We understand how dire circumstances can be when you have a serious safety liability or operational dysfunction that seems too unique for any standard ergonomic transport solution on the market to adequately address. Being out of options isn’t good for business or the long-term health of your employees. Fortunately, with the help of subject matter experts, it’s possible to widen the spectrum of potential solutions with simple additions like actuated hitches and Fifth Wheel Attachments (FWAs).
Tuggers and Tight Spaces
Consider this hypothetical scenario:
You recently had your facility reviewed by a safety engineer for potential workplace safety hazards and discovered that your employees are at risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from pushing and pulling heavy-laden carts around the facility. Something must be done to eliminate the risk to your employees, but you don’t want to replace or retrofit the still functional manual carts. Instead, you’d rather invest in a solution that can universally connect to each of the carts and safely facilitate their transport, which is why you like the idea of a motorized tugger. Unfortunately, your operation also has a maze of shelving and hallways to navigate through and the tugger you want cannot safely maneuver around them without causing problems. Ordinarily, a motorized cart would be your first choice when a high level of maneuverability is required, but in the event that several independently motorized carts won’t suit the application, your hypothetical problem just escalated into a hypothetical headache. Thankfully, an engineer familiar with the territory of motorized ergonomic transport equipment can design you a simple solution that won’t force you to abandon your plan of purchasing a versatile tugger.
How Actuated Hitches with FWAs Maximize Turn Radius
For this type of application, we recommend mounting an actuated hitch onto an FWA bolted to the tugger. The electric actuator pushes the hitch down so that the coupler can be brought under the front of a manual cart, allowing a pair of springs to pull the coupler up as the actuator retracts. The geometry of the U-shaped coupler fits with that of the cart, preventing the hitch from sliding around and providing a secure link. This type of hitch is ideal for those who don’t wish to retrofit or modify their existing manual carts with hitching mechanisms, because the tugger’s actuated hitch can attach to any similar cart. The more carts that need safe, efficient transport, the more you’d save on retrofitting costs.
Not only does a tugger solution with an actuated hitch mounted onto an FWA not require any modifications to the carts themselves, but the FWA also provides excellent maneuverability. The tugger can rotate a full 90 degrees in either direction under the hitch, allowing it to pull a cart at a sharp angle even when starting from a standstill. With the ability to turn tight 360 degree circles, this type of tugger and hitching solution might be exactly what your hypothetical maze-like operation needs.
Additionally, the hitching actuator is controlled with a rocker switch that can be integrated into the hand controls of the tugger, meaning the driver never has to leave the controls to hitch and unhitch the cart. The fewer steps involved in operating your tugger solution, the faster your employees can move materials. With the this type of simple yet effective transport solution, you should be able to improve both workplace efficiency and safety.
At Electro Kinetic Technologies, our team of engineers excels at providing innovative solutions for some of the most complex transport problems. For more information on tuggers or actuated hitches and FWAs, connect with one of our experts via the Contact page.
Product Video – Tugger with Actuated Hitch Used in Warehouse Material Handling