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.
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.
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