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What is an Industrial Car?

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  • Written By: Crystal K. Wilford
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2016
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An industrial car is a heavy cargo container constructed of metal, and usually attached to wheels that allow it to move along a permanent rail track. The design makes industrial cars effective in transporting large items from place to place. The most prominent example of this vehicle is the railroad car. Other types of industrial cars include specialized equipment cradles, warehouse and manufacturing flatbeds, and smaller rail-less vehicles capable of transporting small batches of materials.

An industrial railroad car can be constructed in a variety of ways. Many of these cars are metal containers with sliding side doors that provide access to an enclosed space for hauling crates, machinery, and vehicles. Some cars are open on top to allow easy loading of scrap metal, grain, coal, or construction and manufacturing materials. Other rail cars include simple flatbeds for transporting larger, possibly oddly shaped, loads such as large machinery parts, logs, and other bulk cargo. A closed industrial car can be used as tanks to transport oil or chemicals.

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In cases where it is impossible to lift or haul equipment with smaller vehicles, manufacturing plants often use a system of rails and cars to move equipment from one production area to another. This type of indoor industrial car can be a simple box or platform, low enough to look into or use without requiring ladders or steps. Some rail cars are specially constructed to cradle vats, which can hold molten metal, acidic compounds, or other components that are unsafe or too massive for humans to handle or transport.

The smallest form of industrial car rarely requires rails, and can be used to transport personnel or simple loads from one building to another. These electric-powered cars often resemble golf carts, and run off a motor powered by a rechargeable battery. Most models are equipped with fully functional lights, horn, transmission, brakes, and a cab for the driver to either sit or stand in while operating the vehicle.

The bed of the car can be a flat surface, or a shallow box that ensures loose cargo does not slide off in transport. Electric versions of the industrial car often have the option of a lift built in beneath the bed. This permits the cargo to be raised and transferred to a higher level for storage, as well as offering a platform for personnel to stand on while undertaking maintenance or other tasks from the convenience of an elevated, stable surface.

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