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Friday, January 29, 2016 8:52 AM  RssIcon

Ford’s “Go Further” motto not only reflects its supercharged attitude, but the automaker’s bold new trade show look.

Enormous, caster-driven video walls dazzled Detroit Auto Show guests at Ford’s main exhibit. Hamilton’s Maxi-Duty wheels guided the 30 by 60-foot screens, designed by award-winning design and manufacturing firm, Mannetron in collaboration with EWI Worldwide.

“Ford wanted a showstopper,” said Peter Jungen, engineering and design manager at Mannetron. “Typically, these screens run on tracks. But that wasn’t an option because Ford wanted something clean that wouldn’t detract from the experience.”

A combination of magnetic tape, sensors, Hamilton muscle and wicked-smart engineering made it possible.

“The screens moved on a pre-determined path set by a computer,” said Jungen. “The sensors, mounted on the wheels, picked up the magnetic tape and guided the screens back and forth with the help of an autonomous vehicle.”

In synch with Maxi-Duty

The Maxi-Duty wheels provided ample capacity to tote the 16,000-pound screens, which played video, images and visual effects to synch up with the cars on display.

For example, attendees could snap their pictures in the driver’s seat of a Mustang and have their mugs featured on the big screen. The video walls would then converge on each other like a curtain, revealing more of the photo mosaic by the inch.

Because guests could move freely about the exhibit, safety was a prime concern for Mannetron.

“We built in sensors that would detect if someone were nearby,” he said. “If they got too close, the whole thing would stop moving. We even built in logic to prevent someone from jumping in between the walls right before they closed together.”

Miss the exhibit? No worries. Ford plans to use the display for at least the seven years, which gives you plenty of time to scope out some pretty cool cars, and even cooler caster wheels.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016 8:31 AM  RssIcon

The older you get, the more excited you are about giving gifts than receiving them. That’s how we feel every time we load a custom trailer onto a flatbed truck.

All the hard work and sweating the small stuff led up to this moment. Now the trailer our engineers and factory technicians worked on for weeks – sometimes months – is about to journey off. And hopefully exceed our customers’ expectations.

It’s a special feeling. And yeah, we’re getting gushy. But we hope you feel the energy through these photos. We take a lot of pride in what we do, and want to share it with you.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 8:25 AM  RssIcon

NASA expected the Opportunity Rover to last 90 days. Nearly 12 years later, it’s still roaming the red planet. But the mission was nearly scrubbed, had it not been for the engineers visiting the Dark Room.

Aerospace engineer and author Adam Steltzner writes:

When you are solving a problem, you might find yourself stuck with no viable solution in sight. I call this place the Dark Room. It is a terrifying mental state, especially if you are on a timeline with an unmovable product debut date.

The problem he refers to? A fatal flaw with the Rover’s air bags. Because NASA borrowed a design from the 1997 Pathfinder craft, the team didn’t test them until a year from launch.

As Murphy’s law would have it, rocks shredded the air bags. And none of the team’s solutions could patch the issue. Enter the Dark Room.

There is a virtue in staying in the Dark Room until you completely surrender—not give up but completely surrender your ego, and stop trying to force the existing solution. That’s when a breakthrough occurs… you’re so completely drained and empty that you’re wide open to it, devoid of all prior notions, completely receptive. It’s the perfect blend of the conscious and subconscious minds working together.

After almost a year in the figurative darkness, he and his found a solution.

We emerged from the Dark Room triumphant that time. But you never know when you’ll be back in it again. It never gets less terrifying. Today when I’m confronted by the confounding uncertainty and stress of a seemingly intractable problem, I tell my teams, “Just keep working, and if death comes to visit us, let us be surprised.” Where there is will and ingenuity, there has always been a way.

Next time you reach an innovation road block? Head to the Dark Room. We know we will.

Read more on LinkedIn.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016 8:24 AM  RssIcon

The world’s largest solar plant won’t fully power Morocco until 2020, but its half-million glistening mirrors are already visible from space.

The Noor 1 CSP plant is under construction deep in the Sahara Desert – a logical destination given it’s virtually always sunny and cloud-free.

When complete, the 6,178-acre plant will generate 580 megawatts and earn the title as largest concentrated solar power plant.

By comparison, that’s nearly double the energy output of the Solana Generating Station (280 megawatts), the top solar plant in the United States.

Originally, the Noor 1 CSP was set to supply power to European countries via cables through the Strait of Gibraltar. But when key investors pulled out, the Moroccan government stepped in.

The mega plant is projected to power a million homes, or about half the country.

Source: Gizmodo

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Monday, January 25, 2016 8:21 AM  RssIcon

Global travel is on the up and up. And Hamilton is helping airplane manufacturers keep up with sky-high demand

Hamilton’s maintenance-free casters help them reduce downtime, cut repair costs and keep up with a nearly endless stream of orders.

In 2015 Boeing delivered 762 airplanes – the most in its 99-year history.

"Global passenger traffic in most key regions is increasing," said Randy Tinsethm, VP of Marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Our customers continue to perform well in the marketplace and we'll continue to support them with the industry's best products and services."

Nearly 5,800 orders went unfilled by Boeing last year, which means the company has its work cut out for it as airliners continue to add new planes to their fleets.

On that note, we’re going to need more casters. We wouldn’t want anything coming between you and the Siesta Keys this spring!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015 4:38 PM  RssIcon

Ergonomists, meet Swivel Squared Technology.

The new design significantly reduces the force needed to push or pull carts, and prevents one of the most common issues with swivel casters: lock up.

“It prevents one of the most common issues with swivel casters: lock up.”

“Swivel casters tend to lock up during tight turns or sudden changes in direction,” said Jeff Spektor, chief engineer at Hamilton Caster. “One or more casters becomes misaligned, and it takes a hefty amount of force to reposition the trailer. That’s where injuries happen.”

Hamilton’s new technology features offsetting ball races, or “kingpins,” to ensure the casters stay pointed in the intended direction.

End users that must adhere to strict ergonomic standards, like automotive and aerospace manufacturers, will find Swivel Squared Technology especially useful.

“Nowadays it’s common for companies to demand that push/pull forces not exceed more than 40 pounds,” said Spektor. “Swivel Squared Technology is the solution.”

We’ll keep you updated in early 2016 with an official release date. For now, it’s currently being tested at several major auto manufacturers, who have already reported to us positive results.

Feeling brave? Read the full patent here – all 5,490 words of it.

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Monday, December 21, 2015 4:31 PM  RssIcon

As we forge ahead into 2016, we look back on this year’s milestones – from colossal and maintenance-free casters to the new website you helped us build.

And, of course, much more. From all of us at Hamilton. Thanks for your feedback, and for your continued to support. We look forward to an even busier 2016.

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Sunday, December 20, 2015 4:19 PM  RssIcon

Space junkies, have we got a flick for you. No, not that one set in a galaxy far, far away. Instead, gorgeous, unprocessed footage from the Apollo missions that will make you feel like you’re about to make one giant step for mankind.

The Lunar Module at 2:30 is currently riding on our casters at the Smithsonian while the museum undergoes construction.

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Saturday, December 19, 2015 4:12 PM  RssIcon

Whether you design viaducts, sell casters or run a turkey farm, expressing gratitude to those who help you get the job done can go a long way.

But before you fire off another “thank you” email, consider pen and paper to make a lasting impression. And more importantly, one that breaks through the digital noise.

The Harvard Business Review offers up fantastic advice on how to thank people in your business network.

When it comes to hand-written notes, author Evan Baehr suggests being specific on why you’re thanking them, show how they made an impact on you, avoid using generic adjectives, and make it personal.

For example, “Dear Vince. Thanks for meeting with us. You have an amazing story and we really enjoyed the tour. We hope to work with you in the future.”

While the intentions might be pure, this is the kind of “thank you” note we’re all familiar with. It’s cold and forgettable.

Instead, try this.

“Dear Vince. Thank you for meeting with Wheely Great Casters. We were so impressed by your organic greenhouse. Who knew 16 varieties of lettuce existed, and you can grow them year round? We look forward to the opportunity to make your operation even more efficient with mobile plant beds.

PS. Thanks for the tip about rhubarb! My wife already put it to good use and made one heck of a pie.”

This is the kind of note a sales prospect will remember. It shows that you listened, remembered the specifics, and you’re eager to solve a problem.

For more tips, see the full blog post.

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Friday, December 18, 2015 4:09 PM  RssIcon

SpaceX is one of Earth’s exciting companies. Next year it plans to tote astronauts to and from the International Space Station with the first reusable space taxi. And by 2026, it plans to put humans on Mars.

Over on the company’s Flickr page, you can witness SpaceX make history with a bevy of stunning, behind-the-scenes shots.

One of the most popular images – the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft being hurled into milky night via Cape Canaveral – was named Flickr’s top image of 2015.

Congratulations to SpaceX. We look forward to watching your journey unfold, one epic photo at a time.

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