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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
U.S. manufacturing is on the rise again with the humble caster leading the charge.
According to the Commerce Department, demand for commercial aircraft and automobiles grew by a combined 16 percent in February.
Stroll through many of those factories, and you’ll find Hamilton helping to build airplanes, cars and trucks right here in America.
For example, the Michigan-based plant churning out nearly 400 pickup trucks a day with Hamilton on the assembly line. Or the South Carolina aerospace manufacturer flying high with our heavy-duty ground support casters.
These are just a few ways Hamilton keeps U.S. manufacturing on the up and up. And while we can’t take all the credit for the recent surge, we can smile knowing our casters helped make it possible.
Here’s to more growth. One caster at a time.
A recent caster order to a train yard got us thinking, what’s the longest railway in the world? To find the answer, we headed to Russia to bask in 5,772 miles of cold, hard track spanning eight time zones.
Here’s what we learned about the Trans-Siberian Railway:
The most common route, from Moscow to Beijing, takes roughly a week to travel. But with majestic views and an endless supply of Russki chai (vodka), time will surely fly by.
At 5,712 feet, Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world, containing 20 percent of the planet’s fresh water. Even more incredible, roughly 1,700 species of plants and animals call it home, and more than half can only be found there.
It’s not on the train’s path, but we couldn’t resist sharing. Average temperatures of minus 50 F in Oymyakon, Siberia, scare off most tourists, but many of our casters are designed to operate in similar freezing conditions.
While the Great Wall of China spans an incredible 5,500 miles, the Trans-Siberian Railway covers more ground. At 5,772 miles long, it’s even mightier than U.S. Route 66.
Learn more about the world’s longest railway.
Ohio: Home to the inventors of flight, the toughest casters on the planet and the world’s largest cheese wheel. At 20,462 pounds, this slab of 27 different varieties of cheddar makes the Kraft singles in your fridge look like child’s play.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a taste of lactose history, the wheel is no longer with us. Word on the Amish streets is someone tripped over the refrigerator unit’s power cord and forgot to plug it back in. We’ll blame it on too much beer cheese.
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