Deep below our factory, the concrete basement rumbles and deafening thuds echo against the foam-padded doors.
This isn’t an insane asylum. Instead, it’s home to Hamilton’s infamous torture track, where we pit our ultra-durable casters against the competition.
For starters, we hook casters up to a circular track that’s lined with common factory obstacles, like uneven surfaces and debris. Next, we overload them – up to 20% over their load rating. Finally, we run them around the track to see how they perform under the kinds of pressures you would find in heavy industry.
Our testing results continue to shock even the most seasoned engineers.
“Just last week we tested a competitor’s latest model at about 200 pounds over its rated capacity,” said Jeff Spektor, Hamilton’s engineering manager. “It lasted 22 minutes before it began to break apart.”
By comparison, our casters ran for two days before we purposely stopped the test. As for why Hamilton still uses the torture track, while many manufacturers consider it dated?
“It’s just one of many tests we run to make sure we continue to build the absolute toughest casters,” said Lippert. “And frankly, we’re not afraid to see how we stack up to our competitors. That’s how we make smarter, safer and even more durable products.”
Want to see the torture track in action? Email or call Mark Lippert (513-454-2642) to schedule a tour. Just be sure to bring ear plugs. Loud is an understatement.
This isn't grandma's greenhouse.
Five years in the making, Original Harvest Farms new 3,000-square-foot operation redefines what an organic farm can be.
It doesn't just run on sun, soil, water and sweat. Hamilton's V-Groove casters, which power a mobile and raised plant bed system, boost the company's growing space by 30 percent.
A square foot is the most expensive part of this highly advanced greenhouse and growing system, said Graham Boothby, co-founder and president of Original Harvest Farms. By putting our beds on casters, we increased our growing area by 500 feet.
Year round, that adds up to thousands of pounds of additional fresh produce from tangy mustard greens to edible flowers and a dozen varieties of lettuce.
While the concept might sound complex, it's remarkably simple. In the average greenhouse, aisles divide plant beds so employees can access the produce.
With Hamilton, Original Harvest Farms cuts out what Boothby calls wasted space. If I'm not standing, walking or working in an area at any given moment, I want to be growing there.
Now we simply move a row to the side to create an aisle for us to till soil, plant or harvest, he said. And even though a row weighs about 2 tons, the casters allow two people to move them with ease.
As for why the company didn't just build a bigger greenhouse?
At this size, we're a self sufficient, zero-net energy operation, he said. If we added just a few hundred feet, we'd increase our construction costs, carbon footprint, and the amount of electricity we’d need to offset.
With the first building up and running, Original Harvest Farms is already looking to the future.
We're planning expansions to Brooklyn, Chicago and Detroit, said Boothby. And you can bet Hamilton's part of our growth plan.
So, you just bought a new set of casters for a cart. Now what?
The obvious answer is to place them on the four corners of the cart, but we don’t recommend that because it can make the cart harder to maneuver, and it may create a dangerous trip hazard.
To score points with plant safety managers, place the swivel casters at the steering/pushing end, and far enough forward from the end to avoid conflicting with the feet of anyone pushing the cart. Consider the entire swivel envelope of the casters when positioning them. Keeping swivel casters at the side edges will maximize lateral stability.
Rigid casters should also be mounted at the outside edges, but approximately ¼ of the way back from the front of the cart. This compromises some of the stability but greatly enhances the maneuverability.
Should the anticipated load be somewhat tall or the cart have a high center of gravity, then placing the rigid casters at the end may make sense. Just remember that it will be much harder to maneuver the cart, particularly in tight places.
We created a handy graphic that covers the most typical cart applications for (3) standard platform sizes. But, if you want to save yourself the effort, pick out one of our carts at the new CartsAndTrailers.com, and we’ll do the mounting for you.
Have questions about placing casters? Drop us a line. We’ll be happy to help.
Have you visited our revamped Product Finder recently? With thousands of CAD models – and more added daily – it’s like a playground for design engineers and caster junkies.
To find a 2D or 3D rendering of ANY of our 20,000 caster variations, start by selecting your exact specifications on left side of page here.
Choose from details like load capacity and mounting height, down to nitty-gritty features like temperature, floor protection or noise reduction. Next, select a caster and hit “view 3D.”
If we don’t have the specific caster or wheel optioned the way you want, just enter your email, grab a Twix and watch your inbox. We’ll whip one up, and send it right over to you in 24 hours or less.
We don’t pull our renderings out of thin air, either. Julie Johnson is one of our engineering team members who’s been cranking them out daily since 2008.
“It might sound cliché, but I love helping people and surprising them when we send them exactly what they need way faster than they expected,” said Johnson. “We guarantee a rendering in 24 hours, but we often deliver in a few hours or less.”
Learn more on our 2D and 3D model page, or email your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before astronauts land on Mars and take an even bigger step for mankind, they’ll need a little help from Hamilton on Earth.
NASA enlisted our dual-wheel, solid pneumatic casters to help build and test a new landing vehicle called the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD).
Hamilton’s 21-inch casters with dual-tread contact brakes helped safely transport the precious cargo into place for a test launch on June 28, 2014. Get a view of them at the 8-second mark and see them in action at 1:35.
With the LDSD’s supersonic technology, NASA can launch a crew-filled capsule from space into Mars. And, to compensate for the planet’s incredibly thin atmosphere, slow the vessel from speeds greater than the speed of sound to about 200 mph.
Mark Adler, project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, beamed over the test mission’s success.
"The test vehicle worked beautifully, and we met all of our flight objectives,” he said. “We’ve recovered all the vehicle hardware and data recorders and will be able to apply all of the lessons learned from this information to our future flights."
To learn more about the test flight and future missions to Mars, jet on over to NASA.gov
What’s built to move mountains, 10,000 pounds, more than twice your height and borne on Hamilton’s Behemoth casters?
Enter the earthmoving tire, manufactured by Goodyear's Topeka Plant in Kansas.
Goodyear chose a local firm, Topeka Foundry, to design and fabricate a large dolly to move these large tires throughout the Goodyear Plant. “These tires literally move the Earth, hundreds of tons of rock and minerals at a time,” said Tom Dolsky, vice president of Topeka Foundry. “We needed a caster capable of handling this tall order, and then some.”
Topeka Foundry designed and built the dolly and selected our Ultra Maxi-Duty, dual wheel swivel casters with 12 by 5-inch wheels to carry Goodyear's 12 feet in diameter tires around its factory. With four mounted on a custom rig, a single dolly hauls more than 72,000 pounds per load, or 36 tons of highly engineered rubber.
While earthmovers serve a variety of applications around the world – from seaports to quarries and underground construction – these 57-inch tires dwell on the surface to help mine extreme terrain.
“One of the best parts about working with Hamilton is their turnaround time,” said Dolsky. “They quoted us about four or five weeks, and shipped in just three. That’s unheard of in this industry, especially with custom casters of this magnitude.”
With even tighter deadlines and higher order volume, it helps to have a Hamilton in your pocket, he added.
“All the years we’ve known Hamilton, they’ve never missed a shipping date. That says a lot,” he said. “Our customers depend on us for lightning fast delivery. And we can deliver thanks to Hamilton.”
Let’s move the Earth together. Call or email Jim Lippert, vice president of sales, 1-800-733-7655.
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