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Straddle Carrier 101

At Gerlinger, we’ve remained an industry leader in the design and manufacturing of straddle carriers by developing innovative technologies tailored to meet the demands of our customers, no matter how challenging a work environment. For over 100 years, Gerlinger carriers have remained the gold standard for the transportation of heavy/cumbersome loads by fusing form with function.

Of course, the fact that Gerlinger excels in designing and manufacturing this type of heavy equipment may not seem that impressive if you’re left wondering, “what’s a straddle carrier?”

Unless you’ve spent time at a steel mill, lumber yard, or refinery, you’ve probably never seen a straddle carrier at work. They don’t drive down the highway and Thomas the Train has yet to make friends with any, so don’t feel bad if you have no idea what role a straddle carrier performs at a worksite.

Fortunately, as an industry leader in the manufacturing of this line of heavy duty equipment, we have a pretty good idea of how to explain a straddle carrier to a new audience. Let’s take a look at what a straddle carrier does, what it looks like, and what role it can play in helping a business increase its bottom line.

Straddle Carrier 101: What is a straddle carrier?

Let us start by taking a look at the technical definition for a straddle carrier:

A self-propelled, non-road traveling vehicle that features a chassis positioned far above the ground. Chassis placement enables the vehicle to carry long and heavy loads beneath the chassis and between the wheels.

Okay, so what does all of that mean? Well, think of a straddle carrier like a truck that carries its load underneath its chassis rather than on top. For that to work, the primary body of the truck needs to sit far above the ground so that plenty of space exists for the cargo beneath. To make the necessary space, a straddle carrier looks like a truck that sits on stilts. Long legs with wheels touch the ground, while the cab and the driver of the carrier sits in an elevated position. Depending on the type of carrier, the distance between the ground and the to of the cab can range from between 8 ft. to over 17 ft.

Straddle Carrier 101: What is a straddle carrier used to transport?

Depending on the size and industry, a straddle carrier can transport everything from lumber to copper billets.

The very first models of straddle carriers developed by Gerlinger were for use in lumber yards for the transportation of bundles of lumber. Straddle carriers play an important role in other industries as well. In refineries, a straddle carrier can transport heat exchange tube bundles and other plant materials. In the metal industry, carriers work to transport raw material and, once processed, finished materials. In many ways, a straddle carrier can play the part of a Jack of All Trades in helping industry function.

Straddle Carrier 101: What are the benefits of using a straddle carrier?

Our innovative design at Gerlinger offers a number of advantages when compared to the use of a forklift to transport sideways loads that include:

  • Improved stability to transport loads longer than 60 ft. in length.
  • Tighter turn radius allows for improved mobility within industrial facilities.
  • Eliminates the need for counterbalance weights by straddling the loads, making the carrier far lighter than traditional forklifts.
  • Centered loads help to disperse the overall weight of the load to all four wheels, thereby decreasing the ground contract pressure.
  • Straddle carriers can typically lift twice their own weight.

So there you have it – a crash course on the straddle carrier. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact our team at Gerlinger or read more here. Our experienced sales force will happily provide any answers on how a Gerlinger Straddle Carrier is the right choice for your business.

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