Monthly Archives: January 2013

Replacing Casters ?? Answer these seven important Questions


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At California Caster, we receive hundreds of calls every week from individuals looking to replace their wheels and casters. These conversations can be either very humorous or very frustrating for both parties due to the information provided (or not) by our prospective customer(s). Her are 7 questions which should help you determine specific casters and wheels right for you:

1. What are the average load and the maximum load requirements?

2. What wheel type is required for floor protection?

3. What wheel diameter will provide the necessary mobility?

4. In what type of environment will the casters or wheel operate? (water/oils/acids/corrosive materials or excessive/extreme environments)

5. Will the units be hand pushed or powered?

6. How many swivel and how many rigid casters are required?

7. How will the casters be mounted? (i.e. Top Plate, Stem, Hollow Kingpin?)

Always remember the following equation when determining which casters and wheels are right for the job:

Load + weight divided by the number of casters = lbs. per caster

For example: 2,000 lbs. divided by 4 casters = 500 lbs. per caster

It’s important that you always divide the weight of the caster and the truck to determine the weight-per caster. At California Caster, we suggest you always include a substantial safety factor that exceeds your maximum requirements. If a load is generally dropped onto a truck without regard for breakage or damage, then we suggest you specify the next highest load rating your casters. In general, you should you should always select load capacity that exceeds your required amounts rather than buying casters that are “just enough” to get the job done.

The phrase “penny wise and pound foolish” is often discussed around our water cooler.  It’s interesting how companies often fuss over small amounts of money when making a decision around large caster and wheel orders. If you are making decisions that may possibly determine the longevity (and quality) of your project, we suggest you consider a higher quality caster. For projects where large quantities of casters are used, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish!

Greg Williams

Purchasing through Distributors or Manufacturers. . . What’s best for you?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged on by Blog Moderator.

At California Caster and hand Truck Company, we are often confronted with the challenges of competing directly against large manufacturers.  As one of the largest distributors of casters and hand trucks in the US, we tend to be partial toward all customers working through local (and national) distribution. While Larger customers may feel as though they will receive better pricing by eliminating a distributor, there are compelling reasons for having a distributor manage your business relationship. Let’s address a few areas that impact your decision process:

What is the role of a regional a caster distributor?

Caster distributors serve a very important role in the various industries they serve. Distributors (in general) buy and resell products readily available in the marketplace. Casters and levelers are usually mass-produced either overseas or domestically – and can range drastically in size, weight and capacity. For distributors to stock specific casters or levelers, they must be confident in their ability to sell these products in volume on a frequent basis. In addition to carrying a large inventory of casters, top distributors will also inventory related products to compliment casters and accommodate the needs of their customer.

Why do large customers prefer working through distributors over manufacturers?

The decision for a customer to work directly with manufacturers should not be a decision based strictly on price. While certain customers may enjoy minor savings due to high volume orders, they are sometimes at risk of losing perspective around which caster (or leveler) is right for the job:

  • Distributors can offer wide-ranging expertise due to relationships and experience with multiple manufacturers. When specific expertise is required for a project, we always work closely with the specific manufacturer to answer any/all technical aspects of the project.
  • Distributors like California Caster usually have more customer service/sales personnel available to manage inventory, fulfillment and to provide guidance on every aspect of your project.
  • Manufacturers tend to promote their own brands exclusively  – regardless of whether it’s the optimal choice.
  • Manufacturer reps have expertise limited to just their product line. This tunnel vision often places the customer at a disadvantage.
  • Distributors can be more nimble and responsive to changes in the marketplace.

Conclusion: There is no question that “price” (cost) is an important consideration when determining who you should work with on a long term basis. Also, the illusion created by the internet is that everyone is an expert – and everything can be purchased at the lowest possible cost. I suggest that you be extremely cautious in your decision process. Ask questions and interview companies and their sales staff around issues important to you. You should be very comfortable asking direct questions before moving ahead with any distributor or manufacturer that will impact your business.

While the perception may be that your costs will decrease when working directly with a manufacturer, I would argue that top distribution companies will find many ways to recoup any minor percentage increase to the price. One way California Caster adds value (thereby reducing your costs) is to provide customers with multiple alternatives to any given project. Some project applications may require higher quality casters while other projects could be solved by purchasing a more economical solution. We represent a wide range of manufacturers for this reason – so that you are not spending too little or too much on any given project. California Caster has been around for almost 70 years. We will find products and solutions that are right for you.

Will manufacturers do the same?

Greg Williams

Giving back – What is our responsibility?


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I heard Colin Powell once say the problem with giving back is that it involves a certain amount of giving up. That said, what is our responsibility as a company when it comes to giving back? What time commitments should any company require of its employees around community giving? What should small business owners give of their time and money so that we collectively make a difference?

If you have the time, I invite you to the California Caster facility in San Francisco to meet Hay Jue, one of my very favorite employees of all time.

Hay Jue Moon with Greg Williams and Michelle Mitchell was presented with his award plaque in appreciation of his outstanding contribution and hard work at California Caster and Hand Truck Company

I was first introduced to Hay by Terry Goodwin from The ARC San Francisco, a non-profit organization that advocates for individuals with learning and developmental disabilities. Terry’s introduction to Hay has significantly changed my life and as greatly impacted all the employees at California Caster and Hand Trucks. Hay works very hard cleaning all the casters, hand trucks, wheels and levelers prior to shipping. He is very serious about his job, shows up to work on time every day and most importantly, he makes all of us appreciate how lucky we are to have our health.

While Uncle Sam keeps taking more and more in taxes from small businesses, the importance of  giving back to local community has never been important. We have received so much more by working with Hay than we have invested in hiring him. He makes us all laugh and in some small way requires all the employees to take serious stock in the good things they have in life – and not focus on what they’re missing. That makes Hay Jue our most valuable employee.

Greg Williams, President

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, than just feed one.”

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Learn about Bellman Cart – Luggage Cart Casters

This entry was posted in Casters and tagged , on by Blog Moderator.

The hotel and related hospitality industries use some unique and standard casters for luggage carts and other carts. These casters are ideal for the hospitality industry and maneuver easily in elevators while providing an attractive appearance for this industry.  The type of casters on these carts depends on the type of flooring, the capacity and the mobility of the caster, while maintaining the strength and durability.

8" PneumaticBrass Plated Rigid Caster

8″ Pneumatic
Brass Plated Rigid Caster

Casters with a polished zinc, brass, or chrome finish are typically found on upscale hotel luggage carts and can vary based on the customer’s preference and specific application. Options for cart casters include choice of wheel material, wheel bearings, fastener type, and rigid and swivel models.  Most of the casters can be ordered with brakes of various types as well, from foot levelers and switches, total brake, and VertiLoc brake on pneumatic casters.

There are different types of wheels with some choices of two different 8” black soft rubber wheels.  The super cushion rubber wheel has a round tire which enables it to roll easily when on carpet and to change direction easily.  The super cushion wheel provides resilience similar to an air filled wheel without having the maintenance often required of Pneumatic wheels.   There is also the air filled Pneumatic wheels which is a popular choice for lighter loads and for use on rough floor surfaces such as cobblestone, concrete.

 

8" PneumaticBrass Plated Swivel Caster

8″ Pneumatic
Brass Plated Swivel Caster

All pneumatic wheels have ball bearings. Wheel brakes are an option on all swivel pneumatic casters.  For the pneumatic caster, overall height and capacity vary depending on air pressure and the weight involved.  Capacity ratings are based on use in a manual operation at air pressure indicated.  Consult your experienced and knowledgeable staff at California Caster if speed is to be above 3 mph for further information.

Selection should never be on the basis of load capacity alone.  Capacity ratings do not take into account the effort required to manually move or push a load.  Capacity ratings are based on manual operation under ideal conditions.  If these casters are going to be moved by mechanically powered equipment, consult us for a reduced capacity rating based on your application.

Pneumatic Swivel & Rigid Top Plate (Capacity up to 470# each)

FEATURES:

  • Wheel: premium quality designed to eliminate lope and wobble while rolling
  • Finish: Bright zinc, brass or chrome plating to resist rust and corrosion
  • Swivel Grease Seal: standard on polished brass models
  • Swivel Construction: double ball bearing
  • Axle: ½” diameter
  • King Pin: 5/8” steel rivet, hydraulically upset
  • Zerk Grease Fitting: swivel raceway
  • Fort Leg Spacing: 8” wheel 3” spacing, or 10” wheel 4” spacing

 CASTER OPTIONS:

  • VertiLoc Brake:  to order, add “VL” to end of model number

Esther Dixon

Which Hand Truck is right for your company?

This entry was posted in Hand Trucks and tagged , , , , , on by Blog Moderator.

Large Section of Aluminum and Steel Hand Trucks

Hundreds of drivers, business owners and movers drop by our retail facility in San Francisco looking for the perfect hand truck.  Our goal at California Caster and Hand Truck is to provide as wide a selection of manufacturers as possible that can offer multiple configurations. Hand truck options and configurations can vary greatly depending upon the industry served (beverage, food service, grocery chains, movers, etc.). When making your decision, we suggest you consider the following criteria before purchasing your hand Truck:

  • Aluminum vs. Steel. This issue boils down to the overall weight of the hand truck. Aluminum is significant lighter while steel is considered more durable.
  • Ergonomics. Higher end models generally offer the most ergonomically correct options allowing less driver effort and therefore reduce risk.
  • Type of use. You get what you pay for when purchasing a hand truck. If your work environment involves jumping curbs, climbing stairs or just plain harsh environments, we strongly suggest an Industrial hand truck that can handle that environment. If your goal is to purchase a hand truck for light weight, general purpose use, we would suggest a steel, well-designed hand truck.

California Caster and Hand Truck is a master distributor for both B&P and Dutro Hand Trucks. Both manufacturers offer you different options to meet your specific requirements.

B&P Manufacturing

  • Heavy duty capacity
  • Light weight, aluminum solution
  • Multiple configurations to design your own hand truck
  • Ergonomically proficient
  • 2-year warranty on parts and lifetime warranty on axle brackets.
  • Constructed with 700 lb. aircraft rivets
  • Variety of wheel choices (flat free/care free/foam-filled)

Dutro Company

  • Steel or aluminum construction
  • Multiple configuration features
  • Multiple wheel configurations

Please feel free to stop by our San Francisco office and test drive all your different hand truck options. Our professional staff is always available to answer questions regarding your choice around wheels, handles, nose plates and accessories. We have inventory available for most all configurations.

Jeff Castro, Cal Caster Hand Truck Specialist