Friday, December 01, 2017 8:00 AM  RssIcon

Roll with it. That phrase applies in more ways than one to a recent custom application we created for a Canadian design firm.

Roll with the challenges.
The end customer—an oil refinery—needed to upgrade its 30,000 lb. trolleys to accommodate a much larger load of heat exchangers. Since part of the application path ran outdoors, we needed to ensure a smooth ride. And to make things even more interesting, the trolley had to roll on steel gauge rails the size of train tracks. Normally, we would have added more casters underneath the trolley bed to distribute the load evenly (the advantage of doing more casters is you can use smaller wheels). But we didn’t have the clearance underneath because the heat exchangers occupied that space. Twist our arm…we needed to create bigger wheels.

Roll big or go home.
Of course, we could have gone with four humongous wheels. But we got creative and came up with a unique flanged inline dual-wheel design. Unlike a dual-wheel caster that features wheels side by side, this caster, rated up to 95,000 lbs., runs with back-to-back wheels that support each other. Not only does the giant load roll smoothly on the tracks, but it stays level on the uneven outdoor track.

Watching our team assemble these truly immense casters was like being front and center at an industrialized sumo wrestling match. It was a truly championship display of brute strength, complete with cranes, torque wrenches, sledge hammers and mallets.

Muscle, hustle and ingenuity. That’s how we roll.

Check out these winning specs:

  • Description: Special Flanged In-Line Caster
  • Capacity: 95,000 pounds when used on ASCE 60 lb. rail at speeds of 1 MPH or less
  • Running Gear: 2 each, 16" x 3-5/8" Single Flanged Track
  • Wheel diameter: 17.5”
  • Mounting plate: 14” W x 20” L x 1.5” thick

Whether you need a custom caster for a unique application, or something more standard, Hamilton can solve any material-handling challenge. Let’s talk.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017 3:02 PM  RssIcon

We apply a colorful strip of thin lacquer to a bolted connection to indicate it has been torqued to the proper value giving the desired preload. Once cured, the stripe stays pliable under extreme temperatures and vibrations. If the stripe separates, you know the bolted connection has moved, reducing the preload—and it’s time for another tightening.

That’s because we offer torque striping on demand as an added safety feature. You’ll find torque striping on applications such as large tractor engines and mission aerospace equipment. Think of it like a wax seal of safety for industrial use.

We apply a colorful strip of thin lacquer to a bolt/nut to indicate it has been torqued to the proper value. Once cured, the stripe stays pliable under extreme temperatures and vibrations. If the stripe moves or separates, you know the bolt has come loose or been compromised in some way—and it’s time for another tightening.

That means no more wasted time checking bolt torques during inspection. Torque striping is a secure, visual indication that things are tight and right.

Got questions about torque striping? Feel free to email John Yater.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017 3:07 PM  RssIcon

As a company that uses large-format CNC routers in our own operations, we were pretty excited to come across this inexpensive yet powerful CNC router for home use. Called Maslow, it’s a large (4’ x 8’) automated cutting machine that uses digitally generated designs to cut objects out of wood with extreme precision—everything from furniture and kayaks to a tiny tree house.

Bringing open source CNC routers to the masses is a breakthrough move, since CNCs for home use have typically been elusive and expensive. The creators, Hannah Teagle and Bar Smith, developed Maslow through an initial Kickstarter campaign, with the goal of delivering a CNC that could fit in a one car garage, cost under $500 and be cheap and easy to ship. Maslow uses gear-reduced DC motors with encoders and a closed-loop feedback system to achieve high accuracy and high torque.

Want to reserve your very own Maslow?

Put yourself on the waitlist now.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017 3:08 PM  RssIcon

While the dust settles off our carb-induced Thanksgiving comas, we’d like to show our gratitude for a winning year in manufacturing. Not only will 2017 be Hamilton’s best year ever in topline growth; it’s also the year that this vital but behind-the-scenes industry hit its stride in many ways, thanks to steady global economic growth, an uptick in energy and other commodity prices and heightened business confidence.

Several industries are feeling the progress—from bulldozers to semiconductors to food products, according to this recent Wall Street Journal article. U.S. manufacturers have added 156,000 workers over the last year, and companies are investing more in plants and equipment to increase productivity. Why the bump? Experts believe we can thank shrinking wage differentials between U.S. and foreign workers, rapid technological advancements and a business-friendly president in the White House.

So to continue the love, here are five more things we’re thankful for here at Hamilton:

  • Employees who focus on solutions and always give their all
  • A business buoyed by four family generations
  • American-made products
  • Customers who constantly challenge and inspire us to be better
  • The support and love of family and friends

Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017 holiday season.

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Monday, November 27, 2017 3:13 PM  RssIcon

Our VP of Marketing, Mark Lippert, recently attended a marketing leadership forum in California that was all about marketing trends. It was good stuff, so we thought we’d pass along a particularly useful nugget here.

It seems the traditional sales funnel we all know is dead. The good news is that it’s been replaced by a circle of continuous customer engagement—with infinite opportunities to influence and deepen brand loyalty.

The old way
Once upon a time, marketers used the “sales funnel” approach to reach consumers at the most influential moments in their purchasing decisions. At the “top” of the funnel, marketers cast a wide net of awareness about their brand to the broadest group possible—and then funneled interested consumers through a series of strategic moments of truth to convert them. It was very linear.

But digital marketing has disrupted these moments of truth, forever changing the way people research and buy products. 70% of consumers now use product reviews to make purchases, for example. And 79% of consumers use a smart phone to help them make product decisions way before they even engage a brick and mortar business or e-tailer.

The new way
The consumer journey is now cyclical and infinite because today’s customers are still often actively engaged with the brand—as well as their friends and peers—after they’ve bought a product or service using social media and the Web.

Source: Influence 2.0 – Altimeter, TopRank Marketing

What does it all mean? It means marketers need to manage all touchpoints of the customer experience—from their online and offline presence to the post-purchase experience (e.g. loyalty programs). It means marketers need to listen to their customers. Know them. Study them. Anticipate and meet their needs. Design programs that matter to them. Make every interaction count.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017 7:50 AM  RssIcon

What? You’ve ground down your night guard wondering what kind of game-changing innovation we’re introducing this month? Relax that jaw. The wait is over.

Hamilton is proud to introduce our new Powder Paint Coating System. To understand exactly what this means for the future of caster excellence, let’s reference our clues from our August teaser:

“It will become a standard practice in our caster manufacturing.”
Starting now, all Hamilton forged steel casters come powder painted fresh out of our factory. If you’ve received casters from us in the last few weeks, you know what we mean firsthand. (Note: our medium and light duty casters will remain zinc-plated).

“It will make our products exponentially more durable.”
This is the big sell, really. Powder coating is much more durable than spray enamel. It’s also less prone to erosion, impervious to tough chemicals and can withstand tough weather conditions.

“It’s going to look pretty slick.”
Our powder paint comes in two eye-catching colors. Goodbye dull, battleship gray. Hello, sleek metallic platinum powder. Hello, gorgeous Hamilton Red.

“It’s environmentally friendly.”
No harmful VOCs or solvents are released during the making of our powder paint creations. It’s EPA-safe for air and water pollution, too. Fun fact: U.S. powder paint suppliers have been moving away from TGIC polyester powder paint formulas over the last decade. The replacement curing chemistry uses HAA, hydroxyalkylamides, to cross-link the polyester during the curing phase (and HAA is what you’ll find in all Hamilton powder painted casters). TGIC, which stands for triglycidyl isocyanurate, is a nasty chemical. Like asbestos, it’s only bad if you stir it up. And when you do, it’s been reported to cause, among other things, “testicular atrophy” in men. So, yeah, banning TGIC from our powder paint products was the easiest decision we’ve ever had to make for our workers.

Did we mention how many grandchildren we Hamiltonians have?

Experience the Powder Paint difference now.

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Monday, October 30, 2017 7:48 AM  RssIcon

If you know the trippy movie Inception, you know that the characters carry totems to make sure they don’t stumble into another character’s dream. One character’s totem is a weighted red die. Another is a spinning tractricoid. Only the totem’s owner knows its distinct weight, balance and feel. If they get caught into someone else’s dream, the totem will feel slightly off in their hands (and the bad guys win).

Why are we babbling about totems? Because we recently produced a custom truck designed to transport a 10,000-pound totem, that’s why. A global satellite provider needed an application to transport proof masses—large metal pieces with known weights used to calibrate instruments.

Mouseover to enlarge. Dolly shown in its casters removed state. Casters can be seen separately in the background

With four swivel casters featuring Ergo-Glide mold on polyurethane wheels, this truck repels foreign objects and debris with quiet vigilance. The caster assemblies are removable so the deck can be stored without putting weight on the casters. Simply jack it up, remove the casters, set it back down, and it’s sleepy time until the next totem ride.

Can you imagine the kind of dreams this truck has? Huge!

Here are the tech specs:

  • Description: Proof mass transport dolly
  • Capacity: 10,000 pounds
  • Deck Size: 110" wide x 135" long
  • Deck Height: Approximately 13"
  • Deck Material: Smooth steel
  • Steering Type: Swivel caster style
  • Running Gear: 4 swivel casters with position locks and 10" diameter Ergo Glide mold-on polyurethane wheels fitted with precision ball bearings. Casters to be mounted on outriggers that are bolted to the side of the dolly frame.
  • Superstructure: None
  • Couplers: Pusher bracket mounting assemblies welded on both front and rear end frames
  • Other:
    • Lifting rings at all 4 corners - to lift empty dolly only
    • 12 tie down rings - 4 on each side frame and 2 on each end frame
    • 4 bolt-on hand operated jacks
    • Side entry fork guides
    • 8 holes in deck with weld nuts on the underside to allow use of 3/4" bolts
  • Finish: Safety yellow epoxy
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Sunday, October 29, 2017 7:47 AM  RssIcon

The next time you’re on a flight and a weird noise makes you contemplate the maintenance performed on your plane, remember this time-lapse video from Virgin Atlantic. It depicts six highly skilled engineers replacing and installing a new Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engine in just 24 hours. It took three separate shifts to pull off this incredible feat before the Airbus A340-600 jet airliner casually taxied out of its London Heathrow hangar and took flight across the Atlantic.

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled blog to nerd out on the features of a Rolls-Royce aero engine:

  • The high-pressure turbine blades each generate approximately 900 horsepower, equivalent to a Formula One car
  • A fan blade can create 1,000 tons of force—same as a freight train hanging from each blade
  • Some Rolls-Royce engines are known to last 40,000 hours before their first overhaul

Okay, we’re back. Don’t you just love to fly?

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Saturday, October 28, 2017 7:44 AM  RssIcon

These days, computer aided design (CAD) is making it easier than ever for manufacturers to drive innovation, value and longevity. But just how did computer modeling develop?

Not unlike the history of the computer, according to this cool History of CAD infographic from our friends at CADENAS PARTsolutions. Although CAD was introduced by Patrick Hanratty in 1957, it took 30 years for pencil and paper to fully go the way of the drafting caveman. Highlights throughout the years include the release of AutoCAD in the 80s, the release of SolidWorks in 1995 and the release in 2015 of Onshape, the first completely cloud based CAD system.

In case you didn’t know, all standard Hamilton casters and wheels come with free downloadable CAD models to integrate with your designs. If you don’t see what you need, our team can help you work on custom engineered applications.

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Friday, October 27, 2017 7:40 AM  RssIcon

They say choosing your Halloween costume is a bit like choosing your alter-ego. If that’s true, then be afraid—be very afraid—of these Hamilton employee photos from Halloweens past.

Clockwise from top left:

VP of Sales Jim Lippert channels his inner Freddy Kruger as he prepares to pounce on an unsuspecting Frankie Tinsley, then production control. She’s now retired. Coincidence?

Ghosts and superhero costumes? That stuff’s for amateurs. Mechanical Design Engineer Jevon Lambright spent his early trick-or-treating days extracting coal as both a miner and a minor.

Director of Business Development Marty Wilson has become a much better dresser since his early days as a cigar-smoking hobo.

Purchasing’s Bernie Warren threatens to take down Senior Engineer Jeff Spektor if he doesn’t finish his design drawings by 5PM.

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