What is a workstation crane?
A workstation crane is a type of lightweight and modular overhead crane designed for lifting and moving loads within a specific workspace or assembly line. Workstation cranes are often characterized by easy operation, high efficiency, and flexible configurations to accommodate various operational needs.
Other names for workstation cranes include light crane systems, modular crane systems, ergonomic crane systems, overhead workstation cranes, freestanding workstation cranes, enclosed track systems/cranes, and bridge cranes.
What are workstation cranes used for?
Workstation cranes are used in a variety of industries for a wide range of tasks. They are designed for lifting, lowering, and moving loads in a confined area, such as a workstation or assembly line. Here are some common uses:
- Material Handling: Workstation cranes are frequently used for handling materials, including raw materials, components, and finished goods. They can lift and move these items from one part of the workstation to another, making them essential for efficient operations in many industries.
- Assembly and Production Lines: In manufacturing facilities, workstation cranes are often used on assembly and production lines. They can handle repetitive lifting tasks, moving components along the line and adding them to the product being assembled.
- Maintenance and Repair: In maintenance and repair operations, workstation cranes can lift and move heavy components, making it easier for technicians to perform their work. For example, they might be used in an auto repair shop to lift engines or other heavy parts.
- Warehousing and Distribution: In warehouses and distribution centers, workstation cranes can quickly and safely move goods to shipping areas, or from receiving areas to storage.
Overall, workstation cranes are versatile tools that can increase efficiency and safety in many different settings. They’re particularly valuable in applications where precision, repetitive lifting, and movement of goods are required.
How workstation cranes work
Workstation cranes operate on an enclosed track that runs on metal wheels. The two sides (runways) of the crane run north to south, with a bridge in between that runs east to west. The runways lift the product onto a hoist attached to the bridge.
The enclosed track of a workstation crane makes it extremely safe and ergonomic, meaning it requires very little force to move (it takes about 1% of the total load weight to move the crane). This simple yet effective design has made workstation cranes essential products for machine shops, stone facilities, car manufacturers, warehouses, slaughterhouses, paint facilities, and many other industries.
What are the advantages of workstation cranes?
- Lightweight and Easy Operation: Workstation cranes are designed to be lightweight and easy to operate. This means less physical strain on the operator, leading to increased productivity and reduced risk of workplace injuries. The crane does the heavy lifting, which can help reduce the risk of injuries related to manual lifting.
- Modular and Adaptable Design: Workstation cranes have a modular design, meaning they can be easily expanded, reconfigured, or relocated to adapt to changing workflows or business needs. This flexibility can lead to cost savings over time, as it reduces the need for new equipment purchases when processes or layouts change.
- Efficient Use of Space: Because they can be ceiling-mounted or freestanding, workstation cranes can be an efficient use of space in smaller or more confined work areas. By lifting loads above the ground, they can help keep workspaces clear and organized, which can enhance productivity and safety.
- High Precision: Workstation cranes are designed for high precision, making them ideal for assembly work and other tasks that require careful positioning of loads. The smooth operation of these cranes can help reduce the risk of damage to materials or products, which can improve quality and reduce waste.
- Cost-Effective: Compared to larger cranes, workstation cranes can be a more cost-effective solution for smaller-scale or more localized lifting tasks. They can often be installed at a lower cost, and their maintenance and operational costs can be lower as well.
What is the difference between a workstation crane, an overhead crane, and a jib crane?
A workstation crane, overhead crane, and jib crane are all types of material handling equipment used in various industries, but they have different designs and are suited for different types of tasks. Here’s how they differ:
- Workstation Cranes: These cranes are typically designed for lighter loads and for use in smaller, more confined spaces. Workstation cranes are often used in assembly lines, production floors, or small warehouses where repetitive lifting of relatively light materials is required. They are designed to be easy to operate, with low rolling resistance, and they often have a modular design for easy adaptation to changing workflows. Workstation cranes may have a freestanding design, or they may be ceiling-mounted.
- Overhead Cranes: Also known as bridge cranes, overhead cranes are typically used for heavier loads and larger distances. They consist of a fixed rail or beam mounted high above the ground, typically on the walls or ceiling of a factory or warehouse, with a movable hoist that travels along the beam. Overhead cranes are able to move loads vertically and horizontally, making them very versatile. They can be used for a wide variety of tasks, from lifting heavy machinery in a factory to loading and unloading goods in a warehouse.
- Jib Cranes: Jib cranes, on the other hand, consist of a horizontal beam (the “jib” or “boom”) that is attached to a fixed vertical column or wall. 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. Jib cranes are often used in individual workstations, machine shops, or dockside applications where coverage over a circular area is beneficial. They are also commonly used when there is a need for supplementary lifting support alongside larger overhead cranes.
What is the capacity of workstation cranes?
Met-Track workstation cranes can lift between 250 – 6,000 lbs.
Questions to ask before you purchase a workstation crane
- Do you have experts that will help me correctly specify my workstation crane?
- Who will install my workstation 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 workstation cranes made in the USA?
Why choose a Met-Track workstation crane
Met-Track invented the workstation crane and is the worldwide leader in worksite safety. Our enclosed track and powder coatings make our workstation 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 workstation 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, workstation cranes can boost productivity on your worksite.
Alongside the time savings comes significant cost effectiveness. Our workstation 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 a workstation crane will create job site benefits that last for years or even decades with minimal maintenance costs.
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