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Looking for rollers to add to a trolley


Stuart91
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Although I'm making quite a lot of assumptions based on the info here, it seems to me that the micro-problem is created by the solution. This is because all the individual parts of this have solved before e.g decks on wheels, using ramps to get large wheeled things into vehicles, etc.

 

Lighting meatracks are regularly shoved up and down often quite steep truck ramps without getting stuck or grounding out. This is due to having central wheels but more importantly experienced handlers. However, even a fully loaded meatrack is not as heavy and unwieldy as a trolley full of SkimpyDeck or whatever lightweight deck goes on those trolleys. Plus, the persons required to get a really lumpy meatrack loaded is realistically four.

 

Decks are routinely stored and moved on wheels. And toured in vehicles.

 

Vans can be loaded using quite shallow ramps, including the installed folding 1-user type.

 

One example from I was touring lumpy steeldeck on smaller shows without mechanical handling, the decks sat flat on wheels or rolling riser in the vehicle and then were handballed onto another set of wheels conveniently placed the correct side of any obstacles like door frames. The thing is, while a nice trolley design like this works well in a venue that just need a single person to be able to wheely their decks out of storage into the main space, adding vehicles and different levels to the equation makes the trolley the wrong solution. I can think of loads of different in-house solutions to stuff like this that I never want to use as soon as a few doorways, steps and a truck are involved. This includes anything where the decks are stored on-edge as it looks like they are in the picture.

 

Rather than looking for skids etc. I'd look again at the system of work and how the existing solution fits in - and where it doesn't. It could be as simple as the decks travelling strapped in the van with the trolley on top (Belgian-style, as it's called in some quarters), to be the first thing out at the venue. :)

Edited by indyld
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There's a wealth of different ideas and suggestions here - thanks for all the fodder.

 

We're using a low loader type Luton van for most deck deliveries, so the height difference isn't nearly as much as you'd get on a standard Transit or Sprinter panel van. With an 8ft ramp, it's a relatively easy push.

 

The whole trolley plan was devised to avoid the manual handling involved with hand-balling individual decks around. We'd done enough of that in 2019 that everyone was keen to find a way around it. Trolleys also minimise double-handing, we were getting frustrated emptying decks individually so a van could be used for something else, only to be loading them back up again a day or two later.

 

I know it's a contrary opinion, but we all find storing decks vertically on trolleys far easier than flat. One aspect is the clearance required for doors and ramps. (I can also think of a couple of venues we visit regularly where these trolleys would fit around a wheelchair ramp into the building, but flat decks wouldn't)

I also find it far easier lifting deck on and off a trolley in the vertical position. Flat decks need to be lined up perfectly, it's easy to squash fingers on anything other than steel/litedeck, and I hate stooping down to lift the lower ones.

There's definitely situations where flat deck suits better, more power to anyone who chooses to do it that way. Just doesn't work for us.

 

I think we'll experiment with moving the castor positions, possibly using two pairs of smaller but fixed castors evenly spaced from the centre. Thanks to Sunray for that idea.

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8 x 6 lamp bar lighting meatracks are 90 inches by 60 inches, so assuming your decks are 8 feet long, than about the same footprint as your trollies.

 

They almost always have 6 castors. Yes, you do get the front set going up in the air and then the rear set as you go over the top of the ramp. The key is to accept this behaviour and control it.

 

I have loaded literally thousands of meatracks over the years and you always try and have three or four people to load them safely. One or two pushers who follow it up the ramp, and two guiders who stand on the floor either side of the ramp. The guiders help stop any sideways movement and can give an extra push to get over the "hump" at the top of the ramp.

 

The other important thing is to have good sides to the ramp to stop it wandering sideways. PICTURE.

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The other important thing is to have good sides to the ramp to stop it wandering sideways. PICTURE.

 

That's the exact model of ramp that we have. :)

 

The problem I've found is that swivelling castors will jam against the sides, there doesn't seem to be an issue with the trolley itself rolling off.

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How long is PTFE likely to last?

 

I think you'll get better life out of HDPE or UHMW

 

. The obvious answer is to add another set of castors in the centre, which is what we've done.

 

The problem now is that one end of the trolley sticks way up in the air whilst it balances on the other four castors. You end up reaching an awkward tipping point when the middle castors reach the top of the ramp, then it comes back down with a worrying thump. This makes the operation quite hard to control, and castors can also swivel unhelpfully and either snag the edges of the ramp or try to escape entirely.

 

 

 

The simple answer is to add 2 additional sets of castors in the middle, totally 8 castors.

 

This way, you get a third of the trolly sticking up in the air, but as you go over the lip of the ramp, the 4 central wheels stay on the ramp so you don't get a tipping point... you get a smooth transition.

 

Yes it's that simple... just do 4 pairs not 3.

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Totally moot for the OP, but for anyone reading this thread that is not yet initiated in stacking Litedeck or similar extrusion based lightweight decks horizontally the normal method is to stack them upside down. This means that the top deck is easy to put down and pick up with no risk of trapping your fingers AND ready to leg-up on top of the stack and easily flipped the right way up under its own weight. The fitted legs make for a great additional handhold and no stooping when lifting, only to add/remove the legs.

 

Personal preference obviously, but as someone who has had back problems since they were 19 and yet managed to chuck shows in and out of everywhere and anywhere for over two decades (nearly 3, I'm just a lazy bastard), the only thing worse than lifting and shifting decks on-edge is lifting and shifting decks on-edge with an inexperienced partner. You soon work out which of the local crew are 'the ones', and who is the noob and is gonna injure you from 2440mm away. Always time your turn at the stack to coincide with the former. ;-)

 

The other thing I don't like about decks on edge, other than for one-person dragging in the truck, is their centre of mass is often too high when in group and I've seen so many crew get squashed by a cluster of decks that have gone over on the dancefloor of a trailer.

Edited by indyld
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The problem I've found is that swivelling castors will jam against the sides, there doesn't seem to be an issue with the trolley itself rolling off.

 

That's what the people either side of the ramp are for.

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The simple answer is to add 2 additional sets of castors in the middle, totally 8 castors.

 

This way, you get a third of the trolly sticking up in the air, but as you go over the lip of the ramp, the 4 central wheels stay on the ramp so you don't get a tipping point... you get a smooth transition.

 

Yes it's that simple... just do 4 pairs not 3.

 

Hmmm...

How about fitting 4 extra casters just each side of balance point but not so close they jam on each other, get to the point of only 4 casters on the van and the trolly will start tipping and then the whole weight will be taken on the other 4 on the ramp.

 

I think the extras need to be close together, otherwise there is too much weight to lift or hold down.

 

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Thanks, gents. I think the "four extra castors" route is the way to go, at least as an experiment.

 

I'm still undecided between the extra castors being swivelling ones, the same size as the castors on the corners, or whether I go with smaller, fixed castors that won't be in contact with the ground the rest of the time. My hunch is that fixed castors will do a better job of keeping straight on the ramp.

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Thanks, gents. I think the "four extra castors" route is the way to go, at least as an experiment.

 

I'm still undecided between the extra castors being swivelling ones, the same size as the castors on the corners, or whether I go with smaller, fixed castors that won't be in contact with the ground the rest of the time. My hunch is that fixed castors will do a better job of keeping straight on the ramp.

 

Just to emphasise that at several moments the ENTIRE weight of the trolley will be held on just two of those castors so make sure they are rated sufficiently. If you've got 100kg castors on the 4 corners now then the middle ones need to be rated at 200kg each otherwise they will fail and you will be left with a broken trolley jammed on your ramp. generally speaking smaller castors are less strong than bigger ones so you are unlikely to find something substantially smaller but that still have appropriate strength.

Edited by ImagineerTom
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Thanks, gents. I think the "four extra castors" route is the way to go, at least as an experiment.

 

I'm still undecided between the extra castors being swivelling ones, the same size as the castors on the corners, or whether I go with smaller, fixed castors that won't be in contact with the ground the rest of the time. My hunch is that fixed castors will do a better job of keeping straight on the ramp.

 

Just to emphasise that at several moments the ENTIRE weight of the trolley will be held on just two of those castors so make sure they are rated sufficiently. If you've got 100kg castors on the 4 corners now then the middle ones need to be rated at 200kg each otherwise they will fail and you will be left with a broken trolley jammed on your ramp. generally speaking smaller castors are less strong than bigger ones so you are unlikely to find something substantially smaller but that still have appropriate strength.

An excellent point which I had missed. Furtunately swivelling casters tend to be rated at a lower SWL than non swivelling versions of the same size.

If the centre are fixed they really really have to be off the floor in 'normal' use otherwise you can't go round corners.

 

Edited by sunray
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Thanks, gents. I think the "four extra castors" route is the way to go, at least as an experiment.

 

I'm still undecided between the extra castors being swivelling ones, the same size as the castors on the corners, or whether I go with smaller, fixed castors that won't be in contact with the ground the rest of the time. My hunch is that fixed castors will do a better job of keeping straight on the ramp.

 

The trolleys I built several years ago (8ft long, for 4x 8x4 decks) were on 8 equal size swivel castors and I cannot say we ever had any problems pushing them up truck ramps or with them falling over.

 

They were relatively rudimentary, built by our flightcase manufacturer. Essentially a piece of 24mm plywood with 8 flightcase castors on the bottom and some UHMW strips on top for the decks to sit on, to save the wood. These things went on tours for months at a time and I never saw a broken one and never heard of one falling over etc. They were fine. I'll see if I can find any pictures. Alternatively I can put you in touch with the manufacturer so they can just build some for you, if that's easier.

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