Selecting the Right Caster for the Boating Industry. - Caster Concepts

Top concerns and corrections for moving boats in your facility

Let’s talk about some of the most common mobility problems we find in the boating industry. From moving heavy loads to chop buildup, there are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right caster.

Moving heavy loads

In this industry,  heavy loads can sometimes be an understatement. Depending on the size of the boat, the weight you are moving can vary from 2,000 pounds to 500,000 pounds. Yet, no matter what the load is, choosing the right caster can make a huge difference in your production capabilities. The idea is to move more with less effort. And the right caster can improve productivity and safety in a huge way.

With this in mind, determining the right caster for your application should include several steps:

What is the total weight of the boat and mold? — You’ll want to determine the total weight capacity to determine the proper caster to use.

How the mold/cradle is going to be moved — Are you using a forklift? Or are workers moving it manually? In addition, how far are you moving the boat through the production process from start to finish? For example, if you are moving it manually and you have a lot of sharp turns, a motorized caster may be a solution.

Chop/Fiberglass build up

Chop/Fiberglass buildup is another problem that boat manufacturers face on carts utilized in the fiberglass process. This is a very common issue across the board, as a lot of boating companies choose to use cheap — almost disposable — casters for the areas where chop is heavy. A better solution is using track sweepers and Twergo® wheels. This combination can greatly extend the life of casters compared to throw-away phenolics, resulting in good returns on investment.

Twergo wheels are designed as two independently spinning wheels, so less surface area is touching the ground. This means they will not pick up chop like your standard phenolic or nylon wheel.

Rough Running Surface

Most boating manufacturers have a nice smooth surface inside their facilities. But what happens when the boat moves outside and you are running into problems with failing casters failing in parking lots and other areas?

The best solution for ensuring a long life in these areas is to engineer the right caster (and conditions) for the job. Make sure the surface is free of any form of debris as possible. Wood, Screws, angle iron, etc. These will destroy a caster if run into it at any kind of speed.

In some instances, using a spring-loaded caster can increase the ability to run on rough ground. Consult your local professional to see if this is the case for your application.

Ease of Movement

This problem is common for boat manufacturers, and most of them are resigned to believing that there isn’t a way to move heavy boats with ease.

While there are a lot of different options for casters, choosing the exact caster to fit each application can be tricky. Below I will lay out the expectations for weight ranges and what is possible if the right caster is in place.

  • 1,000-4,000 pounds should be able to be manually pushed by one individual.
  • 4-8,000 pounds should be able to move with 2 people while negotiating turns without problems.
  • 8-12,000 pounds takes 3-4 people depending on the size of the boat and the surface it is rolling on.

Keep in mind when I put in the weight and people ratio, this is based on testing we have done in a controlled environment. Results may vary by application.

Durability

Many boat manufacturers purchase disposable, cheap casters and just accept that constantly replacing them is part of the process.

This doesn’t have to be the case. When choosing a caster for your specific application, you shouldn’t have to build in expense for replacement casters every 2,4,6, or 12 months as needed.

I’ve seen the right casters used even in the toughest of environments last 5-10 years. Of course, this isn’t every case but if you take the time to engineer a caster specifically for your application, it is not uncommon to get this type of life span out of your casters.

The whole goal of this blog is to educate the end user and help you understand what is to be expected and what can be accomplished when designing the right casters for your application.

If I did not cover your specific issues please email me @pvandellen@casterconcepts.com and I will be glad to help with your problems or concerns.

Here is part 1 (Selecting the right Heavy Duty caster for the Boating Industry):

 

Here is part 2 (Combating Chop and Fiberglass Build up on casters for the boating industry):