When you first think of a crane you probably envision a large piece of heavy machinery at a construction site with a specially trained crane operator hoisting materials. Many cranes are large and require specialized operators but there are cranes for a variety of purposes. Even shops and warehouses struggle to move heavy objects, slowing assembly and delivery time and causing workers to struggle with lifting sizable, weighty objects. A great solution to this is a monorail crane.
Various Sizes and Shapes
Monorail cranes vary in size and shape depending on their intended use. Generally, they are smaller devices used in tight spaces, usually in indoor locations. Often, they may take the place of a conveyor belt. Unlike a conveyor belt, a monorail crane can move an object down the line and then easily raise it up onto a shelf to wait for the next step in the manufacturing process or for shipment.
The basic construction of a monorail crane is a metal beam with a cart to hold the objects. The cart is attached to a chain that allows the crane to move the cart. Monorail cranes can be designed to move heavy items, such as car engines which are relatively small but very heavy, over a small distance in a straight line. More complex and expensive monorail cranes can accommodate longer transport distances and changes in slope as well as the need to move on a curve.
Monorail Crane | Certified Operators
Unlike the cranes, you see on most construction sites, a monorail crane can be operated by a warehouse worker with some basic training in the safe operation of the crane. Generally, a monorail crane is controlled by a panel of buttons. The ease of use is a big positive for this type of cranes. For larger cranes, a specially trained driver is needed. Certified crane operators are a large expense and they command high salaries.
Monorail cranes can increase efficiency in the warehouse or shop environment. While the initial cost may be in the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, the ability to streamline production often allows a quick return on the upfront investment. The purchase price may seem substantial to smaller businesses but must be balanced against the total cost of employing enough workers to do the functions a monorail crane is capable of doing. Not only do these employees require a base salary but often benefits as well. A hidden but important cost is worker’s compensation claims. In a warehouse environment with heavy lifting, workers are vulnerable to injuries which can be extremely costly for a business. Cranes remove much of the risk to employees and do not require benefits or worker’s compensation insurance.
Another benefit of monorail cranes, as opposed to conveyor belts, is that floor space is left open with the use of a crane, potentially allowing more use of space. This can be especially important when a warehouse or shop is being rented, allowing a business to get further use out of the space rather than paying additional money for a larger space.