What are overhead monorail cranes?

Overhead monorail cranes are a type of lifting system that uses a single rail, usually mounted on the ceiling, along which a hoist and trolley can travel to lift, move, and position loads. Notably, these cranes can traverse along straight or curved tracks, providing flexibility and efficiency in navigating through a facility or workspace.

They are also called monorail crane system, monorail hoist system, overhead crane system, single girder crane, ceiling-mounted crane, track crane, and rail cranes.

What are overhead monorails used for?

Overhead monorails are used for a variety of material handling applications across multiple industries. Here are some typical uses:

  • Manufacturing and Assembly Lines: Overhead monorail cranes are commonly used in manufacturing facilities and assembly lines, where they can move parts and products along a fixed path from one station to another.
  • Warehousing and Distribution: In warehouses and distribution centers, overhead monorail cranes can be used to move goods from one location to another, including loading and unloading trucks.
  • Automotive Industry: In the automotive industry, overhead monorail cranes are used to transport parts and entire vehicles along the production line.
  • Food Processing: In the food processing industry, overhead monorail systems are often used to move products through the various stages of processing and packaging.
  • Maintenance and Repair Facilities: Overhead monorail cranes can also be used in maintenance and repair facilities, such as automotive repair shops, where they can lift and move heavy components.
  • Aerospace and Aircraft Industry: In the aerospace industry, overhead monorail cranes are used to move large and heavy components during the manufacturing and assembly of aircraft.

The main advantage of an overhead monorail crane is its ability to transport loads along a predefined path with high precision. This makes it a valuable tool in any setting where materials or goods need to be moved consistently along a specific route.

How overhead monorail cranes work

Overhead monorails are bolted from the ceiling or attached to another structure, with a single piece of enclosed track that can move material along one dimension.

The enclosed track of an overhead monorail crane makes it extremely safe and ergonomic, meaning it requires very little force to move. This simple yet effective design has made overhead monorail cranes essential products for production lines or any facility where heavy loads need to be efficiently moved in one direction.


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Advantages of overhead monorails

Overhead monorail cranes have several advantages:

  • Increased business profitability and efficiency: Monorail cranes can streamline the movement of goods or materials in a facility, which can improve workflow efficiency and lead to increased profitability.
  • Safe and reliable functionality: Overhead monorail cranes are designed to safely and reliably move loads, reducing the risk of workplace accidents and ensuring consistent operation.
  • Low maintenance costs: These cranes are typically designed to be robust and durable, requiring minimal maintenance, which can reduce overall operational costs.
  • Reduced labor expenses: By automating or semi-automating the movement of goods, monorail cranes can reduce the need for manual labor, which can lead to lower labor costs.
  • Effortless load control: Overhead monorail cranes can allow for precise control of loads, making it easier to move and position items as needed​​.

What is the difference between an overhead monorail crane, a workstation crane, and a workstation jib crane?

Overhead monorail cranes, workstation cranes, and workstation jib cranes are all types of lifting equipment used for material handling, but they differ in their design, function, and use scenarios:

  • Overhead Monorail Cranes: These cranes feature a single rail or beam that forms a fixed path along which a trolley or hoist can travel. The monorail is usually mounted overhead, hence the name, and the trolley can move linearly along the path defined by the monorail. Overhead monorail cranes are typically used for applications where materials or goods need to be moved consistently along a specific route, like assembly lines, manufacturing facilities, or warehouses. They’re often used when the transfer route is long or complex, and can be designed to move around corners or change elevations.
  • Workstation Cranes: Workstation cranes, on the other hand, are typically designed for use within a confined area such as a workstation or an assembly line. They can be either freestanding or ceiling-mounted, and are usually designed to be lightweight and easy to operate. These cranes usually cover a rectangular area and are often used to move loads along a straight path, either horizontally or vertically. Workstation cranes are ideal for repetitive lifting of relatively light materials within a defined workspace.
  • Workstation Jib Cranes: Workstation jib cranes consist of a horizontal beam, or “jib”, that is attached to a fixed point, such as a wall or a pillar. The jib can swing in a circular or semicircular path, providing coverage over a circular area. The hoist and trolley travel along the jib to lift, lower, and move loads. Workstation jib cranes are often used in individual workstations, machine shops, or dockside applications where the lifting tasks require a certain degree of rotation. They are typically designed for lighter loads and smaller spaces.

In summary, overhead monorail cranes are best suited for long, fixed-path operations and can handle more complex routes, workstation cranes are designed for shorter, repetitive lifts within a confined rectangular space, and workstation jib cranes are designed for shorter, circular paths within a confined space. The choice between the two will depend on the specific requirements of your operation.

What is the lift capacity of an overhead monorail crane?

Met-Track overhead monorail cranes can lift between 250 – 4,000 lbs.

Questions to ask before you purchase an overhead monorail crane

  • Do you have experts that will help me correctly specify my overhead monorail crane?
  • Who will install my overhead monorail crane?
  • What is the warranty?
  • What does your warranty cover?
  • Are the wheels in your track system made of metal (which lasts much longer) or plastic/rubber (which is cheaper and wears out)?
  • How long has your company been around?
  • Are your overhead monorail cranes made in the USA?

Why choose a Met-Track overhead monorail crane

Met-Track invented the overhead monorail crane and is the worldwide leader in worksite safety. Our enclosed track and powder coatings make our overhead cranes the most durable and safest in the industry. Plus, our emphasis on excellent customer service means we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Met-Track overhead monorail cranes comply with OSHA safety standards, and enclosed track equipment is less likely to come off-track, creating a safer work environment. Additionally, by making it easier to move large loads throughout a facility, overhead monorail cranes can boost productivity on your worksite.

Alongside the time savings comes significant cost effectiveness. Our overhead monorail cranes are highly durable–they are powder-coated (as opposed to enamel paint), making them less likely to chip. We also use metal wheels inside the enclosed track rather than plastic or rubber, so they don’t have to be regularly replaced. This means your purchase of an overhead monorail crane will create job site benefits that last for years or even decades with minimal maintenance costs.

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