Product Review: Rotacaster Omni-Directional Wheels
Posted on July 12, 2022 | in Ergonomics
VelocityEHS Ergonomist Josiah Allen interviews Peter McKinnon of Rotacaster and Steve Bakich of Magnus Mobility Systems about these omni-directional wheels that reduce push and pull forces in carts, conveyors, and other wheeled equipment.
Josiah: Hi, I’m Josiah Allen, a certified ergonomist with Humantech (now VelocityEHS Ergonomics), and today I’m joined by Peter from Rotacaster and Steve from Monroe Magnus. We’re going to discuss the Rotacaster.
So, the Rotacaster, as you can see, is wheels. But instead when you implement them on a cart or device, having to rely on a swivel wheel in different directions, these stay in line but still offer lateral and omnidirectional movement. Would you mind telling us a little bit more?
Peter: Yeah, sure. The Rotacaster itself, I think the key difference is that instead of using a swivel, it uses rollers on the outer rim. So, it introduces the simplicity of a fixed wheel while maintaining a fixed orientation with the multi-directional capability of a swivel caster.
Josiah: Okay, great. Can you give us a couple of examples of where this has been used and where it continues to be used?
Yeah, when we first introduced the wheels, we needed an application to put them on, so we developed what we call the “Rota Truck,” which is a self-supporting hand truck that reduces the amount of effort in just about all the actions you do with a hand truck. And that has led to further development of special application hand trucks, which is a combination of productivity and safety.
Josiah: Great. When we spoke earlier, and you mentioned that the Rota Truck helps keep the load more above the wheels and also helps you get under products a lot easier when you’re using it.
Peter: Yeah, the key advantage is probably three. One, it reduces the pullback effort by about half. Once the load is pulled back, it actually fully supports the load, so the operator doesn’t have to carry the load, which is quite useful doing. And then, in addition, to negotiate obstructions such as curbs or deep palletizing goods, you can actually step up onto the platform and then lift the load up rather than hold it up backwards. That saves both time and a lot of effort.
Josiah: Yeah, yeah, very good. So, Steve, would you mind telling us a little bit about the use in conveyors?
Steve: Sure, what we’ve found is that it replaces the ball transfer, so you’re able to control the movement of whatever it is you’re moving, whether it’s a box or something else. What I like to say is that it will go north and south, east and west very easily, whereas the ball transfers go all over. So, you’re not dragging it across a standard conveyor roller. This is so much easier.
Josiah: Very good. So, if people are looking to get their hands on one of these, how do they go about that?
Peter: Yeah, sure. Monroe Magnus in the US is their master distributor, so they are located throughout the country.
Steve: They’re all over the place.
Josiah: Okay, good stuff. Any last comments? Anything else that you want people to know about?
Peter: I think, in closing, it’s probably simply that the Rotacaster has the ability to bring together 360-degree mobility. It gives back control and directional control to the users, so you’re not having to work that hard to move in a different direction.
Josiah: You can slide and move it around easily.
Peter: You can transfer your momentum in a direction just by turning a platform. If it’s a four-swivel cart, you actually have to arrest the momentum and recreate it in the new direction. So, we find in that environment, you maintain full 360-degree capability but with directional control.
Josiah: Awesome! Well, Peter and Steve, thank you very much for joining me. Again, we’ve been looking at the Rotacaster. I’m Josiah Allen. I’ll see you next time.