including: wood, glass, packaging, plastic, and metal.”

The standard version of the FIPALIFT Expert tube lifter, which serves as the primary component in the custom material handling solution developed for Krieger Treppen GmbH, has a lift height of 8.2’ (2.5m), a single suspension point, and a lifting capacity ranging from 66.14lbs (30kg) to 507.06lbs (230kg). It is also available with several additional options, including: a double unit that increases the lifting force to 639.34lbs (290kg), automatic shutoff of the vacuum supply, a wireless remote control for shutting off the vacuum supply, rust-resistant stainless steel designs for use in the corrosive environments and the food industry, a silencing box to reduce the noise level at the vacuum pump, both fixed and flexible elongated control units, and accessory and fitted crossbeams for handling large materials. Fixed elongated controllers are available in lengths spanning 19.65” to 47.24” (500–1,200mm), and flexible versions measure up to 62.99” (1,600mm).

Also available in Smart and Basic options, FIPALIFT tube lifters, like most of FIPA’s technology, are extremely customizable and are compatible with the entire range of FIPA vacuum, gripper, and EOAT technology, accessories, and adapters, which enables endless combinations of configurations ideally suited for handling nearly any conceivable load in an almost unlimited range of industries and applications, including carpentry workshops, sheet metal processing, the chemical industry, and even food production.