A warehouse overhead crane is used to handle heavy and bulky loads in a logistics facility

Warehouse overhead crane applications

May 9, 2023

The installation of a warehouse overhead crane makes it possible to handle heavy and bulky loads such as profiles, pipes, coils, or other goods that are difficult to move with manual handling equipment.

These lifting devices increase safety and ergonomics for operators: with just one remote control, bulky loads can be moved from one area of the facility to another without physical effort.

What is a warehouse overhead crane?

A warehouse overhead crane is a mechanical lifting system that can move a load horizontally and vertically within a delimited area (usually rectangular or square). This type of crane consists of one or more girders equipped with a trolley with a transverse travel motor and another one for lifting.

Warehouse overhead cranes are equipped with a lifting device known as a hoist, which lifts the goods and moves them to the appropriate area. The operator, using a remote control, operates the system without exerting any effort on the load.

Uses of a warehouse overhead crane

The use of this equipment in a logistics center enhances safety and ergonomics, as operators do not have to move heavy loads between different workstations in the facility. A crane operator orders and supervises the movement of the machine, which transports the goods to their corresponding location.

A warehouse overhead crane makes it possible to lift and move loads safely
A warehouse overhead crane makes it possible to lift and move loads safely

Such lifting systems are common, for example, for storing sheet metal coils. Warehouse overhead cranes are also used in logistics centers handling bulky loads such as in the automotive industry, where these lifting systems are installed to move heavy parts safely. In addition to facilitating the movement of loads, a warehouse overhead crane can streamline other operations in the facility such as truck loading and unloading. In industries that deal with heavy materials, these machines make it possible for the goods to be moved in and out of vehicles quickly and reliably.

Warehouse overhead cranes are a flexible and versatile solution with a wide range of accessories adapted to the loads needing to be handled. Hooks for improved coil handling or even magnets for small metal parts can be integrated into the lifting system. Warehouse overhead cranes can also be used in industrial environments to supply materials to manufacturing lines, parts assembly areas, or assembly lines.

What are the benefits of an overhead crane?

Using a warehouse overhead crane to move large loads provides the following advantages:

  • Control over the load: unlike forklifts, which can lead to stacking errors, warehouse overhead cranes often have precision controls to allow the operator to position the load in the exact location using a remote control device.
  • Ergonomics in the facility: warehouse overhead cranes eliminate physical strain on operators and make it possible for them to move goods between two or more points in the center at the touch of a button. The different types of warehouse overhead cranes can incorporate accessories to move loads such as clamps or lifts for rolls, coils, sheets, or pallets.
  • Increased safety: the crane moves heavy and bulky products at a certain height from the floor to avoid obstacles and possible collisions with operators and material handling equipment. Safety features ensure reliable and high-performance operation.
The hoist is the element of the warehouse overhead crane that facilitates the lifting of the goods
The hoist is the element of the warehouse overhead crane that facilitates the lifting of the goods

How does a warehouse overhead crane work?

A warehouse overhead crane consists of various components and accessories that make it possible to lift and move loads safely from one place in the facility to another. The lifting system is made up of a bridge-like overhead structure with a set of girders that provide integrity to the system. The main girder usually has rails on which the trolley moves the goods horizontally, while the side girders facilitate the transverse movement of the structure. There are different warehouse overhead crane configurations depending on the needs and load movements of each facility.

Loads are lifted by means of a hoist integrated in the trolley, which raises the heavy goods and places them in the right location. The hoist is a machine consisting of a hook, two or more pulleys, and a rope, cable, or chain to minimize the effort in moving bulky goods from one area of the facility to another. The load is usually fitted with a hitch system so that the hoist can easily pick up the goods.

A warehouse overhead crane is a solution for safely moving heavy loads. Although this system can be adapted to the requirements of a logistics center, warehouse overhead cranes have several components that reinforce safety and proper operation. One example of this is the emergency stop button; when pressed manually, it immediately disconnects all motor elements. Another example is the configuration of the pushbutton panels. As they are sensitive, they automatically stop the maneuver if they are not pressed. 

The warehouse overhead crane structure also has its own safety features: these include limit stops for the trolley and overhead section as well as on the lifting mechanism, and safety latches on the hooks, which secure the load during the movement of the goods.

Warehouse overhead cranes for the movement of bulky goods

Companies’ logistics operations demand the use of appropriate handling equipment and storage systems for efficient and safe warehousing. Warehouse overhead cranes are a common solution for moving heavy loads in limited space. This type of lifting system can be supplemented with automatic equipment to increase the throughput of the facility and thus streamline logistics processes.

Interlake Mecalux offers you more than 50 years of experience in the design and manufacture of storage solutions for all kinds of industries. If you want to maximize your logistics productivity, don’t hesitate to contact us. One of our expert consultants will work with you to come up with the best digital solution for your warehouse.

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