Beyond the Forklift: 7 Surprising Applications for Polyurethane Wheels
What application comes to mind when you think of polyurethane wheels and tires? I would bet forklifts do for many of you. While a countless number of our polyurethane wheels and tires are used on forklifts, our materials excel within a variety of other applications. Our engineering expertise and manufacturing experience allow us to produce high-quality polyurethane for a variety of industries that you may not have imagined.
Stellana is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of molded polyurethane products. Our engineering team consists of mechanical and chemical engineers who have a unique understanding of polymer formation. This department is equipped to tackle product design, tooling, material selection and carry out a variety of performance analytics. Whether it is a new design or one in need of improvement, our engineers find a way to offer the best solution.
7 Surprising Applications
At Stellana, we think of ourselves as application specialists because of our ability to provide unique solutions tailored to each individual application. Our design, engineering and manufacturing expertise is being used in a variety of industries beyond forklifts that include:
1. Overhead Conveyor Systems
Like many things, overhead conveyors often use wheels to move things. These wheels travel along the tracks of overhead conveyors and in conjunction with different carrying mechanisms that transport product. These tracks often have joints in their assembly, like a floor’s expansion joints, they can cause chunking and tearing. Stellana’s material can support a variety of load requirements and resist wear, chunking and tearing. Wheels can also experience uneven wear due to wobbling. Our wheels are engineered to be perfectly round and smooth reducing the unwanted wear and wobbling.
2. Industrial Carts
Carts come in a range of sizes and strengths for differing applications. Our polyurethane wheels are used for the equipment carts that transport the parts and pieces that are made on automotive assembly lines. The carts and the wheels must handle a high load capacity for the heavy goods they move.
Our wheels can also be used in railroad applications. Stellana’s polyurethane wheels are used within tugger systems to move boxcars along the train tracks. This material is able to run directly on the tracks and provide traction along a very narrow surface.
4. Industrial Washer Systems
Inside large industrial dryers, there are a few components that work together to dry the clothing. We manufacture the drive and idler wheels that are used to rotate the drum. These components tumble the load as it dries.
5. Rollforming Machinery
This machinery is used within the metal construction industry to form metal sheets into rain gutters, metal roofing, siding, and more. Stellana’s polyurethane wheels serve dual purposes on the equipment. The drive wheel is used to pull through the aluminum sheets and the idler wheels help form the angles and bends needed.
Polyurethane is the preferred material for the elevator guide wheels used by elevator contractors. Along the elevator shaft, there are guide rails in place to move the cars during normal operation and enable back-up safety features. In the event the cable would snap, elevators have many safeties in place to quickly stop the car where it is on the rail. The guide wheels are small wheels that are used to help the elevator car smoothly travel up and down the rail bars during everyday operation.
Hyperloop is a proposed, high-speed transportation method being brought to life by Tesla and SpaceX. A series of Hyperloop Pod Competitions have been held to test functional prototypes, with the next being held July 21, 2019. In past years and this year, competing teams have sought out Stellana wheels for their prototypes.
If the Hyperloop system ever lost pressure, disrupting the vacuum created, Stellana’s wheels would create stabilization while slowing down the vehicle from high speeds. Even though the vehicle is created with the intention of never touching the ground, Stellana plays an integral role as a safety feature. This is an application that genuinely pushes polyurethane to its limits!
Stellana’s expertise is recognized within the material handling industry, but we offer high-quality polyurethane solutions for many sectors beyond what we are known for. Our processes and commitment to providing the best quality materials allow us to come up with application-specific solutions that will succeed in a variety of environments.