Patented track and enclosed track monorails are used to move heavy, bulky materials throughout a facility or process, then precisely position each load. Because these overhead solutions are comprised of a continuous run of fixed track (or network of tracks, switches, interlocks, transfer cranes, etc.) with carriers (or trolleys) suspended underneath, there is very little variability in load travel. That is, monorails only move loads forward or backwards, and up or down. Following such a defined path contributes to load placement accuracy. This makes monorails an ideal solution for applications that repeatedly move a load from one point to another within an operation.
Depending on the system, the movement of the carriers can be powered either manually with minimal operator effort, sloped rails that propel carriers by gravity, or by a pneumatic or electric drive controlled by a user via wired pendant station or wireless controls. This allows the operator to maintain total control of the load, its travel speed, and the point at which it is stopped and lowered — ensuring exact placement as needed for the process.
Further, fully automated monorail systems are also available. These installations utilize sensors mounted on the trolleys to detect reflective tape or limit switches at key points along the track and/or motorized switches, interlocks, transfer cranes and stops to control the flow of carriers through the system. When triggered, the control system directs the carrier to slow to a controlled stop, minimizing load swing. Automated monorails are also often equipped with servo-controlled or encoder-monitored hoists that lift or lower the load at a pre-defined travel speed to further ensure precise load handling and accurate positioning.
Looking for more information about how a monorail system might benefit your operation? The members of the Monorail Manufacturers Association (MMA) are the industry’s leading suppliers of overhead monorail systems. The group offers a variety of resources — including a product certification program, guidelines for specifying automated electrified monorail systems, recommended practices for workstation cranes and patented track systems, specifications for both patented track and enclosed track underhung crane and monorail systems, and more — via its website at www.MHI.org/MMA.