One of our key phrases at Geolean is “Get the fork outta here!” When we work with clients to create their lean system, removing forklifts from the manufacturing area is a point of emphasis. Getting rid of forklifts makes sense, but it’s not always an easy change because they are a common way to move materials. Every transformational change in an operation has social, system, process, and physical components. For changes to material flow, one of the main physical changes is made by introducing cart train systems, of which there are many options. One of these options is a style of cart system called mother-daughter carts. Their versatility and ease of operation work for nearly any facility, part, or process.
So, what is a mother daughter cart system?
Mother-daughter cart systems use a tugger with base carts (the mothers) from which various insert carts (the daughters) can attach and detach. The specific design and style of the mother and daughter carts vary, but the general function is the same.
The key difference between Mother-daughter cart systems and standard cart systems is that the mother carts remain attached together (and to the tugger) during cart exchange, so only the daughter carts move. Daughter carts will have various different styles depending on the materials you need to transport. The daughter carts can be easily detached or attached without having to arrange all of the carts in the train.
What are the benefits?
Mother-daughter style cart systems offer three key benefits versus standard tugger carts:
Lower capital investment – instead of each cart in a fleet needing a tow package, premium casters, and a tow rated frame design, only the mother carts of a mother-daughter system need those elements. The daughter carts must of course be purpose designed, but not to the extent of standard tug carts.
Improved productivity – productivity is improved for all operators involved in the activity: route drivers, lineside operators, and warehouse / stock room personnel. There are no carts to connect and reconnect, so the material exchange is more ergonomic and much quicker. Daughter carts can also be sized to hold the correct materials and present them to the operator in the most efficient orientation.
Additional flexibility – tug carts need to have a certain footprint and dimensions to ensure stability during tugging, but daughter carts can follow different rules. This flexibility allows the cart to fit the process instead of the other way around.
As with standard tug carts, various customizations can be applied to daughter carts so they accommodate the material delivery style needed by the process. Mother daughter systems used only between certain linked processes (a kit cell to the assembly line, for example), can also be designed differently from the primary cart delivery system which allows for even great flexibility.
If you’re looking to go forklift free, Geolean can help. We design material flow processes, systems, and equipment solutions to fit your company’s needs. Our team is built to spend time with you in your operation, to understand your unique challenges and support your forklift free transition. So schedule an appointment today!