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Federal Equipment Company Purchases TKF, Inc.


Federal Equipment Company (FEC), a Cincinnati, OH based supplier of integrated systems to the defense industry and commercial helicopter market, has purchased TKF, Inc., a Cincinnati, OH based conveyor systems and manufacturing company.  “This deal will strengthen both companies through combined production capabilities, market reach and enhanced product offerings.” said Mr. Doug Ridenour, Federal Equipment Company’s President.  “By tapping into TKF's capabilities we can expand our customer base, and utilize our combined experience and core competencies to serve a larger market place.”

Mr. Ridenour went on to add, “From TKF's perspective, the advantages to the acquisition are enhanced capabilities and financial strength.  We want to build a stronger market presence for both companies.  This merger will allow us to do that.”


Federal Equipment Company (FEC) is a global leader in engineering, manufacturing and systems integration for the defense industry and helicopter landing systems. FEC also manufacturers multiple spindle drillheads through one of its subsidiaries, US Drillhead. Through the years the company has emerged into an internationally recognized organization that can solve extremely arduous engineering and manufacturing challenges.

About TKF, Inc.

TKF designs, builds and installs conveying systems.  The company’s services range from systems integration, initial engineering concepts and final design, to manufacturing and installation.  TKF’s manufactured products include reciprocating and continuous vertical conveyors, PosiGrip conveyor, overhead, monorail and power and free conveyor, popup transfer, accumulation, curve, roller and a variety of custom engineered conveyor and material handling systems.

Heavy Duty Accumulation Conveyor from TKF Uses Single Drive to Control Multiple Accumulation Zones

TKF's zoned accumulation conveyor with roll-to-roll chain driven live rollers (CDLR), is designed to handle medium to heavy-duty loads.  The zone lengths can be designed to coincide with the product lengths. The entire conveyor length is then driven by a single power unit.  Each accumulation zone is driven by air-operated clutches that are controlled by photo-eyes and solenoids located in each zone.  While sensor rollers are available, the all electric sensing eliminates the wear and tear of a sensor roller.  The single drive configuration requires less power than multi-drive systems and produces a clean, low maintenance system.

TKF Zoned Accumulation ConveyorTKF's accumulation conveyor is also designed with each clutch assembly mounted on the side frame of the conveyor, instead of underneath.  This creates a very low profile that positions the top of each roller as low as 6 inches off the floor, making it ideal for heavy loads and pallet conveying.  It also provides a very accessible location for moving parts, which makes maintenance very easy.

Roller diameters are available in diameters of 1.9 inches, 2.5 inches and 3.5 inches and widths up to 60 inches.  Weight loads up to 6000 lbs. are typical.

Overhead Monorail and Power & Free Conveyor Systems from TKF Reduce Costs and Increase Productivity at Small to Mid-Size Manufacturing Facilities


TKF, Inc. offers overhead monorail and power and free conveyor systems, which, in many cases, are ideal for small manufacturing plants, as well as large facilities that have traditionally employed such systems.  The systems are available to efficiently accommodate products weighing up to 6,000 pounds. 

Overhead Monorail, Power and Free ConveyorTKF's overhead and power and free systems can produce operating efficiencies, and reduce manual handling between sequential processes while accommodating static work station operations.  Product can be accumulated to support nonsynchronous processes, and selective routing can be incorporated for varying sequencing of unique products.

For installation in new or existing facilities, TKF works with every customer to design a custom system specific to the needs of each.

See Us At PackExpo - October 31-November 3, 2010


Please stop by PackExpo booth E5712, and see our conveyors in action!

Bowtie Conveyor is Ideal for Handling Pipe and Cylindrical Products

V-Roller Bowtie ConveyorTKF, Inc. now offers custom bowtie conveyor systems that are designed to convey pipe and other cylindrically shaped products efficiently and safely within a small footprint.  Sometimes called a “V” roller, the trough shape of the roller allows the product to be conveyed while virtually eliminating the side-to-side movement associated with a round object.  

While each system is customized to each customer’s specific requirements, the driving mechanism can be roller-to-roller chain drive or TKF’s roller-to-roller PosiGrip belt drive.  

The trough style design accommodates a wide variety of widths and lengths, and can be used indoors and or adapted to be used outdoors in harsh environments. 

Streamlined Design and Construction Results in Low Maintenance, Quiet Pop-Up Transfer Conveyor


TKF offers pop-up transfer conveyors designed for smooth, quiet, trouble free operation. One of the company's most popular models is a light-duty unit desPop-up Transfer Conveyorigned to handle loads up to 250 pounds. It utilizes economical and compact motorized roller driven strands, eliminating noisy chain drives. There are no vertical guides or cam ramps used for positioning, and no slides or bearings used in its construction, making it simple to maintain.

The light-duty model is available with urethane V-belt, urethane o-ring, or chain strands. The number of strands and stroke height can be customized to suit particular application needs. Heavier duty models are also available through TKF that utilize traditional motor drives.

Pop-up transfer conveyors lift items vertically raising them above the bed of the feeding conveyor, then conveys them 90° to an adjoining or adjacent conveyor. The transfer uses mechanical linkage to guide lifting. They are ideal for the computer and electronic component, food and beverage, appliance, automotive, and glass industries where non-contact between product is crucial. 

Stainless Steel Vertical Lift from Resists Rust and Corrosion


A stainless steel version of TKF's high-speed continuous vertical lift resists rust and other corrosion. Its stainless, easy-to-clean surface makes the conveyor ideal for wet or outdoor applications such as those Stainless Steel Vertical Liftfound in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, or processing applications where it needs to be cleaned, or even hosed down regularly. 

The TKF continuous vertical conveyor accepts loads horizontally, conveys them vertically and discharges horizontally in a continuous non-stop operation with loading and unloading in a Z pattern. The lift can reverse direction - either up or down - as required. It features chain speeds up to 120 feet per minute, and depending on the dimensions of the items being conveyed, can output up to 40 loads per minute.

Each load is carried on a moving platform attached to continuous loops of chain. The unique platform carrier is rigid in the horizontal load-carrying position, yet flexible as it loops around the top and bottom sprockets as it returns to the load position. This design feature reduces the overall size of the lift.

Powered conveyors synchronized to the lift platform speed are used in loading and unloading, and are designed for the specific product to be handled, using roller, belt or chain. Five standard lift models are available, with unit load capacities ranging from 5 lbs. to 4,000 lbs., and vertical travel up to 80 feet.

Though they are assembled from pre-engineered modular components, TKF continuous vertical conveyors are customized for each individual application.

Overhead, Power and Free Monorail Conveyor System


Sweco Looks Up for Answers to Improving its Painting Operation

Sweco, a leading manufacturer of industrial particle separation equipment, wanted to streamline its parts painting operation. The process includes blasting with steel shot the many parts and components that go into the assembly of the company’s equipment, then painting, and properly drying the parts after the primer or paint is applied. Sweco designs, manufactures and assembles most major components for its line of separation and particle size reduction equipment at its Florence, KY headquarters.

Prior to adding 30,000 square feet to its manufacturing facility, the painting operation was in an area of the plant where ceilings height ranged from 16 to 18 feet. The relatively low ceilings restricted the use of overhead lifting equipment. When parts and components were ready to be painted, they were brought into a blasting booth with forklifts. Small parts were hung from the ceiling on chains, while larger and heavier parts were placed on saw horses. Once blasted, the parts were moved out of the blasting booth with forklifts and staged for painting.

The same manual method was then repeated to move the parts into the company’s 11 foot tall paint booth. Sweco would put as many parts as possible into the booth at one time, again either suspended on chains, or sitting on saw horses. Each batch of parts required three coats of paint, and roughly two hours of air drying time in between each coat. While parts were drying, they sat inside the paint booth, meaning no additional painting was taking place. When the time-consuming process was complete, the parts were removed from the booth with a forklift and taken to the assembly area.

When demand for parts - painted and ready for assembly - outstripped the department’s ability to deliver, Sweco outsourced the painting function to local paint shops. The system worked, but not as efficiently at the company would like.

Carriers Staged for Painting on Overhead Monorail Conveyor

30,000 Square Feet, with Plenty of Ceiling Height

In late 2007, Sweco began laying out plans for a plant expansion to more efficiently handle growing demand for its vibratory separation equipment. Sweco’s Manufacturing Engineering Team saw an opportunity to move the painting operation to the new building and take advantage of ample overhead space.

With general mechanical contracting and consulting help from Young and Bertke, Cincinnati, OH, the Sweco project management team worked with TKF, Inc., a Cincinnati based material handling company and distributor for the Jervis B. Webb Company. TKF conceptualizes designs, builds and installs conveyor systems including vertical lifts, accumulation conveyor, and overhead conveyor systems.

TKF’s challenge was to reduce the start-to-finish time needed to paint a part; automate, yet allow manual control of the flow of parts through the system; and increase the department’s output capacity. They approached the painting function from a pure material handling point of view, conceptualized, and designed a system that included an Overhead, Power and Free monorail conveyor system that would streamline the flow of the wide variety of parts Sweco manufactures, into and out of the painting process.

A totally integrated overhead crane, lift platforms, and TKF’s overhead, power and free monorail conveyor were installed in the new facility in mid-2008. The overhead crane was positioned between the new blasting booth Sweco installed and the lift platform, with the lift platform located at the loading end of the overhead monorail conveyor. Also installed were a new paint booth, and infrared curing oven that would allow Sweco to take full advantage of the new monorail conveyor.

Since Sweco was doing building design at the same time the new material handling system was being designed, they were able to incorporate the entire overhead crane and monorail into the building’s support structure. No additional support beams were needed inside the building to accommodate the new painting process.

Load Station and Paint Booth with Overhead Monorail

Smooth, Trouble-Free Operation

Fully operational since September, 2008, the painting process begins as parts are transported to the blasting booth. Heavier parts are moved into the booth with the help of the overhead crane, while smaller, lighter parts are transported with a forklift. Once blasted, and ready for painting, they’re moved via the crane or forklift to the lifting platform located just in front of the paint booth. Here they’re lifted and placed on a new Power & Free Carrier system that hangs from the monorail.

Eight custom carriers, each with a 4000 lb. capacity, were designed to hang from the monorail, hold and transport the wide variety of parts Sweco manufactures. Parts currently range in size from 1 foot to 9 feet in length, and up to 2000 lbs. each.

Once parts are suspended from the carrier and ready for painting, an operator uses a simple control panel to initiate carrier movement into the paint booth. The paint booth doors open, and the low-maintenance monorail conveyor transports the carriers into the new paint booth, where they stop. The booth doors close and the parts are then manually spray painted. Manual painting of the parts is most appropriate for Sweco due to the variety of primer and paint schemes the company applies.

With parts suspended, and now moving into and out of the center of the booth on the monorail, Sweco’s painter is much more efficient since he’s able to stay in a compact painting envelop near center of the booth. With little movement, he can paint all sides of the suspended parts before another carrier is moved into place. There’s better lighting, better ventilation, and significantly less paint is used due to efficiencies of the process. Previously, a 50 foot paint hose was pulled through the booth as needed to paint parts that occupied all available floor space in the booth.

When the painting is completed, the booth doors are opened by the operator and the carrier is released to move the parts into an infrared curing oven. The monorail conveyor is installed above, out of heating zone of the oven and is not affected by the heat. Only the carrier and parts enter the oven.

Instead of taking two hours to air dry, the parts are now dried in a single 20 minute cycle. This not only reduces drying time, but improves the quality of the paint job itself. When the curing is complete, the doors on the oven automatically open. After push button actuation, the carrier is released and moves into a staging area.

Unloading Station on Overhead Monorail Conveyor

Since most parts must go through the paint booth three times, the carriers may be looped back to the paint booth, or directed to an unload lift platform. The system operator controls the destination of each carrier. After unload, empty carriers accumulate on a separate line, ready to be returned to the load station.

Both the paint booth and the curing oven were built so that a forklift can drive into them to transport a part directly. This is especially useful when Sweco is working on a heavier, rush or custom part that needs special attention.

Now it Works for Us

According to one of Sweco’s manufacturing engineers, Corey Fry: “The new system has helped us accomplish our time reduction objectives. The two hours it took in between coats of paint, to let each coat dry, and the operator downtime that went along with it has been eliminated. That’s six total hours per batch of parts that we have back now. We also doubled our total output capacity, and eliminated the need to outsource painting.”

Mr. Fry went on to say, “We can put rush parts into the system and get them out very quickly now. We used to have to work around our painting system. Now it works for us. TKF has been great to work with. They very quickly determined the configuration of the system we needed, and designed it to fit within the footprint we had for the operation. We’ve been very pleased.”

Paint Booth Doors Open with Overhead Monorail Shown     Overhead Power and Free Monorail Conveyor System     Closeup of Carrier for Overhead Monorail

PosiGrip Accumulation Conveyor Features Smooth, Clean, Quiet Operation


PosiGrip Accumulation ConveyorWith its drive gears formed directly into the rollers, the PosiGrip Accumulation Conveyor from TKF, Inc. has no separate sprocket or gears and no welded drive components. The rollers are powered by smooth-operating and quiet, synchronous belting in a positive drive. Since there is no metal-to-metal contact, no lubrication is required and the system does not generate oily, messy components.

All electrical components can be self-contained within the side frame, which eliminates the need for wiring back to PLCs and reduces the cost of field wiring. It is ideal for both clean environments such as electronic component manufacturing and food and beverage processing, as well as tough, rugged applications where non-contact between conveyed product is crucial.

PosiGrip features non-contact, zero pressure accumulation. Accumulation zones are driven by the motorized rollers, each with a drive card with settings that allow easy adjustment of speed acceleration and deceleration. The drive roller stops as product reaches the photo-eye at the discharge point of the zone, virtually ensuring that no contact takes place. Zones can be individually controlled for specific assembly areas and are available up to 75” long and 48” wide.

With its heavy duty, compact design and a lower profile than ever before possible in a powered conveyor, the PosiGrip Accumulation Conveyor easily handles a wide array of products with unit loads up to 400lbs. in each zone.

The PosiGrip Accumulation Conveyor’s modular design offers maximum flexibility and allows easy installation. A variety of special configurations are available. TKF’s highly experienced staff can recommend, design, manufacture and install the PosiGrip conveyor system that best fits any customer’s conveying needs.

Model 180 High-Speed Continuous Vertical Lift From TKF Features 6000 lb. Unit Load Capacity


Continuous Vertical Lift from TKFThe Model 180 continuous vertical lift from TKF is designed to accept loads horizontally, convey them vertically, and discharge them horizontally in a “Z” pattern. They run in a single vertical direction – up or down - or can be configured to be reversible on-demand. The chain driven system features a generous 6000 lb. unit load capacity and with a chain speed of up to 120 feet per minute, will deliver up to 35 loads per minute depending on product dimensions.

The fully automatic unit is capable of lifting loads to heights over 100 feet. A moving platform carrier receives each load from the feed conveyor, conveys it up or down to the unload station, and discharges it to the receiving conveyor. The lift platform utilizes a synchronized powered conveyor that loads and unloads items to any compatible conveyor system. No operator intervention is required except for routine maintenance, and the unit is designed to run 24/7.

Each load is carried on a moving platform fastened between continuous loops of chain. The platform carrier is rigid in the horizontal load-carrying position, yet flexible as it rotates around the top and bottom sprockets. This design saves space and the unit typically occupies less floor space than comparable lifts. The lift and platform can be designed to handle virtually any size load.

TKF can provide their own pre-engineered control system, or can customize the controls to meet specific customer requirements.

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