Unified Enclosed Track System

Selecting the Optimal Enclosed Track System

Automotive Industry | Crane Systems | Hoisting & Lifting Equipment | By Tony Alessi | Feb 21, 2022

Whether you’re modifying your manufacturing processes or building a new plant, choosing the right lifting system to get the job done is important. While a large overhead crane system is one way to go, there are other solutions ideal for lower-capacity applications, such as smaller work areas or individual workstations, that can get the job done safely and efficiently. Let’s look at three different options.

Workstation Cranes
When you need to move loads two tons or less in a specific area of your facility, workstation cranes are a lightweight option compared to large, high-capacity cranes. Workstation cranes are versatile, as they can be configured with the exact footprint and capacity you need for your work area. They can also be manually operated or automated, depending on your application needs. Workstation cranes also offer flexibility and are a cost-efficient way to modify bridges or equipment as your processes change.

There are two main workstation crane configurations: ceiling-mounted or freestanding systems.

When floor space is unavailable, or you’d rather have your lifting system up and out of the way of foot or vehicle traffic, ceiling-mounted systems are the way to go. Ceiling-mounted systems are ideal for long continuous runways with multiple bridges and can be easily expanded if your application grows or your facility size increases. You can also reduce costs by attaching the rail system to the existing steel structure of the facility.

Freestanding structures can be mounted anywhere on the plant floor and offer the most flexibility as they can be easily moved if the process changes. Freestanding structures are ideal for use in geographic areas or facilities where the building steel cannot support an overhead structure, such as facilities that are not designed to support snow load.

Gantry Cranes
With capacities up to one ton and lengths up to 20 feet, gantry cranes are an ideal solution anywhere lifting equipment is required on an infrequent basis. These cranes are designed for portability and can be easily moved throughout a facility as changing facility configurations require. They are also easy to install, featuring various lifting heights to ensure they fit your facility’s specifications. For safety and stability, these portable crane systems can be locked in place with locking casters to prevent movement during use.

Jib Cranes
In areas where adequate headroom and structural support do not exist, jib cranes are the best lifting option. Jib cranes can be used to supplement regular traveling or monorail track. They can also be used in bays and along the walls or the sides of shops. This allows operators to utilize the complete workspace without losing any ergonomic benefits. You can also pair jib cranes with manual and powered chain hoists to add enhanced lifting power to your work area.

Jib cranes are available in a variety of configurations based on your facility’s needs, including articulated, wall-mounted, and base-mounted styles.

No matter which type of lifting system is the optimal choice for your application, quality and durability are important. That’s why Columbus McKinnon utilizes its industry-leading Unified Industries enclosed track aluminum (ETA) rail in every workstation, gantry, and jib crane it provides. Why? Our ETA rail systems are lightweight and designed for smooth, quiet operation. And, the enclosed track design ensures the rolling surface stays clean and free of debris for increased reliability and productivity.

To learn more about our ETA rail or any of our workstation, gantry, or jib crane options, visit www.columbusmckinnon.com/unified.