The right sized trolley for each job
The humble glass trolley is one of the most used items in a glass factory, and is essential for meeting health and safety requirements, has the ability to dramatically improve factory efficiencies if used correctly, and is often one of the most poorly constructed and maintained items in the factory.
Here I'll focus on the right trolley for the right job. The right trolley is one which is sized for the glass items it carries. Overhangs are a health and safety concern for staff and lead to breakages, wastage, and rework. The point here is that most factories benefit from a range of trolley sizes and designs. Just because one trolley is right for one job doesn't mean it should be standardised on across the factory. Factory managers should identify the types of jobs and glass items which require specialist trolley and equip the factory with these. The benefits will come.
The castors at the base of the trolley are one of the most important features and often overlooked. Features to consider on a good castor for the glass and window industry are :
1. Large enough to roll over debris such as shelled glass, aluminium or PVC swarf (shavings), wrapping and dunnage as found in glass and window factories. 160mm (6 inches) is a minimum.
2. A hard plastic wheel which provides a softer ride but is not subject to puncture or picking up glass and other sharp fragments.
3. A rating to suit the load. All quality castors have a manufacturers load rating.
4. Ease of maintenance through grease nipples to lube the bearings and bolt on design for ease of replacement
5. A range of design options such as fixed, swivel, and braked swivel.
6. Proven track record of long life and reliability.
The bearing surface is that part of the trolley which the payload of glass and/or windows leans against. Glass is easily scratched or shelled which makes it worthless, so keeping the glass in pristine condition within the factory environment is vital, and difficult.
Key attributes for the bearing surface of a glass and/or window trolley are :
1. Soft to the touch. A hard surface will chatter and potentially damage the glass or windows as the trolley is wheeled over uneven surfaces.
2. Not carpet or foam. These products will hold debris and swarf and then rub against the glass and/or windows. The bearing surface needs to be difficult to penetrate.
4. Not slippery. The surface should hold the product.
5. Locked in place. Items which are glued in place will often come loose and the nature of most factories is that these trolleys can have sections of bearing surface missing for some time before they are replaced. An inserted section is better.
6. Long life. A product which wears or changes its consistency (such as becoming brittle) is useless.
There are very few products which meet this spec. Riveted neoprene rubber has proved to be brilliant in all the areas listed above.