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Push and pull with ease

Using optimised wheels and castors makes strenuous activities noticeably easier

Alongside lifting, holding, carrying and placing, pushing and pulling are some of the activities which are most frequently involved whenever people have to move loads manually. These physically strenuous activities are particularly common in a production and logistics environment, and put employees under significant risk. Depending on the weight of the goods being transported, pushing and pulling can require an enormous amount of strength and can overload muscles, sinews, tendons and joints over time. This can have an effect on the spine, knees, hips and the entire hand-arm-shoulder area.

In order to reduce the risk of injury and disorders, many countries have introduced guidelines restricting the maximum load which can be transported manually. In Germany, this took the form of the Load Handling Regulation (Lastenhandhabungsverordnung). Experts recommend that we don’t use more than 15% of our maximum muscle strength when involved in prolonged activity. The problem is muscle strength varies widely from person to person. It is also extremely difficult to make an accurate assessment of how much strength will be needed to push or pull a load in practice. It is therefore almost impossible to define specific limits which employers and employees can use for guidance.

130 million sick days per year due to musculoskeletal problems

This makes it all the more important to ensure that any work which is carried out repeatedly is made as ergonomic as possible. If you need proof, just look at the statistics related to sick days: According to the annual health report released by the Federal Association of Company Health Insurance Funds [Dachverband der Betriebskrankenkassen] (BKK), musculoskeletal problems are frequently the main cause for being unable to work. According to the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), this issue alone was the reason for 130 million sick days in 2015. This means that tissue-related and musculoskeletal issues cost the German economy around €25 billion, or 0.8% of its GDP. There is therefore a significant financial incentive for companies to improve working conditions.

One reason for these alarming figures is our changing demographics. In many countries, people are working much later in life. Older employees are generally more susceptible to health problems like back or joint pain. Most at risk are employees who work in manufacturing, logistics or construction. These are trades that frequently involve pushing and pulling, and therefore have a heavy impact on the body.

Resistance increases effort

In one way, pushing or pulling loads makes work easier. If something is too heavy to hold or carry, vehicles and transport equipment with wheels or castors are frequently used to reduce the amount of effort required. But moving these around can be tiring as well. This is down to the resistance that you encounter when you set off, roll, change direction or go over an obstacle. The nature of the resistance depends on a number of factors, like the surface you are moving on, the weight of the load and the bearing type and arrangement. But the quality of the wheels that you use is also extremely important.

Starting and rolling resistance is involved whenever you push or pull a load. Force will always be required to get a stationary wheel moving, and also force is still needed to keep it moving consistently. The tread constantly compresses and decompresses whenever you roll a load across the floor, so some energy is wasted due to the internal friction in the tread material. This then results in rolling resistance. Increasing the wheel diameter is one way to reduce rolling resistance, but choosing the optimal tread is also important. It can really make a difference, depending on the geometry, rigidity and elasticity that you go for.

Additional force is required for every change in direction

Using swivel castors increases the swivel resistance for many activities that involve pushing and pulling. This resistance is the reason for the force required to move a castor to the desired position when changing direction. In addition to the factors mentioned above, swivel resistance is also affected by the offset of the castor housing, i.e. the horizontal distance between the rotation axes of the swivel bearing and the wheel. Blickle provides specialised castor brackets with an offset that is designed to minimise swivel resistance.

Polyurethane treads offer significant advantages

A number of our products use our internally developed polyurethane treads Blickle Extrathane®, Blickle Softhane®Blickle Besthane® and Blickle Besthane® Soft. These combine outstanding rolling characteristics with high elasticity. Their extremely low starting and rolling resistance provide the ideal solution for almost every application.

One example is our new ALB wheel series. Developed specifically for demanding applications in the field of intralogistics, it has a high quality tread with optimised geometry. It is made from reaction-injected polyurethane-elastomer Blickle Besthane. Its rebound elasticity is extremely high, and it is slightly crowned as well, which is a special feature. This reduces the contact area as well as compression and decompression while rolling. The end result is a decrease in rolling resistance of up to 40% compared to other polyurethane wheels. This means that vehicles and transport equipment fitted with the ALB series are much easier to push and pull. With a hardness of 92° Shore A, the Blickle tread has an outstanding dynamic load capacity. This makes the wheels capable of handling higher speeds.

High level of vertical integration and strict test procedures

Our in-house testing laboratory has a specialised station for calculating starting, rolling and swivel resistance. The laboratory is also used for moving over thresholds. These tests are more stringent than standards require. This ensures that our wheels and castors actually meet the necessary requirements.

Our range of wheels and castors makes it much easier to push and pull loads in any situation, and also greatly reduces health risks.


Vibration-free rotation, even under heavy loads

Heavy duty drive roller with Blickle Extrathane® polyurethane tread STHN 620x1000/180-1000-937434

The customer

... is a Danish company which was established in 2005. The company provides a wide variety of solutions for the wind power industry, e.g. welding systems and handling facilities for the manufacture of turbine towers and other wind power components.

The challenge

Wind turbine towers are manufactured by cutting steel plates into segments, rolling them and welding them together. Turbine towers weigh around 1,000 tonnes. During the welding process, the tubular segments are placed on rotators which turn the individual segments so that the parts can be welded together.

In the past, steel wheels were used as rotators due to the high load bearing requirements. The rigid steel wheels caused vibrations during the rotation of the tower, which had a negative impact on the weld seams. This was down to the poor surface quality and lack of roundness in the bent tubular sections.

To combat the vibrations, manufacturers began using wheels with steel wheel centres or cast wheel centres and a polyurethane tread. In order to achieve the required load capacity, at least two wheels were required on an axle. As the weight of the tubular segments increased, the required load capacity could only be achieved by placing four wheels next to one another. The disadvantage of this design is that placing four wheels next to one another puts an enormous load on the axle. Because of this, a significant axle diameter is required to prevent the failure of the axle. The customer was looking for a new solution with only one polyurethane wheel in order to cut material costs and achieve even higher load capacities.


Our solution

Blickle’s engineers worked closely with the customer to develop a roller with a load capacity of 100 tonnes - an improvement of 25 per cent compared to using four individual wheels. The stable steel wheel centre is reinforced with two centre bars in the interior of the roller body. The special shape of the wheel centre distributes the load in the vicinity of the bearing locations on the outside of the wheel unit, significantly reducing the amount of stress in the wheel axle. This allows the customer to reduce the axle diameter and reduce its material costs while increasing the load capacity of the unit.

The polyurethane tread is cast onto the stable steel wheel centre using a specialised rotating casting procedure.


The result

The Blickle solution provides increased load capacity and improved safety. The rollers are also significantly less complicated to install than multiple individual wheels. The way in which the forces are distributed makes it possible to use a thinner wheel axle, cutting costs significantly.

A number of facilities have already been equipped with the heavy duty rollers and successfully tested. The new Blickle solution will be used as the standard option in future.


Product advantages and technical information STHN 620x1000/180-1000-937434:
• Very high load capacity of 100 tonnes per roller
• Optimal distribution of forces over the wheel axle makes it possible to reduce the axle diameter


Smooth running of used fat disposal

Rollers of the LPA-PATH series by Blickle optimise kitchen components for restaurant equipment suppliers in the USA

For the disposal of used fat from deep fryers, restaurateurs often use moveable containers to quickly replace the used material. In the USA, it was just this process that caused a restaurant supplier quite a headache. Particularly in this kind of environment, the quick replacement of containers is necessary so as not to interrupt the operation for an unnecessarily long time. Contaminations and aggressive cleaning chemicals impaired or fairly quickly blocked the steering behaviour of castors that were attached to the oil containers. As a result the customer incurred considerable costs. The people responsible got in touch with the experienced Blickle team in the USA – and laid the facts on the table. The customer wanted castors from a local supplier that worked in a reliable manner and were resistant to both oil and cleaning agents. Furthermore, the customer required short delivery times in order to reduce the freight and repair costs. “We looked at the application on site and suggested the LPA-PATH 50K-FK type castors. "Our partner was able to test them extensively and was extremely satisfied with the results”, stated Manual Kraibühler, international sales manager at Blickle.

Advantages of the LPA-PATH 50K-FK castor
Blickle developed the series as a swivel castor with a mounting plate. It also has a bracket made of pressed steel. The special dynamic Blickle riveting of the swivel head makes for minimal play with ease of operation and high durability. The wheel is made of high-quality, thermoplastic polyurethane for low-noise operation with low roll and swivel resistance, even in oily environments. In everyday practice it protects the floor and does not cause wear. Users can easily work with it in temperature ranges from minus 25 to plus 70 degrees Celsius.

No additional costs

LPA-PATH is firmly bonded and exceptionally durably connected to the wheel centre. This ensures low wear and tear. The Blickle development can move loads up to 75 kilograms. The high-grade materials make the wheel resistant to the most common cleaning agents as well as frying oil in gastronomy. Blickle matched the hole pattern of the mounting plate to the customer's previous solution. As a result, there were no design changes or additional tooling costs. Furthermore, the Blickle engineers designed a new castor based on the basic body of the original solution. The modified bracket now has a special fork width and the thread guard was also redesigned. Reward of the efforts: The NSF certified the series. The LPA-PATH series now complies with all the regulations and received approval from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) of the USA.

Worthwhile investment
Investing in the Blickle development paid off for the restaurant equipment supplier. Premature blockages or failures of the castors are a thing of the past. The grease trap containers can be easily and smoothly replaced without splashing used fat. The castors are easy to operate in oily environments and can be steered without any problems. They also survive regular cleaning with aggressive media unscathed. The LPA-PATH series ensures that burgers, fries and schnitzels from the deep fryer are quickly served to consumers without delay.

台灣金屬材料暨精密加工設備展  2019.11.7(四)~11.10(日)

展場地點 : 臺中國際展覽館  台中市烏日區中山路三段1號

時間: 108.11.7(四)~11.10(日)  09:30~17:00

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