Material handling carts, such as a top hat rack and cart, are great for warehouse operations because of their versatility and ability to enhance the production of goods. As some of the most popular material handling solutions, these top hat racks can be a great investment for warehouse managers to consider, especially with how economical they are.

A top hat rack and cart can offer many benefits for your warehouse space. Here’s how top hat racks work and why they can improve the efficiency of material handling and production line assembly.

What Is a Top Hat Rack and Cart?

A top hat rack and cart features a steel cart that can be used to carry and transport materials across the warehouse floor. This convertible assembly contains a large, flat pallet with a top hat shelving component attached on top. The cart itself can be rotated 360 degrees, making loading and unloading operations a lot easier.

A big benefit to the top hat rack and cart system is that the rack is separate from the cart. Because of this, you can “kit” more racks than carts and stack up the racks, saving space on the warehouse floor. You can then pull them out of a stack and place them onto an empty cart without having to keep the cart out-of-service while the sequencing employees fill the shelves.

With a high weight capacity and the ability to be used at the minimal overall expense for your facility, top hat racks and carts are highly versatile because they can handle any process or task at hand. The top hat shelves can be used to deliver smaller parts or bins of parts straight to a production line when they are needed.

Typically, these carts sit in a production facility or warehouse within a set lane, track, or highway. There, they can be used to transport parts and materials between different workspaces. Ideally, these carts can be customized to fit your warehouse needs and applications, so they can be easily maneuvered and operators don’t physically over-exert themselves.

Once a top hat cart is empty along a production line, the operator can then replace it with a newly stocked cart and pull away the empty one, increasing efficiency overall.

What Is Top Hatting/Kitting?

Top hatting, also called kitting, in the warehouse setting is when a sequencing company fills top hat racks with products, parts, and equipment, and then transports the racks to an assembly plant. This process simplifies the production of equipment and other materials and allows it to be more efficient because it enables companies to ramp up their production without having to expand floor space.

To avoid wasting time searching for the right parts, operators can outsource inventory management to someone else who is able to deliver parts in a timely manner. Top hatting/hitting can also offer many other benefits to the warehouse setting, including:

  • Improved compliance and product quality
  • Reduced disruptions to the production process, such as line stoppages
  • Increased production due to the ability to manufacture more products
  • Improved operator safety and warehouse organization
  • Reduced waste and clutter of line-side inventory

Benefits of a Top Hat Rack and Cart

There are many benefits a top hat rack and cart can offer to a warehouse or production plant. These include:

  • Affordability: Because these carts can be altered to fit your needs, your company doesn’t have to spend extra money on more expensive, specialized material handling solutions. These carts can be used as a flat pallet rack, or static cart, without the top hat component, or as a cart with the top hat shelving unit resting between the corner guides.
  • Ability to Roll and Rotate: Top hat racks are highly efficient because they have ergonomically-designed wheels that allow them to be pushed and pulled, as well as the ability to be rotated and moved. This allows handlers to easily access parts from any side of the top hat rack.
  • Efficiency: These carts can be configured to serve the needs of any production line and can transport parts to specific areas of a plant as needed. With operators constantly replacing empty carts with full ones, warehouse managers can expect a higher productivity standard.
  • Connectivity and Organization: Top hat carts can be attached to each other in a train, manipulated into a specific production plant area, and then disconnected as needed. The retractable drawbar and foot operated hitch allow an operator to pull a cart out from the middle of a train and replace it with an empty one or hook up the rest of the train and continue on. This allows for better parts organization and clears up more space in production areas.

The Top Hat Rack and Cart at American Manufacturing

Our top hat rack and cart at American Manufacturing offers a weight capacity of 2,000 pounds and has many different features to help increase productivity at your warehouse, including:

  • Tubular steel frame with plate deck
  • Handle to push and pull
  • Retractable draw bar
  • Automatic foot brake release and recessed hitch foot release
  • Heavy-duty corner guides for stacking
  • Polyurethane casters with two swivel rigs and two rigid rigs with 30-40 lbs of initial push/pull force and a sustained force of about 22lbs

The tubular steel frame and plate deck provide a heavy-duty base for parts and equipment to be hauled on, and the swivel wheels allow for easy cart movement, as well as the ability to be rotated 360 degrees.

American Manufacturing is here for all of your warehouse needs. Whether you’re looking for containers, steel shipping pallets, or ergonomic equipment, we’re here to help. Contact us today at 419-531-9471.