Revolution
Author: Created: 9/15/2013 8:20 AM
Trucks and Carts Blog

These custom dollies are the MacGyver of tough engineering challenges

5/7/2019 9:46 AM  RssIcon

From the depths of the scrap yard to the remote corners of space, Hamilton has always sought to transcend barriers, overcome challenges and create opportunities to keep the world of manufacturing humming.

So we jumped at the chance to make it rain for a world leader in titanium dioxide production. The customer came to us with a pretty thorny design problem: How to transport 103-foot-long cooling pipes safely throughout their facility—through all kinds of weather, both indoors and out?

Our fearless engineers got busy architecting these custom dollies featuring a V superstructure lined with soft poly rollers to cradle, cushion and rotate the pipes for safe transport. Three dollies are used to haul each pipe, while ratchet straps provide extra stability. A receiver-style hitch on all four sides makes towing in any direction a breeze.

Quick. Put these specs in your pipe and smoke ‘em:

  • Description: Custom Pipe Dolly w/ V Superstructure
  • Capacity: 6,750 lbs.
  • Deck Size: 48" x 48"
  • Running gear - (4) S-7516-SPRT-4SL-FB Ground Support casters
  • Couplers: Receiver style hitch on all four sides
  • Other:
    • Soft poly cradle rollers: (8) W-630-SPB-3/4
    • Ratchet strap over for secure load
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In space, the only thing that screams is Hamilton quality trailers

3/6/2019 9:40 AM  RssIcon

Hamilton is no stranger to supporting aerospace systems, and this custom trailer we designed for a global leader in spacecraft and communication systems is no exception. The ask: Deliver a truck that’s reliable, safe and tough enough to transport special panels in the satellite assembly process.

Shock isolators at all four corners provide impact dampening for an unbelievably smooth ride. For safety, we conducted proof loading and designed the frame to withstand three times the actual 10,000-pound load. Critical welds were also masked off and left unpainted to allow for ongoing visual inspection.

Ground control to the major specs:

  • Capacity: 10,000 lbs.
  • Deck Size: 102" wide x 104-5/8" long
  • Deck Configuration: All welded structural steel "H" shaped frame with narrowed mid section-for improved access
  • Steering Type: Swivel caster style – reversible tow
  • Running gear: Four Maxi-Duty Series swivel casters, each with 12” diameter x 4”-wide Nylast wheels fitted with ball bearings. Each caster to be fitted with position lock and Ergo-ZB-style foot activated brake
  • Couplers: Removable extended length tongue with towing eye that can be attached on both trailer end frames
  • 4 swivel jacks (1 at each frame corner)
  • Shock isolator supports at all 4 corners
  • 4 leveling feet (1 at each corner)
  • 2 lashing rings on each side frame (4 total)
  • Stenciling & Marking: Capacity stenciled on both side frames
  • Finish: White epoxy
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We call this customer's trailer “Black Magic”

12/2/2018 7:00 PM  RssIcon

They say a trailer of beauty is a joy forever. In this case, it’s also one tough material handler.

Check out this sleek custom number we created for a ag equipment manufacturing facility. Used to haul large, heavy tractor components over tough terrain, its deck is mastered from smooth sheet steel welded over a structural steel frame and center supports. Because the carts have to travel over rough gravel and asphalt between buildings, the axles are an extra heavy-duty version of a Hamilton standard, while rugged solid pneumatic wheels provide extra shock absorption. Tapered roller bearings ensure great towing power for miles each day. And the knuckle steering gives them the superior trailability of an auto-steer trailer, while keeping the deck height as low as possible.

“Hamilton products are consistent in their quality,” said our distributor Scott Smith from Barron Equipment, which provides material handling and manufacturing equipment to leading industrial manufacturers. “Our clients expect that. Downtime from failed parts is a productivity killer in an assembly line. We’ve found Hamilton to be a great strategic partner in helping us deliver for our customers.”


Here are the reliable specs:

  • Description: Four-wheel auto-steer trailer
  • Capacity: 6,000 lbs.
  • Deck Size: 84" wide x 180" long x 16-3/4" high
  • Deck Material: Smooth sheet steel
  • Steering Type: Two-wheel auto steering connected by drag line for four-wheel steering
  • Running gear: Four W-1650-SPRT-1-1/4 solid pneumatic wheels complete with tapered roller bearings
  • Couplers: Removable look-type towing tongue with quick release pins to allow tongue to be used at either end of trailer Rear: None
  • Finish: Black
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This is the Jason Voorhees* of trucks

11/2/2018 7:00 PM  RssIcon

It’s official. High heat products are flying off the shelves at Hamilton—and demand is spilling over to our custom jobs like molten lava. Take a project we did with one of the world’s biggest energy leaders. They tapped us to design and engineer a high heat trailer to cook transformers in an oven, prior to being carted out and painted.

To make this cart capable of withstanding a scorching 350 degrees Fahrenheit, we had to do three things:

  • Ensure our standard grease temperature requirements were up to snuff (they were) and wouldn’t turn to liquid
  • Replace the trailer’s fifth wheel, which is typically made out of Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMW), with Teflon
  • Update with a high-heat-compatible paint

It’s interesting that the customer insisted on using phenolic wheels instead of steel. Plastic phenolic wheels are gentle on floors, but not very long-lasting in the high-heat game. Floor protection was important enough to them that they were willing to exchange out the inexpensive wheels periodically with use.

Tread softly. But carry a smokin’ stick.

  • XT3068
  • Description: High-heat trailer
  • Capacity: 50,000 lbs.
  • Deck Size: 66” wide x 96” long x 18-5/8” to top of deck
  • Deck Material: Steel
  • Steering Type: Four-wheel steer
  • Running Gear: Dual 12” x 4” phenolic wheels with 1-1/4” tapered bearings. Wheels will be considered a wear item and may be replaced on an ongoing basis, due to phenolic wheels maximum operating temperature of 250 degrees F.
  • Couplers: Loop-type towing tongue
  • Stenciling & Marking: 50,000 lbs. capacity stenciled on the side of trailer
  • Color: Safety yellow
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This custom dolly glides like a dream

10/30/2018 2:44 PM  RssIcon

If you know the trippy movie Inception, you know that the characters carry totems to make sure they don’t stumble into another character’s dream. One character’s totem is a weighted red die. Another is a spinning tractricoid. Only the totem’s owner knows its distinct weight, balance and feel. If they get caught into someone else’s dream, the totem will feel slightly off in their hands (and the bad guys win).

Why are we babbling about totems? Because we recently produced a custom truck designed to transport a 10,000-pound totem, that’s why. A global satellite provider needed an application to transport proof masses—large metal pieces with known weights used to calibrate instruments.


Mouseover to enlarge. Dolly shown in its casters removed state. Casters can be seen separately in the background

With four swivel casters featuring Ergo-Glide mold on polyurethane wheels, this truck repels foreign objects and debris with quiet vigilance. The caster assemblies are removable so the deck can be stored without putting weight on the casters. Simply jack it up, remove the casters, set it back down, and it’s sleepy time until the next totem ride.

Can you imagine the kind of dreams this truck has? Huge!

Here are the tech specs:

  • Description: Proof mass transport dolly
  • Capacity: 10,000 pounds
  • Deck Size: 110" wide x 135" long
  • Deck Height: Approximately 13"
  • Deck Material: Smooth steel
  • Steering Type: Swivel caster style
  • Running Gear: 4 swivel casters with position locks and 10" diameter Ergo Glide mold-on polyurethane wheels fitted with precision ball bearings. Casters to be mounted on outriggers that are bolted to the side of the dolly frame.
  • Superstructure: None
  • Couplers: Pusher bracket mounting assemblies welded on both front and rear end frames
  • Other:
    • Lifting rings at all 4 corners - to lift empty dolly only
    • 12 tie down rings - 4 on each side frame and 2 on each end frame
    • 4 bolt-on hand operated jacks
    • Side entry fork guides
    • 8 holes in deck with weld nuts on the underside to allow use of 3/4" bolts
  • Finish: Safety yellow epoxy
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Hamilton trailers help search and destroy on land and at sea

8/29/2018 2:40 PM  RssIcon

When we think of submarines, we think of stealth, strategy and The Hunt for Red October. Submarines are just plain cool, which is why Hamilton was pretty pumped to design a custom engineered trailer used to transport cranes that hoist remote control submarines in and out of the water at a naval shipyard.

Apparently, the U.S. Navy is busy building remote control subs that can run extended underwater tours of duty without a crew. These robotic warriors can carry out all sorts of top-secret combat missions while still performing the same search and rescue, surveillance and minesweeping assignments that today require manned warships.

The trailer, which travels between storage and dock, measures more than 23 feet long and 10 feet wide and boasts a 70,000-pound payload.

Hamilton Trailers: Always Ready to Sneak Attack Your Heaviest and Most Complex Design Challenges.

Discover the sly specs:

  • Description: Winch "A" frame transport trailer
  • Capacity: 70,000 pounds
  • Deck Size: 124" wide X 284" long
  • Deck Height: Approximately 28"
  • Deck Material: 1/2" thick smooth steel plate
  • Steering Type: 4 wheel auto style - reversible tow
  • Running Gear: Eight dual mounted 18" diameter X 8 wide press-on polyurethane wheels with tapered bearings
  • Couplers:
    • Front: Tongue with towing eye
    • Rear: Tongue with towing eye
    • Other: Load containment tabs on all 4 frame sides
    • Stenciling & Marking: Capacity stenciled on both side frames
    • Finish: Safety yellow epoxy for corrosion resistance in the outdoor salt air environment

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Transport trailer travels soft, dies hard

7/30/2018 2:43 PM  RssIcon

We don’t always need to lead with behemoth strength or super cool ergonomics when it comes to our custom trailers. Sometimes, it’s the quiet ones that make the biggest impact.

To build this multi-use component transport truck for a leading land clearing company in Minnesota, Hamilton spec’d a wood deck designed to protect painted parts and keep cargo secure. The trailer is being used to haul a large assortment of component parts indoors and out, so we chose Hamilton 18-inch pneumatic wheels for extra cushion and durability over rough Midwestern terrain.

With 4-wheel steer maneuverability, the deck is equipped with multiple recessed pockets for adding racks and/or pipe superstructures. A flat metal strap along the side frames protects the pockets from unplanned collisions and doubles as a way to tie down the load, too. And thanks to its reversible tow, steering’s a breeze at either end.

A special shout out to Toyota Lift of Minnesota for their trust in Hamilton carts and trailers to get the job done right.

Here are the tech specs:

  • XT2989
  • Description: Component Transport Trailer
  • Capacity: 5,000 lbs.
  • Deck Size: 52" wide x 126" long
  • Deck Height: 27-1/2"
  • Deck Material: Smooth steel sheet covered with 3/4" thick exterior grade plywood. Bolt heads are countersunk below the surface of the plywood deck
  • Steering Type: 4-wheel reversible
  • Running Gear: 18" diameter solid pneumatic tires mounted on steel rims bolted to steel hubs fitted with tapered roller bearings
  • Superstructure:
    • 2 removable U-shaped racks on each side and 1 on each end (6 total per trailer) constructed of 1" pipe and approximately 42" wide
    • Top of the racks are 24" above the deck and include 1 intermediate cross member per rack.
    • Solid round inserts in the legs provide added strength
  • Couplers: Tongue with towing eye on each end

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The customer wanted what? How our engineers solve tricky asks

7/27/2018 2:44 PM  RssIcon

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, Man, how do those incredibly talented engineers at Hamilton do it day in and day out? To be sure, we pride ourselves on spec-ing to your wildest caster and wheel requirements. But that doesn’t mean we make dreams come true without tackling some thorny design challenges.

So we thought it might be fun to grill Hamilton engineering master and commander John Yater about one of his spicier problem-solving projects.

The Challenge:

  • Cart type: Structural Steel Transport Trailer
  • Load capacity: 30,000 lbs.
  • Deck size: 96” x 360”
  • Deck height: 30.5”
  • Steer type: 4 Wheel Reversible Auto Steer
  • Model Number: XT3038

Revolution blog: What was the project and how did it make your life interesting?
Yater: We were asked to create a transport trailer for a steel company that needed to haul large, long, heavy building beams. There were a lot of challenging requirements out of the gate, but as the project wore on, more challenges arose.

Revolution: Such as?
Yater: For starters, the application needed as low a trailer deck as possible, but it also required the largest diameter wheels possible. These two things usually counteract each other.

Revolution: Why a low deck and why such big wheels?
Yater: To get the best performance, we needed a low deck both because the beams have a high center of gravity and because they’re so long they can extend beyond the length of the trailer. We were told the trailers would be traveling across rough concrete floors, so we also needed the largest possible wheels to run smoothly over those floor irregularities.

Revolution: So how do you solve for that?
Yater: Typically, we would suggest a lowboy trailer with a drop deck to accommodate taller loads for extra clearance. But that didn’t work for this customer because their loads were so much longer than the cart. We ended up creating a composite beam for the trailer by welding together two pieces of an i-beam and created bracing to distribute the load weight evenly. The beam is 18” tall at its center, but only 4” tall at the end. Once everything with the composite beam worked mechanically, we had also had to look at hot spots during Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and add bracing to redistribute the stress areas more evenly.

Revolution: Why did you choose 4-wheel reversible auto steering?
Yater: The beam loads are so tall, so stability is important. Auto steer allows you to keep the wheels under the cart corners and keep everything secure. But 4-wheel auto steer also requires a lot of linkage underneath the trailer. Because of this trailer’s low deck height (30.5 inches)—in combination with the beam heights and dimensional constraints—we didn’t have a lot of room underneath the cart to fit all the linkage.

Revolution: How did you fit everything in?
Yater: We fabricated a drag link with openings and ran the other four different linkages through. It was very challenging because we had less than a quarter inch clearance between all the different components. We had to shoehorn everything in. I probably spent the good portion of the day trouble-shooting for clearance issues.

Revolution: Wow. That sounds like painstaking work.
Yater: It was definitely interesting. Also, because positioning all the components underneath was so critical to reduce stress, we had to be very strict about our weld sizes and positioning—that’s usually more forgiving on other projects. Also, because the drag link was so long from front to back, deflection was an issue. So we plasma cut holes through the frame link and put rollers underneath to provide support. This also isn’t something we normally have to do.

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We crushed it designing this tomato trailer

6/28/2018 2:52 PM  RssIcon

We never used to think about all the delicious ways tomatoes add flavor to our lives: Tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomato juice, chutney, bruschetta, gazpacho, ketchup, cocktail sauce, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, taco sauce, picante sauce—it’s an exhaustive list worthy of Forrest Gump dialogue.

But then the country’s largest privately-owned tomato processor hired Hamilton to custom build trailers for hauling their precious love apples. And suddenly tomatoes were all we could think about.

The ask: Design a special cart that can not only move tomato paste cans from production to shipping, but also transport fresh tomatoes from an outside railcar area to an indoor processing plant.

The solution: This Four-Wheel Steer workhorse with hardwood deck to get the job done. Why hardwood instead of steel, you ask? There are a few reasons:

  • Wood decks provides more friction so loads have less tendency to slide on turns and ramps
  • Wood decks provide a softer surface that shock absorbs and protects the load better than steel
  • Wood decks provide a much quieter ride than steel

Canned or fresh, here’s our winning recipe for summer’s precious cargo:

  • Description: Four-Wheel Steer Trailer
  • Capacity: 6,500 lbs.
  • Deck Size: 49" wide x 96" long
  • Deck Material: Hardwood
  • Steering Type: Four Wheel Steer
  • Running Gear: W-1650-SPRT-1-1/4 wheels with reinforced hubs
  • Couplers: Loop-Type Towing Tongue with Pintle Hitch Welded at the Rear
  • Color: Painted Red
  • Maximum Trailers Per Train: 3
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We don’t want to brag, but this custom trailer is a triple threat

5/30/2018 2:52 PM  RssIcon

Sure, you can slap a coat of lipstick on any trailer and make it look good. But the real magic comes from within.

In the case of this Valve & Actuator Transfer Cart, it’s the full package. Brains, brawn and beauty. We just love everything about her.

The Brains

Our customer, a multinational energy corporation, needed a special cart to transport and store a valve body and hydraulic actuator on an offshore oil rig in an area without crane access.

We custom designed the cart’s cradle and pedestal to accommodate the customer’s specific valve body and actuator. Both the cradle and pedestal are removable and reversible—able to be mounted on either the front or rear of the cart.

The Brawn

With a payload of 5,000 pounds, the cart features a protective coating on all parts that can stand up to salty air common in offshore environments.

The Beauty

The rigid, 6” x 3” solid bronze wheels are a true stunner, but they’re also designed to prevent sparking from flammable oil. An eye-catching safety yellow coat of paint ensures this beauty won’t get overlooked on the job.

Behold her bewitching specs:

  • Description: Valve & Actuator Transfer Cart per customer supplied specifications and drawings
  • Capacity: 5,000 pounds
  • Deck Size: 30" wide X 60" long
  • Deck Height: 9-5/8”
  • Deck Material: Smooth steel
  • Running Gear: 4 rigid casters with 6" diameter X 3" wide bronze non-sparking wheels fitted with sealed precision ball bearings
  • Superstructure: 1 removable "A" style push handle on one end
  • Couplers: Two CP00050-P winch attachment eyes - 1 on each end frame
  • Stencils and Markings: "Safe Working Load 5,000 Pounds" stenciled on each side frame
  • Finish: Safety Yellow Epoxy
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