Load Transfer: Crane system solves several problems for automotive stamper

Above: Pridgeon & Clay required a better method of rotating large dies without blocking production, and
called in EMH for ideas.

April, 2024- Founded in 1948, privately owned Pridgeon & Clay offers progressive and transfer metal stamping processes with presses up to 2,000 tons. The Houston-based company, one of the world’s largest independent, value-added manufacturers, serves both OEM and Tier 1 manufacturers.

Industries served also include automotive, Class 8 heavy truck, agricultural and marine equipment, motorcycle manufacturing, wind and solar energy, fuel cell and battery makers, and hardware and appliance.

The materials the company transforms include high-strength hot-rolled and cold-rolled carbon and stainless steels, galvanized steel, aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, specialty alloys such as titanium, and other ferrous and nonferrous metals.

Manufacturing processes include progressive press, transfer press and servo press stamping; fine blanking; in-die sensoring and welding; prototyping; assembly; multiple methods of welding; and secondary finishing.

One routine procedure at its factory in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, requires the rotation of large dies. Pridgeon & Clay’s previous die handling system incorporated one hoist. Damage to the processing machinery was an ever-present hazard, as was the safety of employees who were manipulating those dies into place.

American Crane Systems (ACS)—a distributor for Engineered Material Handling (EMH) in Mexico that also builds its own cranes—offered a better solution. ACS recommended a single-leg semi-gantry crane designed and built by EMH.


By integrating two 10-ton hoists that work in tandem, the single-leg semi-gantry crane would enable Pridgeon & Clay to rotate and turn large dies up to 90 degrees safely, efficiently and with great accuracy, while dramatically reducing the chances of damage to the stamping dies.

EMH built in safety features like the one above to prevent harm to nearby workers. The EMH
single-leg semi-gantry crane integrated the company’s new EG hoist.

The customer chose the single-leg semi-gantry crane because the span for the die work area was too large and unsuitable for a standard overhead crane installation. Plus, Pridgeon & Clay wanted to reserve space for a personnel aisle.

After being installed beneath the main overhead crane, the EMH crane made it easy to transfer loads between workstations, freeing up the manufacturer’s overhead crane to handle other tasks.

With its 10-ton capacity, shop floor productivity was multiplied, according to EMH, and an exclusive wear-resistant poly wheel design eliminated the need to install floor rails. This also reduced costs and improved shop safety by preventing trip hazards common with crane options requiring in-floor rails.


The EMH single-leg semi-gantry crane at the Mexican factory also integrated the company’s new EMH EG hoist. Using the EG Series hoist makes trolley adjustment easier with integrated and robust staging that stays tightly together during adjustment. The EG Series hoist is also designed to have a spacious enclosure to accommodate much larger control panels and variable frequency drives. It has capacities of 3, 5, 7.5 and 10 metric tons, and 20-, 33-, 50- and 65-foot lifts. EG Series hoists are available in monorail and double- girder models.

At Pridgeon & Clay, the EG hoists were cross-mounted, which means the drums were mounted perpendicular to the bridge beam. This allows smooth and safe rotation of the dies without side-pulling across the drum grooves. An application-specific feature, EMH can install crossmounted EG hoist drums for any application that might benefit from it.

The EG Series hoist incorporates several safety features. A new smoothacting rope guide tracks on a bar, independent of the hoist frame, to eliminate possible damage. Instead of having various lengths of deadend supports, there is just one size that fits all three lift ranges: 20, 33 and 50 feet. The EG Series also offers specialized hoist options, including variable frequency hoisting.


Since the EMH single-leg semi-gantry crane was installed at Pridgeon & Clay, it has required zero repair and very little maintenance. This is a huge advantage because Pridgeon & Clay runs its die operations 24 hours a day seven days a week. Along with the crane’s ability to increase productivity by allowing the overhead cranes to perform other tasks, the semi-gantry crane continues to eliminate damage to large dies during rotation while keeping employees safe.
In addition, American Crane System integrated another important safety feature to protect plant workers. ACS added an obstacle detector and cut-off switch on the lower end-truck to prevent crashes or the chance of harm to those close to the installation on the shop floor. Consequently, Pridgeon & Clay has already made plans for ACS to install two more EMH 20-ton single-leg semi-gantry cranes.

American Crane Systems S.A. de C.V., +52 (81) 8335-7212, http://acs-mexico.com/
Engineered Material Handling, 330/220-8600, http://emhcranes.com/