Electro Kinetic Technologies has previously written about transport issues like moving uniquely shaped materials, fragile materials, material handling in tight spaces and work cells, transporting gas cylinders, and exceptionally heavy loads. Another regular request we see as ergonomic motorized equipment engineers, is the need to move particularly lengthy loads of materials throughout a workspace, such as a pipe, extrusion work, raw materials for metal working, or large assembly components. Lengthy materials pose all kinds of unique considerations, like work space constraints, platform cart size, custom containers, and safety of an operation. A motorized cart may be replacing a manual cart, with its potential for injuries, or a less maneuverable solution such as a fork lift or tow vehicle. Before purchasing any piece of equipment to accommodate exceptionally long materials, it’s best to break out the measuring tape.
Handling Lengthy Loads of Materials with Motorized Equipment
What qualifies as an oversize or exceptionally lengthy material load? In general, loads up to five feet long can typically be handled on a standard motorized platform cart. As loads grow longer than five feet it becomes likely that a larger custom cart is required to safely get the job done. Lengthier loads tend to be heavier as well, so be sure to understand the heaviest payload anticipated. It’s also helpful to walk the path the cart will take when in operation, and measure any narrow aisles or restricted turning spaces. These are among the parameters you will want to share with ergonomic motorized cart engineers to find an adequate solution.
Moving lengthy loads usually requires extra-long motorized platform or transfer carts and there are a number of practical considerations for any design. One option to achieve greater maneuverability is to implement a center wheel drive solution on a motorized cart, so that the cart can be pivoted at the center rather than on one end. Another typical need is for controls to be placed on the side to allow for front and back overhang of materials. This kind of cart design allows for easy steering and maximum load length capacity. If a detachable piece of equipment is preferred, tuggers may be an option when hitched to a properly sized manual cart or trailer.
Next Steps to Get Your Materials Moving
Now that you’ve measured your materials, the payload, and the work space, and perused the available motorized carts and tuggers powerful enough to do the job, it’s time to Ask An Engineer. Even if you think you are certain that you know what your application requires, engineers can spot problems and potential solutions that others can’t. There are innumerable variables in a given work environment that could impact the outcome of the solution, and consulting an expert is a great way to have your bases covered.
Making a cost-effective investment is one of the most important aspects of implementing ergonomic equipment into the workplace. No matter what kind of materials you’re moving, the smarter and more productive the solution, the better the value at the end of the day. The proper ergonomic solutions will also prevent workplace injuries, saving additional costs associated with compensation, medical expenses, and potential regulatory fines.
See our transfer cart case study to learn more about how we assisted a manufacturer. This versatile transfer cart from Electro Kinetic Technologies was originally designed to carry loads of 40-ft. stainless steel pipe. The video below shows it carrying a large plastic mold.
For more information on how to find the best ergonomic motorized solution for you, contact one of our engineers through the Ask An Engineer portal for technical questions, and the standard contact form for sales questions. One of our team members will guide you in the right direction.