Underhung Patented Track Monorail and Crane Systems

Patented track monorail and crane systems have been in use in industry for over 75 years and have many distinct advantages over the use of structural beams for underhung systems.  They are used extensively in aerospace applications for good reasons.

We will outline the advantages and benefits of patented track in the right applications Patented tracks fundamental advantages are based upon the standardized design consisting of a manufactured runway beam with a top plate and center web that can be adjusted in width, length, and thickness to suit capacity requirement while always having the same 3.25″ high carbon running flange that supports the trolley wheels.

The small flange places the trolley loads very close to the web, maximizing the capacity of the beam. The high carbon lower flange is flat and very consistent and provides a very durable, long-wearing running surface that lasts for decades under brutal use.  Contrasted with standard wide flange beams where the load quickly wears the soft beam in heavy use and useful life is only a fraction of the patented track.

A patented track runway will usually be a fraction of the weight of a similar structural section runway; this is a major factor in the ultimate capacity of a load that a building can carry.  A patented track system does come at a premium cost of 30 to 50% additional cost; however that added cost is repaid many times with less maintenance and longer life.   Patented Track monorail and underhung crane systems are a great solution when the following application characteristics are present:

  1. The load can be ceiling supported and the capacity is between 2 and 40 Tons  (Under 2 Tons, we use a Gorbel Light Crane System)
  2. There is a requirement for monorail curves, track switches, of interlocking bridge cranes.
  3. The weight of the crane or monorail runway is a consideration with the existing or new building design.
  4. The system is high use and needs to last 20+ years with minimum maintenance.
  5. Crane and hoists need to easily be moved from one system to another.

The load is between 2 and 40 Ton and can be ceiling supported Patented track systems were designed to be ceiling supported.  This requirement eliminates their use in most existing pre-engineered buildings because the ceiling structure is only designed to carry the roof and associated roof loads such as snow.

However, many older industrial buildings were designed with ceiling trusses that can support considerable loads and new buildings can be designed with roof trusses designed for underhung crane or monorail support.  Patented track systems use a common high carbon running flange width of approximately 3.25″ and multiple wheel trolley systems to allow underhung loads up to and over 40 tons.

In comparison, most structural underhung systems are limited to 10 ton because of the requirement for large wide flange beams with low lower flange loading characteristics. There is a requirement for monorail curves, track switches, of interlocking bridge cranes Patented track systems have standard switches, curves, and interlock capability that would be very special and expensive using standard structural shapes.

When standard structural shapes of beams are rolled to create curves, distortions in their wide flanges will result in imperfections in the running surface required for smooth operation by the trolleys.  Patented track with a very narrow 3.25″ flange can be very easily formed into curves or switches.  Standard proven designs for switches and interlocks are cataloged whereas wide flange switches and interlocks are always a special one-off design prone to malfunctions and poor design.

The weight of the crane or monorail runway is a consideration with the existing or new building design Patented track cranes and runways can be much lighter than structural cranes and runways as the structural beams must be selected based upon the lower flange loading which results in taller, heavier beams.  A weight savings of 50% is often achievable which allows for additional capacity of the carried load.  A 20′ runway span requiring a 150# per foot structural beam may require only an 80# per foot patented track beam.  That’s a reduction of 1400#.

The system is high use and needs to last 20+ years The lower running flange of the patented track crane is high carbon with a very flat running surface that allows perfect loading contact with the flat tread hardened wheels of the trolley or bridge carrier wheels.  4 wheel articulating trolley assemblies minimize wheel loads and provide improved flange alignment, reducing wear and increasing track life.  Many high use patented track runways are still in operation after 50 years of service.

That’s a proven cost-efficient investment in quality. Cranes and hoists must be easily movable The consistent 3.25″ flange allows for hoists to be moved from one system to the next and that replacement or spares can be used on multiple monorails and crane systems, providing that they are the correct capacity and lift.  Where crane runway spans are similar, entire cranes can be moved from one bay to the next as business and production lines dictate their need.

Even runway beams can be removed and reinstalled to extend other systems if they are of the same span lenght and capacity.  Patented track systems are very flexible and offer many advantages that are often overlooked due to the price premium over structural steel. CRANE 1 has patented track experts that can help you design a new system or reconfigure existing patented track systems.  Give your local CRANE 1 a call to set up an evaluation of your application.  We are always here to help grow your business as well as improve safety and productivity.