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Would a Monorail Crane Help My Business?

Monorail Crane

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 the motor trade 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.

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The Monorail Crane Design | Get One for Your Shop Today

Monorail Crane Design | Overhead Crane Manufacturer

Overhead monorails are primarily used to lift large or heavy items and move them horizontally. Monorails can be driven manually or powered. Power-operated overhead monorails systems are typically powered by air, hydraulics, or electricity. Overhead material handling systems can be supported on single or multiple girders and can be top-running or bottom-running. Bottom-running systems travel along the bottom flange of the supporting beam and are typically associated with monorails and bridge cranes. Multiple girders and top-running systems are typically not associated with monorails but rather with overhead or gantry bridge cranes. This course covers the basic design of a monorail with a bottom-running manually driven trolley hoist on a single girder or beam. The monorail crane design was first thought of with the thought and need to improve in these elements of business: Increase productivity and efficiency, reducing the risk of injury to individuals, producing greater cost savings, and to also improve quality.

Monorail System Designs and Operational Safety

The safe operation of a monorail crane design has some impact on the design of a monorail system. Engineers need to be concerned with the operational safety of the monorails they design. To that end, engineering drawings should include some or all of these factors: maximum lift design load, safety, impact, or load factors used, maximum angle or load due to side pull, method, and locations of labeling stating maximum capacity, warnings, etc. Additionally, the engineer needs to have a full understanding of how the final monorail system is anticipated to be operated. Without operations input, a monorail can be poorly designed for the intended use, ultimately resulting in the death or injury of the operator and/or bystanders.

A safety plan for the operation of the monorail should be developed with input from all parties involved: owner/specifier, engineer, inspector, and operator. The plan should incorporate, at a minimum, the following information: Responsibility of all parties, Design requirements (i.e., codes, safety or impact factors, labeling, etc.), General safety rules, Operational rules or instructions, Rigging requirements, Inspections, Maintenance, and Testing, Record keeping responsibilities.

Monorail Crane Design | Different Classifications

Monorails were designed with four different classifications. Each one specified based upon its level of service. The four types are as follows: Class A – Standby or Infrequent Service – Capacity load handled during installation and during infrequent maintenance. Class B – Light Service – Load varies from no load to the rated load and is lifted 2 to 5 times per hour and averaging 10 feet per lift. Class C – Moderate Service – Lifts 50% of rated load 5 to 10 times per hour and averaging 15 feet per lift. Class D – Heavy Service – Lifts 50% of rated load more than 10 times per hour.

In many cases, the classification can easily be determined; however, the code also provides a table that can be used to determine the classification based on more detailed information: load classes and load cycles. The four (4) load classes per the code are: L1 – hoist normally lifts with very light loads and very rarely the rated load. L2 – hoist normally lifts loads at 1/3 the rated load and rarely the rated load. L3 – hoist normally lifts loads 1/3 to 2/3 the rated load and lifts the rated load fairly frequently. L4 – hoist regularly lifts close to the rated load.