Revolution
Friday, April 28, 2017 8:00 AM  RssIcon

Hamilton brought its best swag and swagger to this year’s PROMAT 2017 in Chicago, where more than 900 exhibitors gathered to press flesh and peep the latest innovations in manufacturing, distribution and supply chain magic. The big themes this year were autonomous vehicles, sustainability and, of course, the toughest casters and carts on the planet!

We had a lot of fun promoting a booth that buzzes with the Hamilton brand. Among the bright shiny objects we touted on the show floor: a Vegas-worthy display of casters and a mini-production floor overrun with remote-controlled, 3D-printed trailers. But perhaps the biggest hit was our Spinfinity™ prize wheel, which was custom-built for the show by our own Hamilton engineers. PROMAT attendees took free spins to win daily prizes that included a Fit Bit, a $100 REI Gift Card, Bose Wireless speakers and the grand prize, a 49” TV.


Congratulations to all our lucky winners:

  • Kyle Frain, Northbrook, IL
  • Darko Pinter, Cham, Germany
  • Robert Metzel, Indianapolis, IN
  • Tami Smith, Chicago, IL
  • Dennis Niska, Wheaton, IL
  • Jeremy Burmeister, Marysville, OH
  • Paul Mensonides, Bellingham, WA
  • Lou Dalgaard, Chicago, IL
  • Ernst-Jan Bakker, Hanover, MD
  • J. Kelly Bechtel, St. Louis, MO (grand prize winner)
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Thursday, April 27, 2017 7:57 AM  RssIcon

We’re always pumped to do our part for space travel. So when a major aerospace R&D company needed herculean casters to carefully move heavy repair machinery for wind tunnels, our engineers sprang into action. We custom-engineered special spring-loaded casters based on our Maxi-Duty Series platform with HPI Swivel Technology and triple-spring actuation to thrive under years of punishing wear and tear. Why spring loaded casters? They provide superior shock absorption for special cargo. They’re also quiet, easy on floors and perfect for extending caster, wheel and bearing life.

In other words, they’re gentle giants.


With a working load capacity of 7,500 lbs., (maximum load: 10,000 lbs.), these swivel casters are equipped with dual 12-inch diameter by 3-inch-wide DuraGlide polyurethane wheels with heavy duty, maintenance-free precision sealed ball bearings. The casters also feature 4 welded sockets conveniently positioned to accommodate a 1-1/2-inch steel rod for manual turning.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017 7:55 AM  RssIcon

In the world of heavy-duty manufacturing, space can sometimes be at a premium. And that’s okay, when you’ve got Hamilton custom carts on the case.

We recently helped a world leader in wire and coating haul heavy coils in tight spaces. The customer had previously been racking up costly bills using expensive semi-trailer trucks to move product across the street from one building to the other. They needed a more user-friendly, cost-effective way to get the job done 24/7. And because there was no room to turn the trailers, Hamilton designed a reversible train system that easily changes direction. Tongue couplers at both ends make it easy to attach and disconnect tuggers moving to and from the two buildings.


Toot, toot. All aboard that gravy train to better productivity.

Here are the tech specs:

  • Description: All Steel Reversible Four Wheel Steer Trailer
  • Capacity: 25,000 lbs.
  • Deck Size: 102" W x 168" L x 19-1/4” H
  • Deck Material: Diamond Tread Plate Steel
  • Steering Type: Four Wheel Steer
  • Running Gear: 8 dual mounted, 12" diameter x 4" wide Superlast® polyurethane wheels with tapered roller bearings
  • Couplers: Tongue at each end of train of 2 and permanently coupled, designed for reversible towing; tongue when not in use will stay in the upright position
  • Other:
    • Slots in the deck for McMaster-type hook straps
    • Reflectors around the edges and tail lights with plug in front to plug in lift truck
    • 12 McMaster-type hook down straps to fit in slots provided on the trailer
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017 7:54 AM  RssIcon

Giant infrastructure projects are a hot topic these days, and we couldn’t be happier. The desire to build bigger, further and stronger runs deep in our DNA. So while the White House continues to map out its $1 trillion infrastructure plan, we thought it might be fun to see how the rest of the world is building big.


From Norway’s plan to engineer the world’s first fully submerged floating tunnel to China’s 31- mile-long bridge linking three cities along the Pearl River Delta, here are some of the most ambitious mega construction projects that are shaping our world.

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Monday, April 24, 2017 7:43 AM  RssIcon

There are some things we don’t miss about the 80s: big hair, rotary phones, stone-washed jeans. But even today, few can resist the nostalgic rush of a Rubik’s Cube. This month, University of Michigan mechanical engineering students brought the beloved toy back in a big way by unveiling a 1,500-pound fully functional Rubik’s Cube, which they designed and built as part of a capstone senior design project.

At four feet square, it’s the world’s largest solvable mechanical stationary Rubik’s Cube and will serve as a permanent interactive art piece on campus. Students hatched the idea for a giant cube on Pi Day 2014. But scaling up a puzzle that normally fits and spins in your hand turned out to be trickier than anticipated for a few reasons. One, friction increases with size. Two, it’s apparently harder to solve the puzzle with brute force rather than muscle memory—keeping track of the necessary algorithms can be tougher when you-re throwing your entire weight into a spin.


It took two teams of mechanical engineering students three years to overcome issues of friction and grip by employing a setup of rollers and transfer bearings. The result is a thing of beauty, just like its original.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 3:07 PM  RssIcon

Foreign objects and debris, better known as FOD, are public enemy #1 on production floors. There’s nothing a caster hates more than having its smooth-gliding mojo halted by a smattering of nuts, bolts and other unwelcome randos.

That’s why we created a new Special Maxi-Duty Caster with Poly Guard. Equipped with a one-of-a-kind polyurethane brush, the caster clears away and prevents uninvited debris from embedding in its wheels as it rolls. The benefits? An uncompromised tread, a quieter ride and happier floors.

Hamilton recently designed this special caster—available on demand to our customers—for a large automotive company’s Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs). These particular AGVs run on rather curvaceous tracks, so we gave the wheels a crown tread to reduce the contact load area and keep them from veering off course. And, we spec’d our extra thick one-inch Duralast® polyurethane wheels mounted with special poly guards to literally stop FOD in their tracks.

Check out the specs:

  • Equipped with special polyurethane guards
  • Height: 11”
  • Swivel offset: 2 ½”
  • Mounting Plate: 8 ½” x 8 ½” with 7” x 7” bolt hole spacing for 5/8” bolts
  • Wheels: (2) W-831-DT-1-1/4-CROWN 1" thick 90-95 durometer polyurethane molded onto cast iron center with 1-1/4" tapered roller bearing, wheel has crowned tread
  • Rig finish - gray enamel

Got a floor that needs some heavy-duty power sweeping casters? Contact a Hamilton sales engineer.

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Monday, March 27, 2017 3:03 PM  RssIcon

Nothing says productivity plus like a trailer built to save money and human muscle. Case in point: This custom trailer we recently designed to haul large circulating water pump motors from warehouse to power plant.

Before

The customer had previously been using heavy timbers to mount and house the motors. Not only were the timbers cumbersome for crews to remove manually; the motors also required expensive crane rentals for transport. The customer was also keenly aware of how towing is safer than lifting with a crane, due to less inherent risk.

We designed a special square trailer that doubles as both storage platform and hauling hero. The motors can safely rest on Hamilton trailers until moving day—all that’s needed is a forklift hookup and they’re ready to roll. With an 80,000-pound capacity, the trailers also give the 54,000-pound motors plenty of breathing room. We also provided a hole in the truck’s center for the motor’s coupling to pass through. Added chain hooks keep cargo snug and secure on the decks.

After

Because, you know, safety first.

  • Model No. XT2889
  • Open frame double fifth wheel steer with lockouts
  • Capacity: 80,000 lbs
  • Deck Size: 120" wide x 120" long
  • Deck Material: open-frame
  • Steering Type: double fifth wheel steer with lockouts
  • Running Gear: eight dual mounted 22" diameter x 10" wide press-on polyurethane wheels with tapered roller bearings
  • Couplers: loop-type towing tongue at each end, each 26" high above the floor
  • Other- tie down rings, four total, one at each corner
  • Stenciling & Marking: "80,000 lbs capacity" stenciled on each side frame
  • Color: yellow epoxy finish
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Sunday, March 26, 2017 3:00 PM  RssIcon

Part Sherlock Holmes, part Erno Rubik, Hamilton engineers are the tireless problem solvers behind some of the toughest productivity tools on the planet. Some focus on casters and wheels while others play switch hitters with trucks and trailers, too. The common denominator? All are masters at custom solutions. We caught up with a few members of “The J team”, as we like to call them (because most of their names begin with the letter “J”), to ask what makes them tick, why they enjoy a challenge and who has the best hair.

At a high level, how do projects happen at Hamilton?

Jevon: Usually we’ll start with a sales person asking us “Can we do this?” If we say yes, which we do about 90 percent of the time, then we’ll give them a price quote and usually some sort of initial design. Sales will take that back to the customer, and we’ll receive a product order. That’s when we do the design, all the CAD work and drawings. Once we get approval from the customer, we deliver a final set of drawings.

Dave: Our sales team is really great about asking questions up front, but of course there’s a lot of back and forth in the follow up, consulting and advising, asking a lot of application questions before actual design begins.


From left to right: Julie Johnson, Jeff Spektor, Doug Reaver, Jevon Lambright, John Yater (Dave Lippert & Pat McCartney not shown)

What’s the most challenging part of the job?

Dave: There’s no precedent for many of our projects, so we spend a lot of time finding creative ways to solve problems—and still make things as economical and productive as possible.

Jeff: By nature, customers will always want things fast, cheap and custom. We can do one of those all day. But sometimes you have to explain to the customer that something they see in our catalog that’s spring-loaded in carbon steel isn’t going to work as well in, say, a stainless-steel version.

John: Most of us solve problems. I usually just create them (everyone laughs). The job is pretty challenging but that also makes it interesting. Anything can happen.

John and Pat, you’ve been with the company for a long time. How have things changed?

(John began his career with Hamilton straight out of high school 26 years ago rocking a blond mullet, while Pat is a 38-year veteran)

John: For one, I got a haircut. Second, when I first started we wouldn’t take on projects that were more than 20,000 lbs. Now high-capacity is our specialty.

Pat: All the welding was done by hand when I started. Now everything is CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines and robots.

Dave: (Deadpans) What you can’t see is that these guys are actually chained to their desks. We don’t let them leave.

Technical expertise aside, what do you think makes a good engineer?

Julie: Attention to detail.

Jeff: Patience.

Pat: Adapting and being able to wear different hats.

John: many of our engineers are also good experienced fabricators… with numerous fabricators supporting them on the production floor.

What do you think differentiates Hamilton?

Jevon: I’d say we’re the go-to company for special requests. We also do casters AND trucks. Most of the competition focuses on one or the other.

Jeff: We rarely say no. Most companies might cringe when the customer asks for a special, but we thrive on it. In fact, the more outlandish the request, the better. We have the expertise and the knowledge to see it through. (In a blind end-user study, Hamilton was ranked as being best known by customers for custom solutions.)

What’s a good example of a job that really showed our custom chops?

Jeff: Colossus was a massive project for us—and a perfect example of our core competencies in heavy custom engineered industrial products. Designing a custom 100,000-pound capacity caster was a challenge not only because it had to hold a tremendous amount of weight but because our client, a federal contractor, gave us very specific requirements. Everything had to have custom calculations—from the springs to the oscillating axle to the extreme-duty press-on tires.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017 2:59 PM  RssIcon

When we talk heavy lifting, it’s usually about Hamilton casters and wheels. But members of San Antonio’s Rambler Fitness Center know a thing or two about throwing their weight around.


Last month the fitness center—part of an Air Force military installation—offered membership to Department of Defense cardholders who can lift 100 tons in a single day. Out of the 48 attempts, 33 triumphed—on average within two to three hours. Now in its fifth year, the challenge attracts all ages, male and female, to conquer 100 tons of fun using either free weights or weight machines between the hours of 5am and 10pm.

Hey, 100 tons. That’s roughly the same capacity as our Colossus casters. Honorary membership?

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Friday, March 24, 2017 2:57 PM  RssIcon

At some point, you’ve probably peered out the window of a 737 and thought Wow. These wings are the only things that stand between me and my maker. Thankfully, the folks at Boeing are determined to keep us aloft more efficiently than ever.

The aerospace giant is beefing up production of its best-selling 737 commercial jet wings by using the Panel Assembly Line (PAL), a 20-foot tall robot that glides on tracks and assembles wing skins with cunning precision. At 60 tons, PAL is the brainchild of Washington-based Electroimpact and replaces a 1960s-era process of clamping, drilling and riveting together wings by hand.

Electroimpact designed PAL to join Boeing’s 45-foot-long wing panels together at twice the previous rate with lasers that follow the panel curvature. According to Boeing, the process increases production rates by 33 percent, cuts defects by 66 percent and injuries by 50 percent.

Now that’s what we call reinventing the assembly line.

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