Moving goods across different floor levels is a typical sight in many industrial settings. Although warehouse managers tasked with managing the efficiency of the workflow would prefer everything to be streamlined at the same level, this is not always possible. Space is either too expensive or simply not available, so products have to move up and down to make use of every cubic meter available. Even moving appliances in an office or residential building requires proper moving equipment. Sometimes threshold ramps installed to improve wheelchair accessibility can be used to deliver bulky goods, but what about stairs? Climbing them with heavy appliances or furniture can cause a lot of aggravation, particularly when the elevator is inadequate or there is no lift at all. This problem is shared by many so there are a number of purpose-built solutions on the market.
Two wheel trolleys are commonly used to transport goods that are boxed. Technically, you can use them on the stairs as well. However, this can create a lot of preventable issues – starting from damaging the cargo to destroying the trolley itself. Not to mention potential injury to the operator. Delivery professionals use trolleys that are designed and built specifically for tackling stairs under load. This three wheel appliance trolley is the ultimate stair climbing hand truck created for safe use on stairwells. Obviously the greatest advantage of such trolleys is the fact that one of the wheels is in contact with the stairs at all times.
This comes as a benefit of having three wheel configuration whereby each spindle is at a 120° degree angle from the next. Wheels have their own axle and they move on their own. When you push a stair climbing hand truck on a flat surface, two of the wheels touch the ground while the third sits idle. Because of the physics involved in moving loads across staircase, only one wheel is in contact with the thread. As you move up (or down) past a riser the next wheel takes over.
You can easily find stair climber trolleys that are made to comply with industry standards. They have a load capacity of more than 200kg, heavy-duty frames and toe plates suitable for transporting robust bagged goods. Size can vary (more on this below) but usually, they are at least 1500mm high. Of course, they can be used in different settings because they make deliveries easy and safe.
Sometimes, you can use equipment that can be handled manually. This is the case with manual furniture movers which can carry loads of up to 600kg. Manual movers have lifting plates made from non-slip materials and are able to lift boxes or furniture up to 300mm. Resting on tough polyurethane wheels, they hold quite a firm grip. Manual movers are perfect for moving companies, but can be also seen in offices and warehouses.
Tracked Stair Climber
These are the portable version of conveyor belts. The tracks on these vehicles are electrically-powered and they employ mechanics typical for continuous track vehicles (tanks). Because of this, they are able to handle steep stairs (and otherwise difficult surfaces) and still carry loads of up to 1000kg. The payload capacity is impressive. But their dependence on power, the mechanical parts and the hydraulic load balance systems make them impractical for small scale warehouse operations. Tracked stair climbers can be more compact and push-arm models are quite useful.
Using basic devices that offer mechanical advantage for handling loads is as old as mankind. Pulley systems are the original lifting method employed at constructions sites and in ancient war waging machines. They have remained relevant through the ages because of their simplicity and effectiveness.
If your warehouse is not fitted with portable industrial cranes, you can use pulleys to lift appliances and products and place them in tight and narrow spaces. You can easily create a system with mechanical advantage of 6:1 by employing four anchor points (and a couple of double pulleys). Turn to a professional rigger if your workforce doesn’t have the know-how.
When operated properly, pulley systems are safe and easy to operate. Alternatively you can invest in all sorts of hoists and cranes. These systems are worth their while and if your premises are close to a port you will know why.
The final choice for moving goods should rest on your requirements. It’s logical and obvious, but sometimes we forget to do the due diligence. You can create a profile of your typical cargo. This data sheet can include weight and measurements (including both extreme and average values), as well as special requirements. For example, some refrigeration and air conditioning units can be damaged if they are not kept upright during transport. There are also products that have to be handled with care (electronics, glass and similar). Depending on the type of appliances you usually handle there can be a whole host of special needs that have to be covered, especially if you are looking for moving unit that will offer your great versatility. On the other hand, if you can afford it, you can use different piece of manual handling equipment for each load. Anything goes as long as your work is efficient and your workforce is safe. Just make sure people are trained to safely handle the loads.