Can people be transported on a goods carrier

Trolley transport rethought

"Many of our customers are already relying on forklift-free production supplies using route or logistics trains," says Ralf Knaut, Project Manager Special Solutions at Linde Material Handling. Because especially in the purely horizontal transport of goods, the trains consisting of tractors and trailers are in many ways superior to the forklifts. On the one hand, they are loaded and unloaded from the side and therefore require less space than a forklift that is positioned across the road when the pallet is set down. In addition, the tugger trains bring a larger amount of material to the assembly lines per trip. As a result, both of these ensure less disruptive traffic, a lower risk of accidents, lower costs and higher productivity.

“However, existing factory layouts cannot always be adapted to the requirements of tugger train solutions without restrictions,” Knaut points out. In many existing systems, the source or sink is in a dead end and are therefore inaccessible for tugger trains that can only drive forward with their coupled trailers. Then the trolley supply truck comes into play. It complements the Linde logistics train and thus ensures further optimization on short and medium-sized routes. "It is another piece of the mosaic for the standardization of processes and for overall more efficient intralogistics," notes Markus Schmermund, Vice President Product Management Automation & Intralogistics, Linde Material Handling.

With a length of four meters, a width of 1.28 meters and a height of 2.36 meters, the trolley supply truck is very compact and, including a safety distance of 30 centimeters, only requires a lane width of 1.88 meters. If the route includes curves, a 2.30 meter wide lane is sufficient for the load carrier to make a right-angled turn. The electrically steered wheels at both the front and rear ensure great directional stability, both on straight roads and in bends. The bow-shaped load suspension is designed for a wide variety of goods carriers. For example, two standard Euro pallets or a double Euro pallet as well as other goods carriers such as trolleys with dimensions between 800 and 1,600 by 1,200 millimeters can be transported.

The idea for the new vehicle concept arose after numerous customer projects and the experience gained there. “It became more and more clear to us that we needed an additional option, something in the middle between a forklift and a tugger train,” reports Knaut. The trolley supply truck was presented as a prototype at the World of Material Handling customer event. “The customer feedback was extremely positive,” says the product manager. This is why test runs followed in various companies as well as the forklift assembly at Linde Material Handling. They confirmed the advantages: “In the first place, the people involved named the safety gain compared to individual vehicles, because the trolley supply truck offers the operator very good visibility to the front, back and around the vehicle. On the other hand, the falling volume of traffic and a lower risk of accidents made themselves felt, as two pallets or trolleys can be transported at the same time, ”reports the Linde product manager. As a result, this led to efficiency gains of up to 30 percent.