CHALLENGE: Rail car transfer table casters failed from heavy loads
Caster Concepts recently was able to help a rail car company solve a problem with the wheels on its rail car transfer tables. During manufacturing of railroad cars the cars go through several stages along its production track, including a high line track where much of the assembly is done. When the car in production comes off at the end of the manufacturing process, it then must be rotated 90 degrees, in order to get the car out of the building.
To rotate the 30+ ton car, the company uses what’s called a transfer table that the car itself is placed on. The transfer table has wheels that allow it to rotate the rail car. “We had all kinds of problems with the existing wheels on the transfer table,” said the production engineer. “The floor of the building where the transfer table is used is not even, there are cracks and there 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.”
The existing 3-wheel casters on the transfer table were not holding up to the stress of the weight and the imperfection of the floors and movement angles. The transfer tables used a 3-wheel design caster, which when the caster swiveled the entire weight would go on the center wheel of the caster. That enormous weight and stress on the center wheel of caster caused the polyurethane to strip off the wheel.
The company worked with Caster Concepts to develop a solution. That solution was to design a new 4-wheel caster that eliminated the stress going to one wheel. The wheels were coated with 70D polyurethane that could handle the extremely high weight. “We went to Caster Concepts to attempt to modify the wheels on the tables,” the product engineer said. “They listened to the issues we were having and understood them in detail, and involved us directly in the process. With our input Caster Concepts created a product of 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.”
Production Engineer, Rail Car Manufacturer
END CUSTOMER: Manufacturer
APPLICATION: Rail Car Transfer Table
SOLUTION: CCI solved the problem by supplying the company with heavy-duty 4-wheel 70D poly casters
CHALLENGE: Swivel sections were cracking after a few months of use
“When we first started running this equipment, it was very industrial looking, resembling a large Ice Box. The boxes were green/grey NEMA 12 electrical cabinets. We struck a deal with the original manufacture of the equipment for us to purchase the equipment in kit form, then build and sell it along with offering a year of support for the clients. Originally, the cabinets were mounted to a rather rough looking uni-strut frame work and had hard phenolic wheels.
“What we do is very specialized work, as is the equipment we sell. It will measure oil consumption in PPB (parts per billion) with repeatability from day-to-day of about 2%. We had to have something better than what we were building at first. We changed the wheels to shock absorbing, we powder coated the cabinets a bright cherry red, and had a new frame designed both to lighten and improve the looks. The wheels were still a problem because we began noticing cracks on the frames of the swivels after a few months use, plus they did not sit level anymore. That is when we started shopping for other options.”
Chief Technologist, Combustion Engine Lubrication Measurements, San Antonio, TX
END CUSTOMER: Combustion Engine Lubrication Measurements
APPLICATION: Oil Consumption Cart
SOLUTION: CCI was able to solve the problem by supplying the company with CasterShox product
CHALLENGE: Approached by a staging company that was looking for specialized wheels to move a large stage in very little time
“My hats off to both you and your team for bringing this together in such short notice. I could not have made this happen without your help.
“We moved 8 stages (24×8) into place in just over a minute forty seconds, fully set (aprox 15,000 lbs) to form (4) stages with (12) bands”
President, Leading Stage and Accessories Provider for Special Events
END CUSTOMER: Portable staging company for entertainment at halftimes of major sporting events
APPLICATION: Portable Staging
SOLUTION: Caster Concepts customized a special pneumatic caster that was able to withhold the weight and moving requirements of the stage while still allowing for quick and easy portability
CHALLENGE: Material covering Drive Drum was excessively wearing out
“We make conveyor systems for the automotive industry some close to 300 feet long. In this case, the rubber material surrounding the drive drum on the conveyor system kept wearing out and we were unable to move automobiles through the process. I approached Caster Concepts about the possibility of using its soft polyurethane on the drum as I had seen a special poly withstand constant usage on another piece of equipment at the plant. The Caster Concepts engineering staff indicated they could coat anything and asked specific questions about usage. I placed the drum in a box, sent it to them, and Caster Concepts went to work, specially machining and surfacing the material for the specific application. The soft poly material looks as good as the day I replaced the drum on the conveyor. It’s a very durable material and I use it as a standard product on all our belt drive drums.
“The service from Caster Concepts is impeccable. They’ve bent over backwards. Some of the competition can’t do the engineering and they just warehouse wheels. At Caster Concepts, if it’s not on the shelf, they’ll customize it for us, including stamping and dies. When it comes to service, Caster Concepts goes beyond the competition.”
Project Engineer, Automotive Supplier, Warren, MI
ORIGIN: Automotive Supplier
END CUSTOMER: Automotive Final Assembly
APPLICATION: Conveyor Systems for the Automotive Industry
SOLUTION: Developed Customized Soft Polyurethane Covering for Drum
CHALLENGE: Premature breakage of Swivels / Green Tire Build-Up
“Caster Concepts responded to our challenge by researching the type of defects and the cause of breakage. The corrective measures they took entailed multiple iterations this was not a one-time problem solution. It took multiple steps and involved coaching us in dealing with some of the environmental issues and other paradigms. Caster Concepts did exactly what I would expect a caster manufacturing firm to do they did their job and customized a solution for my application. They went far above and beyond our other suppliers in helping us with our problem. The ideas that were developed jointly between us have been shared with our other factories and Caster Concepts has been able to pass this expertise on to some of their own customers.
“Caster Concepts provides services that its competitors do not match, and competitors can match them, but they are not willing to service customers like Caster Concepts does.”
Plant Engineering Manager, National Tire Manufacturer
ORIGIN: Tire Manufacturer
END CUSTOMER: Tire Manufacturing Facility
APPLICATION: Transportation Carts in Tire Facility
SOLUTION: Joint Development of Custom Caster to overcome Environmental Issues
CHALLENGE: Casters and grease used in Microwaves were melting
“My customer had a piece of equipment with casters that went into a microwave. They were having extreme difficulty with the casters. The excessive heat would cause the wheels to melt and the grease to boil and disintegrate. In effect, the equipment would not function nor roll out of the microwave oven. Caster Concepts worked diligently with my customer to test materials for effectiveness. They put a lot of time into ordering multiple materials to try and find one that would hold up to a microwave. In fact, they actually made full casters for trials without having acquired the business. The time they put into it was very impressive. In the end, Caster Concepts was able to develop a proprietary material that could withstand the rigors of microwaves. They were the only caster company that was able to make it work.
“They have done a great job. Their outside sales support has been tremendous, both in pre-sale and post-sale support”.
Branch Sales Manager, Industrial Sales Supplier, Sterling Hts., MI
END CUSTOMER: Automotive Foundry
APPLICATION: Equipment Cart used in Microwave Ovens
SOLUTION: Produced a proprietary material that withstands extreme demands
CHALLENGE: Only one critical part of a Caster was failing the Swivel Lock
“Due to excessive abuse under heavy loads in a very rugged environment, a competitor’s casters were failing. These casters were used to maneuver power drawn carts in a tire facility. Only a critical part of the caster was failing the swivel lock and for cost reasons, the end user did not want to replace the entire product. The distributor that serviced the account approached Caster Concepts for a quick, viable solution.
“I approached Caster Concepts in 1992 because my customer did not want to replace whole casters which were otherwise functional. At that time, I was totally unknown to Caster Concepts. I went with my tail between my legs and asked them to engineer a solution to my customer’s unique problem. Although my customer was not going to replace the entire caster, Caster Concepts willingly took on the challenge. They had no guarantee of a return on their investment because, at that time, they didn’t know whether we would be bonafide customers.
“Working diligently with us, Caster Concepts went beyond standard to retrofit the competitor’s casters with a newly designed heavy duty swivel lock that withstood the abuse.
“Because of their overwhelming dedication, this customer is now my biggest account. That one action by Caster Concepts has snowballed into growing my business quickly and dramatically. My profits are way up. Caster Concepts’ quick turnaround on special design is unlike any other in the business.”