With Hamilton on the assembly line, one of the world’s biggest automakers churns out nearly 400 pickup trucks a day, five days a week.
But productivity at the Michigan-based plant hasn’t always been this high.
“Before switching to Hamilton in 2012, casters broke down on a weekly basis,” said Steve Chittick, outside sales rep for E&R Industrial. “It only took one to stop the whole operation in its tracks.”
Inside the factory, casters roll carriers that house pickup truck frames. As they move down the production line, workers add axles, shocks, mufflers and all the internal framework.
“When the plant manager asked me for a solution, I thought of Hamilton because they’re known for their durability,” said Chittick. “Sure enough, not a single caster has failed.”
In 2012, the manufacturer produced more than 150,000 vehicles. With numbers that high, there’s a good chance the truck you’re driving was built on Hamilton’s forged steel swivel casters.
When severe back strains and shoulder injuries plagued workers at a frozen food plant, safety manager Ed Coleman prescribed a hefty dose of Hamilton.
“We had people suffering the kinds of injuries that can ruin careers,” said Coleman. “You could look at someone trying to move 1,150-lb. racks of fried chicken and know the body isn’t supposed to bend that way.”
At first, he and his team tried cart caddies, but those failed in the tight spaces inside the plant. That’s when they sought out new casters and wheels.
“We tried half a dozen different casters and wheels. Hamilton’s Polylast™ wheels outperformed them all,” he said. “They only took 10 lbs. of force to move our enormous racks. And our guys could do it standing up without contortionist moves.”
To solve the ergonomic woes for one of the largest food manufacturers in America, Hamilton’s Marty Wilson flew to Arkansas.
“You never want to see people hurt,” said Wilson. “At that point, it’s more just about finding a caster. It’s about putting people back to work.”
Since switching to Hamilton 7 years ago, musculoskeletal injuries decreased by 100% at the factory. And for some employees with non-work-related injuries, Hamilton prescribed specialized wheels that required even less force to move.
When news of the plant’s success spread, industries of all stripes came calling.
“We had other food manufacturers and all sorts of industries – even hospitals – call us,” said Coleman. “They had similar problems, and we had the answer. Hamilton.”
Do you know a manufacturer that needs a Hamilton ergonomic intervention? Call Marty Wilson at 888.435.1489.
While we’re always improving our lean manufacturing process, it’s always satisfying when our products help our customers do the same.
With the help of 68 custom Hamilton trailers, a major engine manufacturer revved up production and cut waste on the assembly line. Check out our latest case study for all the details.
What began as a simple wheel order spawned into a new Hamilton innovation when our engineering manager, Jeff Spektor, realized a fresh design could save a major aerospace supplier big bucks – and headaches.
“When I saw what the customer needed, I knew a standard wheel wouldn’t work,” he said. “So we came up with a unique design that exceeded the customer’s expectations – an all-stainless steel caster with inline wheels.”
Several factors made this job unique, especially the federal regulations for the room where our casters are used. Everything inside the clean-room environment, including our casters, must adhere to strict standards so nothing damages the sensitive (and top-secret) equipment being tested.
That’s why we chose an ultra durable, high-grade stainless steel (316L) that has superior corrosion and pitting resistance, and performs extremely well under continuous use. 316L contains less carbon than industry-standard 303 or 304 stainless steel and we avoid contamination during the welding process.
Unlike a dual-wheel caster that features wheels side by side, this caster, rated up to 15,500 lbs., runs with back-to-back wheels that support each other. It rolls on rails that presented a special set of challenges that we overcame.
For example, when the first wheel goes over a small hump on the tracks, the back wheel stays on the ground to keep the load completely flat. See the illustration below to better understand how they work:
Whether you need a custom caster for a unique application, or something more standard, Hamilton can solve any material-handling problem. Let’s talk. Call or email Jim Lippert, vice president of sales, 1-800-733-7655.
We told you how Hamilton moves airplanes. Now we’re flapping our caster wings to help haul helicopters for the U.S Border Patrol, FBI, NYPD and more.
Riding on Hamilton casters, Main Line Helicopter dollies allow a single person to move a 15,000-lb. chopper from a hanger to a landing pad – a must for emergency personnel who need to go airborne in a hurry.
For example, before Border Patrol agents begin a reconnaissance mission, they roll out a McDonnell Douglas MD 600 N helicopter on Hamilton-powered skids, called Helicopter Handlers.
“We wouldn’t use anything but Hamilton casters on Helicopter Handlers,” said Jacques Guequierre, president of Main Line Helicopter, whose company has used our running gear exclusively for more than 40 years.
Law enforcement and government agencies in the United States, Canada, Taiwan, Mexico, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates take flight with Main Line Helicopter and Hamilton. Here are just a few:
Do you have a memorable Hamilton sale or application story you’d like to share with us? We'd love to hear from you. Email Mark Lippert, Hamilton’s vice president of marketing.
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