Kawasaki Rail Cars (KRC) Had A Weighty Problem
Challenge: Kawasaki Rail Cars (KRC) , a New Jersey-based manufacturer, had a weighty problem: Where to find heavy-duty caster wheels that can traverse uneven, cracked floors while handling loads of more than 30 tons? The issue was with a component called a transfer table – a part of the assembly line when a nearly-finished railroad car is picked up and rotated 90 degrees to align with the exit from the manufacturing plant. The three-wheel industrial caster wheels mounted beneath the transfer table were ineffective in handling the weight, often resulting in failures and lost productivity.
“We had all kinds of problems with the existing wheels on the transfer table,” said Nehru Satahoo, Assistant Manager of the Production Engineering Department at KRC. “The floor of the building where the transfer table is used is not even, there are cracks and these are caused by the size and weight of the cars, and the load generated by the movement angles that caused the wheels on the transfer table to continuously fail. These failures caused production delays and extra work, amounting to thousands of dollars each year in parts and labor.”
Solution: KRC worked with Caster Concepts to design a new four-wheel heavy-duty caster that eliminated the failures brought on by extreme stresses that were unmanageable by the three-wheel system. The wheels were coated with a special 70d polyurethane that was specifically designed to manage the extremely high weight.
“(Caster Concepts) listened to the issues we were having and understood them in detail, and involved us directly in the process,” Satahoo said. “With our input, Caster Concepts created a product in a timely basis, with quality that was spot on. The product they produced is low maintenance and reliable, so production delays are no longer a concern.”