Let’s Roll

Sept. 17, 2020
With a drop-in caster design, the PD-8010 cargo dolly from Par-Kan Company helps ground handlers easily transfer containers to and from the aircraft.

A smooth transfer of a container or unit load device (ULD) from a cargo dolly to the aircraft makes the challenging job of loading airfreight significantly easier.

So, while the first version of the PD-8010 cargo dolly was developed more than 15 years ago, engineers at Par-Kan Company solicited feedback from its customers and completely revamped its line of cargo dollies to better serve the ground handling industry.

The biggest improvement was focused on the caster design of the units.

“The current version of the PD-8010 with the drop-in caster design has been in production since November of 2018,” says Abbie Hepler, director of sales and marketing at Par-Kan Company.

“We asked our customers what their biggest pain points were. The consistent feedback we received was that ULD containers get hung up on dolly casters, which makes the process cumbersome for the operator,” she continues. “Our drop-in caster design creates a nearly seamless platform to eliminate this concern and allows for quick and easy loading from any direction.”

The drop-in casters offer a rating of 440 pounds each and the casters are capable of swiveling 360 degrees. What’s more, these casters move easily under the weight of ULD containers.

“In the event a caster needs to be replaced, you can quickly swap it out with two bolts,” Hepler says. “Also, since the drop-in casters create a nearly seamless platform, this lessens the direct impact to the caster by the pallets and containers, prolonging the overall life of the casters.”

Par-Kan’s PD-8010 cargo dolly is the largest unit in the company’s product line, which offers six different models to be compatible with pallets and various container sizes.

“Our PD-8010 dolly can be configured for side- or end-loading with a roller deck or all direction loading with a caster deck,” points out Hepler.

Standard features for the PD-8010 include a heavy duty pallet stop and VR locks, while fork pockets protect the undercarriage. The unit also offers solid tires, a spring-loaded e-hitch and a torsion relief tow-bar with a tow-bar activated braking system.

“During our product development journey, prior to the official launch, we did make improvements to the braking system and improved the overall strength and robustness of the components for improved quality and safety,” Hepler explains.

The PD-8010 comes with a powder-coat finish, although Hepler notes some customers – like those living in coastal areas and near salt-spray elements – may opt for a galvanized finish to prolong the life of the equipment.

Par-Kan’s line of cargo dollies can handle virtually any size pallet or container. Depending on the capacity of the aircraft and the containers being used, the PD-8010 provides versatility. At 128 inches long, 102 inches wide and 21.5 inches high, a PD-8010 dolly can handle anywhere from two LD-1 containers, one LD-39 and many other sizes of ULDs and pallets in between.

Cargo dollies require minimal maintenance. If GSE maintenance personnel keep the grease zerks lubricated at all key points, a dolly will remain in good working condition.

Hepler notes that Par-Kan designs its equipment with ground handling service providers in mind and uses feedback from its customers to continuously improve equipment to make their difficult job easier, whenever possible.

“Our customers really like the ease of use with our caster deck design,” she says.

When spec’ing a cargo dolly for an operation, Hepler notes it is important to understand what type of containers are being loaded and unloaded to ensure all concerns are addressed.

“We will need to know what size of containers they need the dolly to accommodate and we can assist our customer with selecting the correct dolly for their operational needs,” Hepler says. “Selecting the appropriately sized dolly from the start will set the ground handler up for success going forward.”