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Industrial Material Handling Solutions: Transfer Carts vs. Long Deck Carts

You know you have something big to move, but with all the different types of equipment out there, how do you find the right solution? When a forklift or a crane can’t be used, or greater safety or convenience is needed, motorized equipment engineers might suggest the heaviest duty of electric carts to move the largest materials: transfer carts and long deck carts. Though there is some overlap between the two, each of these mammoth material handling solutions has their own unique purpose and application.

Industrial Transfer Carts

Technically, any motorized cart or automatic guided vehicle (AGV) could be included under the broad transfer cart category in that they are being used to move materials from point A to point B. However, when most equipment engineers describe a transfer cart, they are typically referring to a few specific features:

  • High payload capacities — usually greater than 5,000 pounds
  • Single-rail-guided design to eliminate steering OR multiple drive wheels allow the cart to do a powered turn
  • Wireless control
  • Various levels of automation

Industrial transfer carts are specifically designed to help reduce the use of forklifts and overhead cranes to move and handle large payloads. These applications are often so heavy duty that they require the operator to stand a safe distance away from the cart while it’s in motion. We typically see industrial transfer carts work well for moving large fabrications, metal coils, heavy equipment, structural steel, or large components and assemblies.

While rail-guided carts can address simple transport paths, transfer carts are also ideal for contexts that require a high level of maneuverability. Multiple drive wheels and casters can enable easy, 360 degree rotation, even when transporting heavy payloads through tight spaces.

Industrial Long Deck Carts

Like industrial transfer carts, motorized long deck carts are excellent alternatives to forklifts or cranes, particularly for what might otherwise be a very wide load if transported by forklift. With long loads like piping, panels, or metal extrusions, it is generally convenient to allow the product to overhang both ends of the cart. For instance, if the materials are 30 feet long, we’ll build a cart with a 15 foot deck to satisfy that application, with the overhang being about 7 ½ feet on both ends.

At Electro Kinetic Technologies, we’ve designed solutions for moving long loads weighing up to several thousand pounds. Solutions can also include custom features like side mounted controls for ease of use with overhanging loads, removable posts to limit load movement, or risers to enable fork or strap access to the load. For moderate loads, steering typically need not be powered, as the operator can steer using the handlebars. Heavier loads may require multiple drive wheels to ensure good maneuverability. Regardless of load, the motorized drive systems on a long deck cart are powerful enough to help prevent musculoskeletal injury to the operator while transporting the load.

Whether an engineer will suggest a long deck cart over a transfer cart depends on the shape and length of the heavy materials being moved around. No matter which heavy duty industrial cart is right for you, an experienced equipment engineer can help narrow down your options. For more information on industrial long deck and transfer carts, connect with one of our team members here.

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