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The advantages of using self-propelled carts instead of tractor-trailer systems for heavy load handling

Self-propelled cart vs tractor+trailer


Handling heavy loads in manufacturing industries is a continuous challenge. The safety of operators, the costs associated with non-productive times, and the risk of damaging transported products are critical issues requiring effective solutions. Sectors such as automotive, steel, power generation, nuclear, and heavy carpentry face these challenges daily. For example, the automotive industry frequently handles press molds, while the steel sector manages raw, semi-finished, and finished products. Safe and efficient handling of power transformers, chillers, and turbines is crucial for the power generation sector.


Issues with Tractor-Trailer Systems

The traditional system combining tractors and trailers presents numerous issues.

Low Safety:

  • Certification: Tractors used, such as forklifts or small electric tractors, are often not certified for towing specific trailers, compromising safety.
  • Braking: The potential lack of certification for towing on inclines means these tractors cannot adequately brake trailers on uneven terrain, creating risk situations.
  • Maneuverability: Maneuvering an articulated tractor-trailer system is complex, especially in reverse, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Operator Hazards: In electric tractors, also known as pushers/pullers or tugs, with walk-behind systems, brake issues or inclines can cause severe accidents, with the entire system potentially crushing the operator.
  • Tipping: Rapid steering at high speeds can cause the trailer to tip over.
  • Operator Errors: Errors such as incorrect trailer hitching or forgetting the trailer brake can have dangerous consequences.

High Operating Costs:

  • Handling Times: The tractor-trailer system is complex to maneuver, often requiring longer routes and complicated positioning at loading and unloading stations, increasing handling times.
  • Space Requirements: It requires significant space within the company, which has high economic value.
  • Energy Efficiency: Moving three components (tractor, trailer, and load) reduces efficiency and increases energy consumption.
  • Maintenance: Maintaining two separate vehicles (tractor and trailer) increases operational costs.


Advantages of Electric Trolleys

Self-propelled carts offer numerous advantages over tractor-trailer systems.

High Safety:

  • Certification: Self-propelled carts are CE certified to transport and brake their loads safely. They are designed, manufactured, and certified to transport materials according to the specific customer reality (type of load, flooring, slopes, etc.).
  • Remote Control: Using remote controls or pendant push buttons eliminates the risk to the operator, who can stay at a safe distance. This also ensures optimal visibility around the cart.
  • Stability: The steering speed is controlled by software, eliminating the risk of tipping.
  • Collision Avoidance Systems: They can be equipped with advanced collision avoidance systems, such as laser scanners, in both directions, further reducing risks.

Greater Operational Efficiency:

  • Reduced Times: The compactness of self-propelled carts allows for shorter handling times and shorter routes.
  • Space Requirements: They require less space, optimizing the use of company areas. Morello’s omnidirectional steering carts further optimize available space.
  • Energy Efficiency: Power is only used to move the cart and load, significantly reducing energy consumption compared to a tractor-trailer system.
  • Maintenance: Maintaining a single vehicle implies lower maintenance costs.


Comparison with Multiple Trailer-Tractor Systems

Even when the need is for a single tractor with multiple trailers, battery-powered self-propelled carts remain a superior solution. Using a system with a self-propelled cart equipped with a liftable loading platform and several steel “pallets,” as shown in the videos below, provides significant advantages:

  • Reduced Costs: Steel pallets without wheels or steering components are less expensive than complete trailers.
  • Operational Efficiency: Self-propelled carts allow for more efficient operations, with lower management and maintenance costs.



Battery-powered self-propelled carts represent an advanced and safe solution for handling heavy loads. They offer significant advantages in terms of safety, operational efficiency, and costs compared to traditional tractor-trailer systems. These carts are designed to meet specific customer needs, providing a tailored solution for every industrial application.

For more information about our self-propelled carts, visit our page here.

For further details or a personalized quote, contact us here.

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