Retreading Polyurethane Caster Wheels
Retreading of Polyurethane Tired Wheels is becoming a popular way to reduce costs and replace worn out polyurethane wheels in industrial applications. It also has some environmental benefits as well. If a company has industrial casters with worn polyurethane tires and the metal wheel cores are still in good shape, the wheels can be returned to have the old polyurethane and bearings (if equipped) removed and re-treaded with a new polyurethane of the user’s choice and new bearings. This is may well be less expensive than buying new industrial polyurethane wheels.
The process begins with the removal of the polyurethane by placing the wheels in a burn off oven for a set period of time. The burn off oven works by an incineration process (800 degrees F), which removes the polyurethane tire from the wheel core by decomposing the polyurethane with heat in the absence of oxygen. The burn off oven releases little emissions other than carbon dioxide and water vapor due to the high temperature in the associated after burner that incinerates all particulate at temperatures approaching 1750 degrees. After a cooling process the industrial wheel cores are then removed and prepped for the application of new polyurethane. After the polyurethane is applied to the wheel core, the bearings are reinstalled and the wheels are ready to ship. This process can only be completed if the wheel core material is metal, for example cast iron, steel, or aluminum. The end user can even decide to reuse the wheel bearings if those are in good shape and have sufficient remaining life. The advantages of considering such a process are:
Go Green – If the industrial polyurethane wheels were to just have the wheel core recycled, they would still need to go through a burn-off phase to remove the polyurethane tire. Then there is the extra step of recycling the core, which requires more energy to melt the core and process it for reuse. Retreading industrial wheel cores with polyurethane reduces the need for energy required to recycle the wheel core and to manufacture wheel cores. The manufacturing of wheel cores usually involves a casting process which is very energy intensive. Retreading polyurethane industrial wheels can have the effect of reducing the amount of fossil fuels used, which can reduce the release of greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions. Save Money – When retreading wheels you are paying something to recondition the core to its original state which has an associated cost which should not exceed the cost of the core. In very small wheels that have no ”added processing” associated with the core the cost of removing the tire may exceed the cost of the core. Once the core is reconditioned the normal process of reapplying the polyurethane wheel can take place as it normally would happen. In the final evaluation the greater the value of the core the more cost effective the process of retreading becomes.
Reduced Lead Times for Replacement Wheels – The process of retreading wheels when the core has significant added value associated with it will significantly decrease the time it takes to get a replacement wheel. The burn off process done appropriately will generally take approximately 24 hours to produce a core that is ready to have the tire replaced. To make the same wheel from new material will take the ordering of raw material machining and tire application all of which could take 3-4 weeks at the very minimum. Using the retread process the wheel could be produced within 5 days.
At Caster Concepts, Inc. we can retread your urethane wheels to help you save money, reduce energy waste, and reduce lead times for specialized wheels. Talk to the engineering staff or sales staff and further discuss your needs.