The Next Generation of CasterSmiths

Celebrating Family Values & Our Next Generation

For years, we have been describing ourselves as the “Next Generation of Castersmiths.” While that refers to how we combine expert craftsmanship with the most advanced technology, it’s taken on a new and much more exciting meaning recently.

With Family Day this coming Monday and Algood’s 55th anniversary the day before, we thought it was the perfect time to introduce Elie Guttmann to the Algood community. Following in the footsteps of his father Craig Guttmann, Algood’s President and his grandfather Max Guttmann, Algood’s Founder, Elie is now literally the next generation of castersmiths.

Elie’s journey from a successful career in non-profit marketing to the world of caster and wheel production was fueled by a desire for new challenges and a shift from a digital to a tactile work environment. “Selling products that are physically built is a gratifying experience,” says Elie, emphasizing his newfound appreciation for the manufacturing sector’s role in the economy.

Currently supporting the U.S. sales effort, Elie is immersing himself in the intricacies of Algood’s product line, aiming to understand every caster, wheel, component, and configuration. His grandfather’s determination and success are an ongoing source of pride and inspiration. He has dedicated himself to following in his grandfather’s footsteps with aspirations of eventually contributing to Algood’s leadership team.

Elie’s focus on marketing-centered projects has been evident, particularly in the redesign of Algood’s website. With a keen eye for detail, he invested countless hours conceptualizing, developing, and implementing the new design, now channelling his efforts into optimizing the website’s performance as a marketing tool.

Craig sees this generational collaboration as invigorating. He appreciates Elie’s fresh ideas and unique perspectives, especially noting his contributions to the catalogue and website. “We are a unique manufacturer and needed just the right website to tell our story, and Elie nailed it,” says Craig, emphasizing the importance of innovative marketing in showcasing Algood’s uniqueness.

Craig acknowledges that certain aspects of the business can only be learned through experience. “There are things you can’t possibly learn at school—assessing ROI, how and when to take risks and how to practically understand engineering all have to be learned by making mistakes,” he asserts.

A large part of what sets Algood apart is the values that come from being a family-owned enterprise. “We still hold close to my father’s values in how we operate this company,” Craig relates. “That makes having a third generation working in the company even more meaningful.”

This represents a promising new chapter for Algood. Elie is helping to fuel our growth through fresh perspectives and well-honed skills. Craig and his brother Sean, VP of Manufacturing, see the renewed energy that Elie’s innovative ideas, optimism, and excitement are infusing into the company. And, they are confident that Elie will uphold the cherished family values that have propelled Algood’s triumphs for over five decades. In the months and years ahead, we are certain you will hear much more about Elie’s contributions to Algood’s success as our dynamic “next generation of castersmiths.”

Caster University: To Determine Capacity Start with Weight

To Determine Capacity Start with Weight

Weight is one of the things that we don’t like to talk about, but when it comes to determining the capacity of a caster, it’s a must-have discussion. At first, calculating the required capacity of a caster would seem simple. Start with the weight of the equipment to which the casters are being fastened. Divide by four, and Bob’s your uncle.

But not so fast. There are lots of other considerations.

Load Weight. It’s not just the weight of the equipment that you have to think about. You must also include the weight of whatever is going in or on the equipment. And this isn’t a time to be modest about weight. Be sure to calculate the absolute maximum load that the equipment will carry.

Floor Surface. An uneven surface means that all four casters will not touch the floor at the same time, which means that a smaller number of casters will bear the load. Your capacity calculation must be based on the minimum number of casters that will be in contact with the floor at any time.

Wheel Selection. To reduce noise, avoid marking or provide a smoother ride, customers often choose soft tread wheels, like rubber and polyurethane. But here’s the thing. Those wheels generate more surface friction making a piece of equipment harder to move. The solution is to select casters with higher capacity.

Movement. A caster’s specified capacity usually assumes movement at a walking speed – up to 3 miles or 4.8 kilometres per hour. However, if your equipment is moving faster than that, let’s say as part of a towline, the caster’s capacity will be reduced. That’s because increased speed leads to increased wheel temperature and greater friction. Also, many starts and stops also increase surface friction and require casters with greater capacity.

Caster Components. Many components impact capacity. The choice of bearings, for example, can offset capacity requirements by increasing a caster’s rollability. In addition, using a stem will increase the capacity requirement by 25%. Be sure to discuss the effect of components when specifying a caster.

Practical Wisdom – Divide by Three. After almost 60 years in the caster business, we have lots of practical wisdom – particularly regarding capacity. So, here’s a gem that you should keep in mind. When calculating capacity, divide the load weight by three, not four. That creates a 33% safety allowance to account for uneven surfaces or unforeseen stops and starts. It may cost a little more but it will keep your employees safe, protect your investment in what is being transported, reduce maintenance costs, spare you a ton of aggravation and may even save a bundle of money in the long run.

For much more information about capacity, contact your local Algood representative or a member of our customer service team. Just remember that when you’re talking about capacity, it’s not a time to be shy about weight.

For help choosing the caster that best meets your needs, contact your Algood Sales Rep or reach out to our customer service team by email or by phone at +1 (800) 254-6633.

Mixed Signals

Here in Toronto, as we enter the third quarter, the weather has turned dramatically colder. It feels like autumn. That may be the clearest signal facing us. The economy, global politics, the caster industry and even our own customers are all sending mixed signals. You are likely facing some of the same unpredictability. In the spirit of offering our customers and colleagues some insight, here’s what we see and what we’re doing about it.

Higher interest rates are continuing to have an impact. The cost of capital investments has become prohibitive to some and potentially destructive to others. In our own business, we had the foresight to delay some planned projects and the acquisition of equipment. We will be fine but some of our affiliated companies as well as some of our customers are in precarious positions. With the potential for even higher interest rates, the economy remains hard to read.

The labour market has become much tighter. It’s really hard to get well-qualified employees with specialized skill sets. We have decided that we’re not going to feel pressured and settle for second best. For example, it recently took us months and countless candidates to hire a superb electrician. Other businesses may not be in the position to wait for the right talent.

On the positive side, supply chains are strong. Prices of raw materials and other production inputs have steadied. That’s allowing us to effectively plan for 2024 by securing our supply chains and ensuring that our manufacturing capability remains dependable.

However, the price of oil is precarious. Current events in the Middle East have the potential to put dramatic upward pressure on the cost of oil. That, in turn, could have cascading effects on supply chains.

The move toward reshoring is growing. We continue to receive calls from customers who want to reduce or eliminate their offshore purchasing and replace it with North American-made materials. In fact, our orders from customers specifically switching to materials made in North America have increased significantly.

Many of our customers have ambitious plans for 2024 and that is fueling our research, design and engineering efforts. Our R&D initiatives are progressing very well. We expect to introduce a number of new casters in the coming year.

Despite the uncertainty, we recently introduced a new website and are committed to continuously enhancing our online presence through greater CAD functionality and more resources for our customers. Our online catalogues are continuously updated so that you can always get up-to-date product information. We are constantly seeking to improve the user experience on the website. Please share any feedback.

These mixed signals make it very hard to predict what will happen with the economy and the caster industry in the coming months and into 2024. But we are certain that if we continuously improve our integrated manufacturing facility in Toronto and maintain our commitment to outstanding design and engineering, we can’t go wrong. More importantly, we know that our success will be guaranteed by keeping our customers at the centre of everything we do.

What are the mixed signals you are seeing in your businesses? Take a moment and let me know. Who knows. Together, we might be able to make both our companies stronger.

On a more personal note, I want to thank all of you who have called or emailed with your kind messages about what is happening in Israel. With many relatives and friends in Israel, the current events weigh heavily on me and my family here. Your wishes and concerns are comforting.

1 (800) 254-6633

Algood Casters has manufactured, designed and developed industrial and specialty casters, brakes and wheels since 1969, in capacities from 25 to 65,000 lbs.