REDwire Making the choice: forklifts or transfer carts?

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Engineered Lifting Systems offers on-rail, steerable and towed transfer carts.

When it comes to the lifting and moving of heavy items, there are many options available. Selecting the most appropriate choice for the application can increase both the safety and the productivity of employees. 

Two typical pieces of equipment designed for the movement of heavy items are transfer carts and forklifts. It is important to understand the capabilities of each before making the decision.

Transfer carts

Transfer carts are stable, movable platforms used for the horizontal movement of materials, assemblies and other items. They work well in areas with limited floor space, and are ideal for carrying loads along assembly lines, carrying an entire shift or production, and moving long loads through restrictive passageways or doorways. They can even be used as a stable, movable machine base. Transfer carts are rated for loads at a specific maximum weight.

There are three types of transfer carts: on-rail, steerable and towed. On-rail carts are designed for loads up to 60 tons, and are mounted on steel rails so they can move along a fixed path. Steerable carts, on the other hand, are suitable for loads up to 45 tons. They have two fixed and two swivel casters, and can travel along smooth to semi-smooth level floors. Towed carts are for loads up to 60 tons. They have casters or crane wheels, and are towed behind lift trucks or powered carts mounted on rails. 


Forklifts are powered industrial trucks designed to lift and move materials over short distances. They are rated for loads at a specified maximum weight and a specified forward centre of gravity. 

Workers must be trained to operate these devices properly. They feature rear-wheel steering, which offers a different driving experience than typical wheeled vehicles. However, this feature also increases maneuverability in tight cornering situations. Drivers control forklift hydraulics with levers directly manipulating the hydraulic valves, or by electrically controlled actuators, using smaller "finger" levers for control. In addition, to raise and lower the forks, the operator can tilt the mast to compensate for a load's tendency to angle the blades toward the ground and risk slipping off the forks. Tilt also provides a limited ability to operate on non-level ground. 

Making the choice

Your operation will dictate whether you need a transfer cart or a forklift. If you are interested in understanding more about transfer carts, contact an ELS experienced technical sales representative. Backed by more than 40 years of experience, Engineered Lifting Systems has earned a reputation for providing standard and custom overhead material lifting systems and equipment on time and on budget.  


Engineered Lifting Systems & Equipment Inc.

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