Which is the best load moving system for you?
You need a safe, cost-effective and flexible way of moving heavy parts and machinery from one place to another within your facility. One option is transfer carts. Another option is rail cars. Read on to discover which material handling system is best for you.
Rail cars are vehicles that run along rails at floor level in an industrial facility. The rails are fixed, allowing for movement only along a set path. They are typically operated by remote control. Rail cars typically move loads of up to 200 tons.
Transfer carts are self-propelled modular transporters that move heavy loads at ground level. They run on wheels, are usually battery powered, steerable and operated by radio remote control. They frequently lift and move loads of up to 100 tons.
|Rail Cars||Transfer Carts|
|Lifting capacity||None||100 tons|
|Moving capacity||100 tons||100 tons|
|Travel path||Static, defined and inflexible||Unlimited maneuverability because units can be steered in 360°|
|Turning radius footprint||Cannot turn||Most transfer carts rotate 360° within their own footprint|
|Rotate in place||Limited ability||Many transfer carts can rotate a load in place|
|Reach||Can reach only where track exists||Can reach anywhere the load can fit|
|Vertical Path||No ability to raise or lower loads||Typically elevate loads off the ground by a few inches|
|Loading||Loads must be placed onto rail cars using another system, such as a crane or forklift truck||Most transfer carts can slide under a load and lift the load from underneath, provided that the load is resting on a skid designed for this purpose|
|Floor space||Consume a lot of floor space that cannot be used for any other purpose. Impede traffic and decrease productivity when installed in tight quarters.||Operate on any floor surface in a facility that is flat, level and engineered to withstand the weight of the load being transported..|
|Cost of installation||High||Low|
|Cost of operation||Low||Low|
|Cost of training||Low||Low|
|Cost of maintenance||Low||Low|
|Installation time||Weeks or months||Minutes|
|Flexibility of use||Low||High; no first-in, first-out concerns|
|Transferability||Low||High; easily, quickly and cost-effectively relocated to different locations|
|Training||Level of training is low. Operate with push-button simplicity, requiring little training.||Level of training is low Operation is simple.|
Rails create tripping hazards, even when embedded at floor level
The bottom line
Rails may be an effective option when you must move loads of up to 200 tons consistently on a fixed path, and when flexibility in move paths is not a concern.
Transfer carts are the perfect choice when you must move loads of up to 100 tons, when you need to get up and running quickly, and when move path flexibility is a requirement.