Moving heavy loads from location to location is important in many industries and niches. Fortunately, despite the inherent risks that come from moving loads weighing multiple tons, it’s possible to improve production and decrease the risk of injury by choosing the right caster wheels on carts and racks. TWERGO® casters have been proven to reduce initial push force by 43% on average, allowing one person to move as much as 5000 pounds.
We recently worked with one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the United States in an effort to overcome some of the challenges they faced when moving heavy loads. The biggest issue the company faced was the initial push force required to mobilize carts that weighed in excess of 10,000 pounds. Per further study, the company determined that workers needed to apply roughly 70 pounds of pressure per cart to initiate movement, which is far more than the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) says is safe. The goal, then, was to find a way for workers to move these carts using less initial push force.
While the auto manufacturer’s main goal involved reducing initial push force in such a way that they could reduce the risk of injury, there were other factors to consider. In this particular manufacturing facility, there was a great deal of debris on the floor. This created additional challenges. For many casters, debris on the floor only increases the friction between the caster and the floor surface, which further increases the amount of push/pull force required to move loads. Aside from this, the company found that they had to regularly pull the carts out of production to clean the debris that accumulated on and around the wheels.
The automobile manufacturer contacted us with a primary request of reducing the amount of initial force needed to start these carts moving. Though this was the primary goal, the need to prevent debris buildup on the wheels was also important. The proposed solution was TWERGO® casters in 10” and 12” diameters in triple-wheel configurations. These casters were fitted with ErgoTread material inside ERGOXCEL ™ rigs, which provided outstanding ergonomics. These casters were then fitted to the very same 10,000-pound carts and put to the test.
As workers in the assembly plant began using the new casters, it was discovered that the force required to start loads moving had been reduced from 70 pounds – well above OSHA recommendations – to just about 40 pounds, which is well within OSHA guidelines. As a result, these carts only required one operator to start movement rather than two, which improved productivity greatly and reduced the risk of overexertion injury. What’s more, with the ErgoTread material, the caster actually pushes debris out of the way. This means carts no longer need to be removed from the production area for cleaning.
When it comes to preventing injury, improving productivity, and even boosting employee morale in situations where heavy loads are common, it’s important to consider the role that casters play. Simply switching casters in the situation above had a tremendous impact on the workplace.