When you think about wheels, rubber is one of the first thing that pops into mind. For almost a century, rubber compounds have been used for almost all automotive wheels. Something thought about less frequently, however, is wheels which are not used for automobiles.
This category of wheels is exponentially more diverse than what is offered for vehicles, and the requirements of these wheels is equally expansive. Polyurethane has risen to the top as an indispensable material for all sorts of wheel applications, and are even making their way into the automotive sector.
Demanding and diverse environments
Stated by urethane manufacturers, after steel and rubber being the main 2 materials in wheel construction for so long, Polyurethanes had an uphill battle when it came to proving itself as a usable material for wheel applications. Amazing resistance to oils and chemicals quickly made urethane wheels something to be reckoned with.
Harsh industrial environments in the mining sectors quickly adapted the use of urethane wheels, as they would not degrade in the caustic environments that were typical in the mines of the past. Resistance to moisture allowed for solid urethane wheels to be used for naval applications where conventional wheels would rust over time.
Bulk transport ships have used them ship-deck doors due to their unparalleled resilience to seafaring environments. The world largest elevators have used polyurethane wheels due to excellent shock absorbing properties, and longevity.
A broad range of customization
Being a molded part, Polyurethane wheels can take on a limitless amount of shapes and sizes, and can perfectly designed to suit an application. Hard polyurethanes make for great caster wheels that can support extreme loads, and also roll much quieter the steel equivalents. Urethane wheels have been used in athletics for many years, and are present in many modern-day workout devices like weight machines, and elliptical trainers.
Skateboard and roller blade wheels have been made almost exclusively from urethane for the last 3 decades. Each of these applications requires a special profile be given to the shape of the wheel, and has been uniquely developed to perform as well is possible for the specific application. Softer compounds can be used for increased grip and shock absorbing properties.
They can also be made in any color which adds a degree to customizability of these wheels. Urethane wheels can be used in high RPM applications, and can be easily balanced if needed.
Urethane outlasts rubber in almost every application
The superior chemical resistance of polyurethanes means they can excel in applications where rubber would quickly fail. Environments can contain harsh chemicals which degrade rubber, and for these operations, urethane is indispensable. The diversity of the material allows for hard urethane hubs to be used in place of traditional metallic hubs, which is great for areas where metal contamination is detrimental.
The paper and food industries have seen huge benefit by pursuing the implementation of polymer wheel solutions. Reduce downtime, and increase the reliability of your project by working with polyurethane for your wheel solutions.