Flanged wheels are used to transfer heavy loads over track in many industries, including forestry, wood processing, mining, and manufacturing.
Wheel acquisition and maintenance are a major expense in any transfer cart operation. Before purchasing, it’s a good idea to do your research to ensure that your wheels perform to their full potential and keep your transfer carts productive.
Buying the right type of wheel for the job is essential – a higher quality wheel will pay off in extended service life and a decreased chance of early failure. You can further extend the service life of your wheels by following best practices in use and maintenance.
Follow these tips to get the best value for your wheels.
1. Choose the right wheel for the job
The first and most important tip is to start with the right wheel. A suitable wheel facilitates controlled, efficient movement of heavy-duty machinery. Mismatched wheels have the opposite effect – they risk failure that can damage operating equipment, or even pose a hazard. Wheels of the wrong composition or size for the track experience a shortened service life.
Not all steels are created equal. It is important to choose the right material for the application, working environment, and required weight capacity.
2. Select a material that is appropriate for the environmental conditions
Salty ocean environments accelerate corrosion, causing red iron-oxide stains on the tracks. Stainless steel or galvanized steel wheels will resist rust longer.
Steel wheels provide acceptable rust and corrosion resistance for many applications, but may not be appropriate for consistently damp or salty environments. In more extreme applications, stainless steel wheels or custom galvanized wheels may be required. Within those broad categories there are many grades with varying levels of hardness and corrosion resistance.
Certain metal grades stand up better than others in high heat environments. Many high-heat environments require special planning. For these applications, you may wish to consult an engineer to determine which type of wheel is best suited for your cart.
3. Take care in wheel transport and storage
Wheels should always be handled and stored with care. Any scrapes or notches that damage the wheel’s corrosion protection will decrease its service life. When a wheel begins to rust, it requires intensive maintenance. In the worst-case scenario, it will need to be replaced altogether.
4. Adhere to load limits
Weight that exceeds suggested levels can damage steel cart wheels. Whether single or double flanged, cart wheels may become flattened by excessive loads. An over-loaded cart may also break the flanges off wheels and further damage the track. Be sure to check your required safe working load demands, and compare it against the rating of the wheel you are purchasing.
5. Observe suggested speeds
Whether using steel or iron, flanged or flat-faced, cart wheels can be severely damaged when carts are run at speeds that exceed suggested norms. In addition to being dangerous, excessive speeds will shorten the service life of the wheel.
You might also be interested in...
6. Keep tracks aligned and level
Routine inspection isn’t just for safety. It is also essential for getting the most out of your wheels and track.
Tracks are just as important for wheel maintenance as the wheels themselves. Misaligned tracks create significant problems such as side-loading (against the flanges) and shear-loading that will damage the material being transported. Pay special attention to rail joints, as they can cause problems for flanged wheels.
7. Inspect and maintain your cart wheels
Always consult OEM and transfer cart manufacturer guidelines for inspecting and maintaining track and cart wheels. Consistent maintenance is essential for safe and reliable wheel operation, especially in shock-loading applications.
Maintenance should include regular monitoring, diagnostics, adjustment and repair. Be on the lookout for:
- Wear of the flange tip
- Radial cracking
- Spalling on the tread surface
- Scaled wheels
Wheels with any cracking, or with severe pitting or notching, should be taken out of service immediately. Wheels with less severe damage can be cleaned or machined back into working order.
Reliance Foundry stocks five varieties of single-flanged wheels and eight varieties of double-flanged wheels. Value-added services are available. We always ensure that every wheel meets the exact specifications of your project.