Monday, July 25, 2016 10:59 AM  RssIcon

The world of casters is officially a safer place now that Hamilton’s new Ergo-X2 Caster Series has hit the market, bringing the final tricky issue with swivel casters to a halt: lockup. We’re conquering back injuries one pivot at a time by making it easier than ever for material handling operators to push and pull carts with confidence. Here’s why:

Swivel casters on carts normally have some offset—the horizontal distance between the centerline of the swivel and the wheel’s point of contact on the ground. When two or more swivel casters become misaligned as a cart comes to rest, a bind occurs when the cart operator tries to push it. In some cases, that bind can be significant—and unacceptable under strictly enforced ergonomic safety standards.

The Ergo-X2’s unique patented technology reduces these binding forces to get carts cruising again. Typical swivel assemblies in a caster only have one pivot point. The Ergo-X2 essentially provides a second pivot point—two precision machined ball races with the centerlines offset (traditional swivel bearing raceways share a centerline). Invisible from the exterior, this unique assembly gives the wheels more freedom to rock and roll like they were born to.

The release of the Ergo-X2 is particularly welcome news to safety managers hoping to prevent more push/pull workplace injuries, which cost employers more than $15 billion each year, according to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. Since its common for safety managers to demand that push/pull forces not exceed more than 40 pounds, the Ergo-X2 paired with one of Hamilton’s ergonomic poly treads is the safer way forward.

Check out the new Ergo-X2 Product Page and take them for a spin.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 10:57 AM  RssIcon

When a leading Wisconsin-based paper mill needed an overhaul of its outdated, 50,000-pound-lugging cradle dollies, Hamilton created a custom design to breathe new life into their paper trails. To get all the juicy details, we caught up with Matt Olson, Hamilton Director of Business Development for Carts and Trailers, who worked onsite at the mill during design and construction to make sure we carried our weight.

How did the project come about?

Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp., one of our key distributors who has a long-standing relationship with the mill, reached out to us. They wanted to make sure they used a manufacturer who could provide them with the kind of quality they were seeking.

What was the issue with the current trailers?

The mill had designed and built the trailers themselves about 30 or 40 years ago. Over the years, they required a lot of maintenance and modifications and had basically lived out their useful lives. They needed us to bring the trailers into the 21st century to transport these heavy rolls of paper.

How did you work together?

We worked with both parties at Wisconsin Lift’s request. We came onsite to get a good feel for what the mill needed. We reviewed their history and expectations together. Then we toured the plant to walk in the path of the old carts and spend some quality time together.

Were there any design challenges?

The old carts had a lot of exposed surfaces that could cause some safety issues. Clearance issues with doorways and overhead beams were also a factor, so we had to design the trailers low enough to hold the paper rolls. They also had a unique hitch mechanism that connects the trailer to its towing vehicle, so we had to design for that, as well.

What’s the most unique thing about the trailers?

The size and capacity of the 15-foot-long trailers is remarkable. They have to carry these 50,000-pound rolls of paper, each of which is 110 inches in diameter. Each roll needs to be supported by just two cradles—one on each end of the trailer.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016 10:35 AM  RssIcon

Go big or go home. That’s our philosophy. If mastodon-sized is wrong, we don’t want to be right. So you can imagine our excitement when we came across this video mash-up of five insane monster machines (Links to: that are revolutionizing how the world gets built. Here’s a quick rundown of their colossal credits:

  • Bucket Wheel Excavator. At more than 30 stories tall, this leviathan of German engineering is the tallest land vehicle in the world and can literally move mountains—up to 240K tons of rocks a day.
  • Segmental Bridge Launcher. At 580 tons and 300 feet wide, this behemoth launches across an existing bridge, hooks onto a pillar, moves forward to span the next pillar and rolls its next pre-cast segment into place. Watch as it skillfully snakes its way through China’s countryside.
  • Tunnel Boring Machine. Aptly nicknamed ‘Big Bertha’, this little lady grinds tunnels for the Washington State Department of Transportation and is the world’s biggest drill of her kind, weighing in at 6,700 tons and rising five stories tall.
  • Tree Harvester. This Ponsse Beaver beast effortlessly tears through the forest like a mythical giant, grabbing trees by their base, shaving their limbs and hacking them into toothpicks in 20 seconds flat.
  • Road Printer. It runs entirely on electricity and uniformly prints out 500 meters of pristine road a day. Workers insert bricks vertically into a pasta machine-like press that spits out one meticulously crafted path in its wake.

The bigger they come, the harder we fall in love.

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Friday, July 22, 2016 10:56 AM  RssIcon

There are moments when some of us here at Hamilton Caster dream about a future where we can control all our factory floor inventory by drone. The urge usually strikes when it’s about 80 degrees and sunny out…

Until that day comes, we’re happy to leave the drone capabilities to the good guys at NATO, who have acquired five new Global Hawk surveillance drones to be their eyes in the sky. The Hawks can travel by rain, sleet, hail, or snow at high-altitudes and will provide real-time surveillance to protect our ground forces and border and maritime security.

Watch as these sleek spotters travel at speeds of up to 310 knots.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016 10:56 AM  RssIcon

We love it when the industries we serve go the extra mile to stay competitive, and that’s exactly what Ford is doing to battle the car manufacturer’s modern-day dilemma: In a world where camera phones are king, how do you road test tomorrow’s vehicles today without revealing all your secrets in plain sight?

The answer: A little camo goes a long way.

To ensure nobody peeps their latest and greatest designs before their time, Ford plasters its prototypes with lightweight camouflage stickers before sending them out for testing on public streets. The vinyl patterns use optical illusions to trick the eye and hide body lines, thereby helping to outsmart the leering lens of spy photographers everywhere. And since they’re lightweight, they allow for more accurate aerodynamic testing. Stickers are applied by hand and attached with Velcro closures for easy access.

All this disguise talk makes us want to decal our latest caster designs.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016 1:47 PM  RssIcon

We like monster trucks - tough, durable, massive - just like Hamilton. So when our Ben Wilson suggested these casters resemble monster truck trophies, we had some fun with PhotoShop.

Hamilton is no stranger to custom engineered solutions so we didn’t flinch when a Pennsylvania distributor presented the following requirements: 1) 25,000 lbs. load capacity per caster, 2) 400° F oven, and 3) suitable for a blast booth environment. The customer also requested rigid casters to minimize the number of moving parts.

So we’ve got a heavy load, high heat, and a nasty environment. Let’s go.

The 25,000 lbs. rated EMD2 high heat casters assembled by Ben Wilson.

Hamilton engineers first selected Hamilton’s Enhanced Max-Duty Series (EMD2) platform providing a mounting plate measuring 8-1/2” x 8-1/2”. The EMD2 Series mounting plate is ½” thick and the legs are ¾” thick plate steel.

For the wheels, engineering selected 4140 HT high alloy steel blanks with a tensile strength of 153 KSI. Hamilton CNC-machined the blanks down to a finished size of 10" x 3".

Special composite self-lubricating bearings were then spec’d providing low thermal expansion and low coefficient of friction. The massive wheels and rigs were zinc plated to provide additional corrosion resistance for the extreme environment.

Due to the ever increasing request for high heat applications, Hamilton will be introducing a complete line of standard high heat casters and wheels with diameters ranging from 3” -12” and high heat loads up to 25,000 lbs. The series will feature a new high heat wheel lineup of nylon, silicone rubber, stainless, and forged steel.

Bring the heat! Hamilton can handle it. Contact Jim Lippert with your high heat challenge.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 1:44 PM  RssIcon

A locomotive repair campus needed industrial trailers to assist with the distribution of parts. The large Midwestern campus featured many buildings, connected by roadways in various stages of disrepair and some gravel pathways. Repair parts arrived at one building, and then were transported to different buildings where they were needed.

Being a locomotive repair campus, there were multiple rail crossings to negotiate, along with the gravel pathways and other roadway conditions. Working closely with Hamilton engineers, the customer communicated the environmental challenges, the intended usage, and the variety of load sizes and weights. The proposed design incorporated a unique running gear system, robust wheels, a wood deck, and a substantial steel frame.

Hamilton provided special torsion type axles that afforded 3” of vertical travel. When coupled with heavy duty reinforced 19” diameter pneumatic wheels, encountering rail crossings was not a problem, even with full 5,000 lbs. loads.

These torsion-type axles provide 3” of vertical travel for traversing railroad tracks.

A spacious 50” wide by 150” long deck provided more than ample space for the many loads. The deck surface was wood to minimize load slippage during travel.

The customer planned to tow five trailers in a train, so Hamilton engineered plenty of strength into the trailer including central longitudinal frame members. Rear axle location optimized stability and turning. Simple but stout forged steel loops on the tongues and pintle hitches on the rear made trailer towing easy and safe.

Interestingly, the department using the five trailers had to guard against others on campus confiscating them for their use. Not intending to promote campus rivalry, Hamilton calmly suggested new trailers for the others as well.

For dependable performance, outstanding longevity, and engineering to match the application, contact Hamilton.

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Monday, June 27, 2016 1:28 PM  RssIcon

At Hamilton, we know something about rolling resistance and wheels.

So let’s imagine you are the dad of a boy scout participating in a Pinewood Derby competition. Let’s also say you are an engineer with a particular ego problem – you can’t stand losing. Put aside for the moment the reality that your boy scout son will probably not be a part of winning the race.

The proven winning formula relies totally on physics. Transfer the maximum potential energy into the maximum kinetic energy, and voila’ – the trophy (monster-truck? No. but a trophy nonetheless).

Start with the maximum potential energy. The rules limit the overall weight, but don’t sacrifice even one microgram. The center of gravity must be near the rear of the car, which will increase the potential energy. Keep it about 1” in front of the rear axle, which tests have proven to be the ideal location.

During the race, when cars reach the bottom of the ramp and transition to the level portion, your car will still accelerate for a fraction of time that it’s center of gravity is still moving down, translating into increased speed. The competition will begin slowing since it exhausted the benefit of higher center of gravity earlier. This is the single biggest winning factor.

Next, if legal, trim the wheels on your car to make them narrow and lightweight. The lighter the wheels, the less rotational energy they will use which increases the available kinetic energy for speed. The potential energy at the start of the race turns into rotational energy of the wheels, speed, and friction losses. Minimize the rotational energy with lighter wheels.

The top six parameters in rank order and their impact on the race by car length. Source

Third, reduce air friction by employing an aerodynamic shape. No wind tunnel required here – a basic pointy wedge works just fine.

Polish the axles to further reduce friction. Finesse this advantage by very slightly bending the axles and make the rear wheels ride on the inner edges. Set one front wheel so it’s not even on the track!

Finally, adjust the remaining front wheel to steer very slightly into the center rail of the racetrack, and ride on its outer edge. (This is called “railriding” for the true experts.) Finally, liberally apply graphite to the wheels and axles.

If this is still too much work, and you are in for the easy win, simply install a small canted CO2 cartridge in your basic pinewood derby block and use rocket propulsion to literally blow away the competition. But warning: this breaks the rules!

Learn more details and the source of much of this cool data here or checkout his 40 mph rocket propelled pinewood car.

If you can’t get enough, check out our white paper on Rolling Resistance and Industrial Wheels.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016 1:25 PM  RssIcon

For the next generation 777, engineers at General Electric are working behind the scenes on the world’s largest jet engine—the GE 9X. The Boeing 777, which happens to be the world’s largest twinjet, seats up to 400 passengers and has a flying range of 9,500 nautical miles. It takes tremendous thrust to lift 775,000 lbs. off the ground and fly it half way around the world. That's significant because the fan diameter is 11 feet and it turns at 2,500 rpms when cruising.

While these specs are incredible to ponder, the real innovation is occurring in the manufacturing processes and advanced materials. The new engine’s fuel nozzles are production 3D printed. The sixteen fan blades are of fourth generation carbon fiber, reducing fan weight by 15%.

The hotter an engine can run, the more efficiently it produces thrust. GE engineers developed ultra-heat resistant parts called ceramic-matrix components (CMCs) which can withstand temperatures up to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. (Our high heat casters peak out at 800° F.) These CMC components must survive inside the combustor and the turbine where the powerful thrust is generated. Engine geeks will appreciate the GE 9X’s compression ratio of 27: 1 vs the highest commercial automotive engine at 14:1 (and most are between 10:1 and 12:1.)

Check out the embedded link showing the first test of this engine. And note the size of the concrete blocks that support the structure holding the engine during testing. Each generation of engine requires more reinforcement of this test stand.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016 1:21 PM  RssIcon

Back by popular demand, the Hamilton 2017 Pocket Calendar coveted by many will be shipping out this December.

It’s been a long tradition that we mail out pocket calendars to our distribution network and customers. But we changed our gift premium in 2014 and heard back from many of our distributor friends that you still wanted the calendar.

This year if you'd like to receive a 2017 pocket calendar please pre-order here to get on the list for the December shipment.

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