The Myths about Cart Delivery

October 19, 2018 Fork Truck Free Info 4791 Views


Myth 1 : Carts are too difficult to push

Industrial carts serve an integral part in the transportation and movement of material to various locations. Not only does a cart offer transportation solutions, it improves lean efficiency and worker productivity. It is imperative to carefully consider important factors to choose the correct size and configuration best suited to the required application.

The myth that carts are too difficult to push is partially true; some carts are made only to be tugged, therefore pushing would be difficult.  The truth is there are numerous industrial carts designed to be easily pushed.

Even the sturdiest of steel carts can be made light weight and carts using high quality casters with precision bearings are made for easy maneuvering.

Pushed, pulled, tugged, it really depends on the cart content, which needs are figured into the design and use of the carts.

Mismatched wheels, or wheels unsuitable for a specific application, have the opposite of the desired effect; they risk failure that can damage operating equipment. Selecting the wrong wheel can lead to work slowdowns, stoppages, or even safety hazards.

When selecting wheels for use in industrial or commercial settings, it is important to identify and evaluate their intended use and overall operating environment. Factors such as extreme temperatures and caustic environments affect the performance and operating life of industrial wheels.

Industrial carts used in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, shipping, and other industrial types of business need to be built rugged. These carts must be able to stand up to the demands of heavy loads as well as a variety of floor types and repeated use.

The type of industry as well as the specific role that requires the use of a cart will be important factors in determining which cart will be best for that particular application.

Many industries use carts to move products around their facility; however, the environment, size of products that need to be moved, and the weight of these items, must all be taken into consideration when determining the type of cart needed for a specific business.

Regardless of what type of industrial operations, sturdy carts are not necessarily too difficult to push throughout the facility; design options will allow customizable carts to meet specific needs.

Of course, other cart options are also available, such as carts with multiple shelves as well as ergonomic handles. The amount of weight the cart will need to handle, as well as the floor surface will be important factors in choose the right cart for the job.

Myth #2: Carts are not available for specific needs

Politifact would rate the statement “There are not industrial carts to meet my specific needs” as a “Pants of Fire” falsehood.

Even if an industrial cart manufacturer does not have an off the shelf, ship today solution, industrial carts are often engineered-to-order (ETO) to make specific and unique needs.

One of the top-of-the-line industrial carts Topper Industrial manufacturers for a rail service was 100% custom-made.  The need to align with railroad tracks, height, mobility, and other nuanced requirements meant starting from scratch.

The result was a cart designed to meet the specific need of that customer.

Different carts are available to deal with different problems.   Carts are created as solutions to problematic situations. Carts are available to work with narrow aisles, small floor plans, large floor plans, small quantities, heavy weights, multiple loads and ever-changing parts, and a myriad of conditions (perhaps for the very first time).  The final design may include an industrial cart that can tilt, rotate, and transfer.

Topper Industrial tilt carts are utilized widely in the material handling industry. This is because they create a safe, controlled, and ergonomic delivery work station line side.


Topper Industrial’s tilt carts come equipped with a patented adjustable closed loop hydraulic cylinder that controls the energy of the load as it is tilted in the industrial tilt cart. It provides for a safe and controlled tilt movement in a full to empty application.

The degree of the tilt on a cart is designed and designated by the ergonomic picking heights needed line side. The development of the 60-degree tilt cart was accomplished to satisfy the need to tilt a cart contents past the standard 30 degrees. Line side workers need to reach parts placed vertically in a container without exceeding ergonomic limits for reaching and bending.

Engineering the tilt frame to go past the standard 30-degree tilt presented its challenges. Designers had to consider how the center of gravity would affect the design, the need for counter balances and a possible foot pedal return assist.

To combat all the challenges, the base of the cart frame was notched to allow the leading platform edge to go lower than the caster load height. The new design kept a low center of gravity during towing and the able to reach the far side of the container. The design also minimizes the possibility of a serious pinch point as the platform is tilted.

Topper Industrial Tilt Carts come in 30, 45, and 60 degrees, just another example where there is always an industrial cart to meet specific needs, even if Topper Industrial needs to invent it.

Myth #3: Carts fall apart and require high maintenance

A cart frame is welded high strength steel. With various weight capacities and sizes and after more than two decades since its introduction, advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) are making major inroads into industrial carts.

Initially there was sluggish acceptance of advanced high strength steel, however the limited durability of lower-density materials as plastics and composites, aluminum and magnesium, has made welded high strength steel the standard for lasting performance with minimal maintenance.

Carts have high quality casters that improve push pull forces. A force is a push or a pull. Pushing on a stalled car is an example. The force of friction between feet and the ground is yet another. Weight is the force of the earth’s gravity exerted downward upon the body.

A caster is an undriven, single, double, or compound wheel that is designed to be mounted to the bottom of a larger object (the “vehicle”) to enable that object to be easily moved. They are available in various sizes, and are commonly made of rubber, plastic, nylon, aluminum, or stainless steel.

Casters are found in numerous applications, including shopping carts, office chairs, and material handling equipment. High capacity, heavy duty casters are used in many industrial applications, such as platform trucks, carts, assemblies, and tow lines in plants. Generally, casters operate well on smooth and flat surfaces. When shortcuts are taken and lower casters are utilized on industrial carts, this is where the myth about longevity usually starts. High quality casters are integral to the long-term maintenance-free industrial cart.

Myth #4: Payback is low for Industrial Carts

In fact, the return on investment, (ROI) for industrial carts is rapid and quite high and since these carts are safer with quality components requiring little or no maintenance and repairs, the calculation is derived quite easily. Additionally, since the industrial carts are more reliable for delivery than fork trucks, the rationale for fork truck free manufacturing plants grows stronger as lean manufacturing principles are adopted.

Practicing lean manufacturing is a benchmark few industrial cart manufacturers deploy internally. At Topper Industrial there is a practice of lean as a way to establish a production system that creates more customer value using less resources.

By understanding what customers value and focusing its processes to deliver it, and through the continuous optimization of product and service flow across departments, the company is quickly earning the sobriquet of North American Fork Truck Free Leader.

By eliminating waste in the entire value chain to accelerate response while lowering cost; the Deming Chain Reaction is accomplished.

Producing high quality products and services is key for any organization that wishes to stay in business.  An important goal for any organization is to produce trouble-free products.  By doing so, loyalty is created, reduces costs, and allows further customer satisfaction through other offerings.

Deming’s 14 Points on Quality Management, a core concept on implementing total quality management, is a set of management practices to help companies increase their quality and productivity.

Deming’s 14 Points are as follows:

  • Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services.
  • Adopt the new philosophy.
  • Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
  • End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier.
  • Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service.
  • Institute training on the job.
  • Adopt and institute leadership.
  • Drive out fear.
  • Break down barriers between staff areas.
  • Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce.
  • Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management.
  • Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system.
  • Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone.
  • Put everybody in the company to work accomplishing the transformation.

These total quality management concepts can be put into place by any organization to more effectively implement total quality management. As a total quality management philosophy, W. Edwards Deming’s work is foundational to TQM and its successor, quality management systems.

Theory of Profound Knowledge

In order to promote cooperation, Deming espouses his Theory of Profound Knowledge. Profound knowledge involves expanded views and an understanding of the seemingly individual yet truly interdependent elements that compose the larger system, the company. Deming believed that every worker has nearly unlimited potential if placed in an environment that adequately supports, educates, and nurtures senses of pride and responsibility; he stated that the majority–85 percent–of a worker’s effectiveness is determined by his environment and only minimally by his own skill.

A manager seeking to establish such an environment must:

  • employ an understanding of psychology–of groups and individuals.
  • eliminate tools such as production quotas and sloganeering which only alienate workers from their supervisors and breed divisive competition between the workers themselves.
  • form the company into a large team divided into sub-teams all working on different aspects of the same goal; barriers between departments often give rise conflicting objectives and create unnecessary competition.
  • spread profit to workers as teams, not individuals.
  • eliminate fear, envy, anger, and revenge from the workplace.
  • employ sensible methods such as rigorous on-the-job training programs.
  • In the resulting company, workers better understand their jobs–the specific tasks and techniques as well as their higher value; stimulated and empowered, they perform better. The expense pays for itself.

The ideas of W. Edwards Deming may seem common or obvious now having become embedded in the culture of work.  Deming’s theories have proven that poor payback is a myth when quality products are at the heart of the offering.

Myth #5: Industrial Carts are not as Safe as Fork Trucks

The fact is that fork trucks are among the most dangerous pieces of equipment on the plant floor. OSHA statistics indicate that there are roughly 85 forklift fatalities and 34,900 serious injuries each year, with 42 percent of the forklift fatalities from the operator’s being crushed by a tipping vehicle.

Despite safety training and tips (as seen below), the failure of consistent fork truck safety is driving a rapid growth in the use of industrial carts tugged by vision-guided or automatic guided driverless vehicles.

Manufactured in the USA, industrial carts by Topper Industrial have more safety and ergonomic patented solutions than any other provider of these safe products. With more than two decades of manufacturing excellence, products featuring all-welded heavy gauge steel construction with a tough powder coated finish, have earned a reputation for strength, durability and longevity, even in the most demanding applications.

Far safer than fork trucks, there is often a need from industrial carts to undergo an Engineer to Order unique build while supporting custom equipment for lean initiatives, special applications and integrated systems. The heavy-duty industrial safety products are driving the North American Fork Truck Free initiatives because they deliver both quality and value.

Unlike fork trucks, industrial carts are extremely reliable, have minimal maintenance, and often have a planned route for use.

The Future of Industrial Safety

The factory of the future is increasingly set to blur the lines between humans and machines, with teams containing robots and people working side by side. This requires a different approach to safety that addresses the need to respond to a range of situations with high flexibility.  When connected to driverless guided vehicles, industrial carts are tailored, customized solutions, safety systems, underpinned by the experience acquired from equipping numerous machines and plants.

New technologies currently in development will enable even closer coordination with processes in the future. Innovative safety technology concepts for carrying out production in a way that is both compliant with legislation and fit for the future dispels the myth regarding the safety of industrial carts versus fork trucks.

Myth #6: Industrial Carts are not Ergonomic

To the contrary, industrial carts are highly ergonomic and are designed with operator and picking position in mind. Carts often present in the golden zone, presenting at the optimal operator height. Tilt and rotate carts are effortless to use.

Wheeled carts are used in virtually every industry serving a variety of manufacturing and distribution purposes. These wheeled carts are often unassuming and overlooked, but are an integral component of efficiency and personnel safety.

From the manufacturing floor, to the back of 18-wheel tractor trailers, and the store backroom, wheeled carts support each step of the distribution cycle.  In total there are more than 40,000 Topper Industrial carts in operation throughout the world. Holding more U.S. ergonomic patents for industrial carts, Ed Brown continues to provide a wide variety of products that meet documented ergonomic standards for wheeled cart use.

Ed and his team of Topper Industrial engineers have taken the principles of basic ergonomics and integrated them into each cart.  Illustrating the importance of ergonomics in wheeled cart-based material handling systems, the myth that industrial carts are not ergonomic is patently false since ergonomics are the primary consideration and factor in the design process of Topper carts.

Ergonomics principles developed as a means of improving work efficiency after factories became more prevalent (post-industrial revolution). Industrial engineers, with a goal of improving manufacturing facilities, began using ergonomics principles in the 1950’s. Since then the principles of ergonomics have been used as a means of improving job safety as well as efficiency.

Elements Affecting Ergonomics


Posture, tools, tasks, equipment, and movement are all elements affecting ergonomics. How these elements interact with each other affects the positive or negative outcomes of performing any given task. Aligning these elements correctly creates ergonomically accurate tasks.

Ergonomics is most closely associated with personal posture. More importantly, ergonomics looks at how posture relates to varied work environments and the level at which people are able to maintain a comfortable posture during performing the required task. Ergonomically comfortable postures are known as “neutral postures.”

Neutral Posture refers to the resting position of each joint-the position in which there is the least tension or pressure on nerves, tendons, muscles, and bones. It is also the position in which muscles are at their resting length neither contracted nor stretched. Muscles at this length can develop maximum force most efficiently. One aspect of ergonomic redesign is the reworking of tools, work stations, and processes to allow the worker’s joints to remain in neutral position as much as possible.

These “neutral postures” are characterized by an upright spine, the absence of twisting or rotation, minimal reach distances, and limbs that remain close to the body’s core.  Opposite to “neutral postures” are “static postures” where the environment, tools, and tasks predisposes people to use awkward postures.

Ed Brown noted that, “Neither a tool, task, or piece of equipment should require excessive force of any kind; in fact the mechanics of the tool or equipment should ease the physical demands on the operator.”

Excessive force is defined as any force greater than 15% of a person’s maximal voluntary effort (physical effort) which creates a potential for fatigue and injury. There is a wide range of locations where excessive forces can occur but with proper design there is never a need to use excessive force with industrial wheeled carts.

Myth #7: Industrial Carts Take up Too Much Space

Industrial carts are designed to match container size. They are often designed with aisle size and usable area in mind. They are very flexible.

Nowhere is the idea of meticulous space consideration more obvious that in mother/daughter carts.  Topper Industrial is very proud of the patented mother/daughter carts and cart systems. A mother/daughter cart is an industrial cart system consisting of one large mother cart and two or more, smaller daughter carts. The daughter carts are designed to fit within the mother cart’s framework. Once inside, the daughter carts are locked into the mother cart. The mother cart and daughter carts are then able to be tugged as one. Daughter carts are often different types of carts. For instance, one mother cart can be designed to carry a static cart as a daughter cart and a rotation cart as a daughter cart. The mother/daughter cart system is a very flexible, effective cart system.

Mother/daughter carts can also be referred to as corral carts.

This solution also eliminates line side forklift deliveries with mother-daughter cart. Engineered with a diamond pattern for flexibility, the large mother cart frame can accommodate multiple, different daughter carts with different caster arrangements.

When locked together, the carts are tugged as one unit, supporting unlimited line side manufacturing deliveries and applications without the need for forklifts. At the assembly line, the operator swaps out a full daughter cart for an empty one, and can work directly out of the carts.

Sara Pearson Spector shared in Modern Materials Handling that tuggers and carts have evolved to the point where they can be flexibly engineered to support some, or all, of a facility’s handling needs. Both manned and unmanned tuggers work with powered and non-powered carts in a virtually limitless range of configurations. Their features and flexibility allow these systems to address production complexities previously only handled by fork trucks. In turn, fork trucks can be limited to the perimeter of a facility—for shipping and receiving, and for inventory placement into and out of racks—to increase the safety of personnel in the area.

In manufacturing, tugger and cart systems replace one-load-at-a-time deliveries by fork trucks to the production floor by acting as trains, or a linked series of multiple carts, carrying multiple loads in one trip. The carts themselves may be loaded by a fork truck, but a tugger handles the deliveries. Unlike a fork truck, automatic guided vehicle (AGV) style tugs travel along a pre-determined route and at a limited speed, while manned-style driven tug operators have greater visibility because the loads trail behind instead of riding on elevated forks in front of the driver.

Changing roles of carts

Delivering smaller lots more frequently in kitted and sequenced cart orders is an engineered response to the complexity of mass customization. Building multiple product lines on the same production floor or offering a selection of options to customize a standard product, require the flexibility that carts can provide. The carts have evolved into specialized tools used in engineered processes to move materials as efficiently as possible.

Myth #8: Industrial Carts Require Significant Training for Proper Use

False: There is little training required when using industrial carts. Basics of uses and application, coupling and de-coupling is learned quickly, safely, and easily.

There is a remarkable change to the use of industrial carts and their effectiveness. Myths and negative attitudes towards industrial carts change upon the first use.

Topper Industrial Rotation Carts are able to manually rotate and position parts for minimized over reaching and lifting. A tilt cart is a specified industrial cart base with a rotating top. The tops rotate 360 degrees to the various operator workstation. Topper’s Rotation Carts come in a 4-wheel or 6-wheel design.

The operator is quickly able to rotate the unit by releasing the foot actuated detent to rotate and access parts from any side from one position. The detents automatically locks every 90° or 180.° This secures the rotation top, so that the operator can work out of the unit safely. The effortless rotation is due to the heavy duty sealed precision slew bearing that can handle cantilevered loads with ease and is virtually maintenance free.

Rotating the unit is immediately learned and understood by just release the foot actuated detent to rotate and access parts from any side from one position. The detents automatically lock out every 90° or 180° which secure the rotation top when operator works out of the unit. The effortless rotation is due to the heavy duty sealed precision roller bearing that can handle cantilevered loads with ease and is virtually maintenance free.


Spring-loaded upper frame helps auto rotate cart loads.

To reduce operator timing requirements, the Auto-Rotate cart by Topper Industrial has a spin function that is faster than comparable carts. Featuring a four-wheel cart base bottom frame, the top portion has a manual hand-operated rotate frame equipped with a spring mechanism. To operate, a worker pulls the frame by hand with a twist back motion to spring load the cart when it hits the detent.

The frame stays in place until the operator engages the foot pedal, allowing it to return to its original position.

Designs and engineering nuanced for various industrial carts applications; each cart is designed with specific plant floor applications in mind. Whether an engineered-to-order cart or an application for a standard cart, creating easy to learn, easy to use best-in-class solutions is a standard.

Some of the ISO 9000 standard includes ease of learning use of systems and tools. Topper Industrial achieved ISO 9001:2000 Registration. Demonstrated customer focus and continuous improvement are key elements in these standards. The ISO system is being used to improve the quality of all products and improve efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S.-based production processes.


About Topper Industrial

For more than twenty years, Topper Industrial, ( based just outside of Milwaukee, WI, has been a leader in the material handling equipment industry. The company’s product roster features industrial carts, conveyors, lifts, lifts & tilts, shipping racks, containers, casters, and cart components. From mother-daughter carts to quad steer carts to tilt carts and rotate carts, Topper’s material handling solutions make delivering material line side more effective through more efficient practices. Topper Industrial has a team of experienced professional experts able to assess and provide the right product for all material handling equipment requirements.

Topper Industrial is a proud member of MHI. Follow on Twitter @TopperInd or on LinkedIn.

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