Here in Toronto, as in other places in North America, the weather of late has felt more like spring than winter. But at Algood, we’re more excited about another kind of spring – our breakthrough light duty spring loaded caster.
One of the real advantages to having an independently owned, fully integrated manufacturing facility is the ability to be truly innovative. This case study demonstrates how industry breakthroughs so often aren’t the result of think-tanks or conferences but rather result from the simple and unwavering commitment we make to meeting our customers’ needs.
Our customer in the technology sector was having problems with carts that were transporting up to 1600 lbs. of expensive and delicate components. The vibration from the casters put the components at risk of damage and the carts themselves were beginning to fail. The common industry response to their dilemma was to use softer wheels. They had tried just about every wheel type available including rubber and plastics and still, the vibration persisted. When they brought their predicament to our attention, they were out of solutions.
So often, innovation results from responding to customer struggles and, as it turns out, this was no exception. As our management and engineering teams considered the situation, they had what can only be described as a Eureka moment. Their flash of discovery came from asking a simple question. Why not manage vibration on light duty casters the way we do on heavy-duty casters? That led to the breakthrough idea of developing the industry’s first spring loaded 2” light duty caster.
We can take all the advantages of spring loaded casters and apply them to a light duty caster. The springs will absorb the vibration, protecting the precious cargo and adding to longevity of the carts. The springs will also maintain stability as weight is added. Finally, the spring loaded caster will ensure that all four wheels are always in contact with the floor, minimizing the impact of floor conditions and again, controlling vibration.
Our customer loved the idea. One of the advantages to having a fully integrated manufacturing facility is the ability to respond quickly. Within 72 hours we had working samples to review with the customer. Engineering drawings followed within days and working prototypes were available in just over two weeks. With all the benefits of in-house, design, engineering, tooling and stamping, we will ultimately take this project from concept to production in a lightning-fast six weeks.
The final product will be a spring loaded light duty caster with capacity of up to 400 lbs. that, as part of our 5300 series, will accommodate any wheel with 2” tread width. In addition, the caster will be available with a choice of springs. The harder spring will offer greater deflection and increase the maximum load capacity.
This isn’t the first time that Algood has created an industry first and some would say we should celebrate our record of innovation. For us what’s more important is our ongoing and increasing capacity to the meet the needs of our customers. That has been at the centre of our success and continuing to be a completely customer focused supplier will, more than anything else, fuel our future fortunes.