Think of a monorail as a people mover, and it’s easy to imagine all sorts of people inside.
In the same way, a monorail used for material handling can move a great variety of products, parts and components in the manufacturing and distribution environment. Typically mounted to an overhead structure or ceiling, monorail systems help lift and transport heavy items with greater ease, efficiency and flexibility according to need. Various systems might include underhung bridge cranes, switches and curves that allow for different destinations, and both manual and motorized elements.
“Enclosed track systems in particular are so very versatile,” said Rob Beightol, president MHI’s Monorail Manufacturers Association (MMA) and product marketing manager of MHI member Gorbel. These systems, usually used to help move weight of two tons or less, are one of two distinct types of monorails. The other is the patented track system, often specifically designed for the facility it’s used in and made to move heavier loads. Enclosed track systems are fairly modular and can be built, for example, around a work cell, while a patented track will likely run the length of the building. That patented track is designed to be in a place for a long period of time, Beightol said, but the enclosed track can easily be reconfigured, added to or moved as needs arise. Either way, the monorail can be more efficient than the ongoing use of a forklift to move the same items.
By Fiona Soltes