Machine Design

Scanning for Ideas: Transporter moves heavy loads across factory floors

Edited by Stephen J. Mraz

Transporters from Wheelift Systems, Waverly, Iowa, can move hundreds of tons of equipment or machinery across almost any type of floor, including ramps and in-floor rails. And for heavier or larger loads, up to four transporters can be ganged together, using onboard lasers to maintain predetermined separations and distances. Each set of two-wheeled, omnidirectional load modules — and a transporter can have up to 20 of them — supports up 30,000 lb and carries its own electric motor. But operators have the option of powering the onboard generator using a diesel engine, LP gas, or bypassing the generator in favor of a power cord and electricity from the factory’s electrical subsystem. The load modules can spin 360°, letting the transporter move in any direction at any time, even diagonally. And the operator need only tell the transporter where to go and onboard controls handle steering for each load module.

Hydraulics power the load-leveling feature on the load modules to keep cargo level. Hydraulics also let the load modules raise the transporter by 8 in. This should let the 19-in.-tall vehicle drive under heavy, bulky loads, then lift them. The headless version of the transporter is low profile, while the vehicle can also be equipped with a headboard.

© 2011 Penton Media, Inc.

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