Linde Material Handling (MH) presented two new logistic train solutions at the World of Materials Handling last month. The Linde Logistic Train and Linde Factory Train are both designed for the modern, cycle-based flow of materials that takes place in production facilities, with both systems offering the highest level of flexibility and convenience.
This synchronised form of production supply was originally pioneered by the automotive industry. However, the space-saving logistic trains from Linde are increasingly being used in other fields of industry too. The trains comprise a compact tow tractor capable of pulling three, five or six tonnes, together with one or more load trailers or modules.
The two trailer train solutions from Linde represent completely new designs, with both the Logistic Train and the Factory Train boasting a high level of directional stability and manoeuvrability. What’s more, in contrast to the majority of solutions available on the market, both trains come without a centre axle, making the trucks extremely flexible in terms of the containers to be carried.
The Linde Logistic Train is mainly intended for use in internal areas with relatively level floors. Each individual wheel on the load trailer, which is modular in design, is spring-loaded to compensate for uneven floor surfaces. However, due to the wheel diameter of 200 or 250 mm, the Linde Logistic Train is not so appropriate when it comes to outdoor use. With the introduction of the new series, the range of trailers has also grown. In addition to the C frame, bridge frame and platform design, bespoke customer solutions are also possible, both for trailers (e.g. a bridge-type trailer without lift) and pallet roller frames (known as “dollies”). The most commonly used form of trailer, the C frame design, is available in a host of dimensions to accommodate one or two sets of forks, as well as europallets, half pallets, double europallets or industry pallets. What’s more, moveable forks make the task of loading the goods carriers easier for the operator. One particular advantage of the Linde Logistic Train is the flat design that even allows parts that jut out over the frame to be transported. The train can be steered either mechanically or electrically via all four wheels, or mechanically via two wheels. The trailers can also be equipped with two castor wheels and two fixed wheels. Trailers that are not equipped with a lifting system generally feature electrical dolly interlocking.
Maintenance-free worm gear drives take on the task of lifting the dollies clear of the ground, and the maximum load capacity is 2000 kilograms. In order to release the pallet roller frames, the operator must lower them, either by means of a foot switch located directly on the trailer frame, or from the front using the control on the tow tractor. When the pallet roller frames are released, the drive function is automatically locked for safety reasons. A trailer coupling with no play ensures the logistic train stays exactly on course. A four-metre turning circle is sufficient for a full turn, meaning the train can turn safely on a 2.3-metre-wide side path. The CAN bus controller and use of quality parts from series production ensure the truck is easy to service.
The second trailer train system, the Linde Factory Train, is modular in design, featuring stand-ardised basic modules. The train is made up of an initial module, one or more main modules and an end module. With this concept, various goods carriers such as C-frame, E-frame, QS-frame or bridge-frame models are interlocked without play in between two standardised modules. As the carriers can be replaced at any time, the operator retains full flexibility in the face of changing requirements. The module’s electrical functions, i.e. steering, lifting and lowering, are achieved by means of a CAN bus controller. In contrast to the Linde Logistic Train, the Factory Train is also suitable for transporting materials on uneven surfaces outdoors between production halls. This is possible thanks to the higher ground clearance offered by the modules, which are equipped with superelastic tyres with a diameter of 250 or 306 millimetres. With this trailer train solution, great focus has been placed on the optional weather protection and its ergonomic means of operation. The operator can open the automatic curtain on the weather protection cab using just one hand, without having to bend down.
The goods carriers are lifted by an infinitely adjustable electric drive units, which are controlled by means of a lift control button on the module. During the lifting process, all functions can be controlled simultaneously from the operating panel on the tow tractor, if required. To ensure safety during operation, the train features a function to automatically disable the tow tractor when goods carriers are lowered and towing speed is automatically reduced when cornering. This reduced cornering speed remains in effect until the axle on the last module is travelling straight again. To make cornering easier, and to keep the necessary turning radius as small as possible, the steering angle between two goods carriers can be increased to 120 degrees. In addition to the limited option for reverse travel, another notable feature is the crab steering, which is available as an option. Using this function, the entire train can be driven on a lateral slope.
Criteria such as the condition, width and angle of the drive path, the type of storage area (e.g. cold store, clean room, or storeroom for edible produce) as well as dimensions, weight, fragility and container packaging, all determine the specific manner in which the two Linde trains should be set up. Not least, the travel route and set-up of the other logistics operations within the company play an important role in determining which solution best meets requirements.