Roller skids make moving heavy loads much easier than struggling to slide or shove equipment, machinery and containers across a facility floor. No business that regularly moves large items should be without roller skids, but knowing what to purchase can be challenging for people who aren’t familiar with what roller skids are used for. If you’re wondering, “Should I buy roller skids?” then a roller skid buyer’s guide is a necessity.
What is a Roller Skid?
A roller skid is a small, low-profile transportation tool equipped with rollers or wheels. It slips under heavy objects and reduces drag or friction, allowing the material to be rolled instead of dragged. Roller skids significantly reduce friction, making movement much easier than sliding the load along the facility floor. They also greatly reduce the risk of floor damage.
Roller skids are also called machine rollers. They’re designed and fabricated in various configurations. The type of roller skids you’re buying depends on your needs and what kind of items you’re moving. Roller skids are available for small, light loads for machinery being moved in a fabrication shop all the way up to moving extremely heavy equipment in an industrial setting. Let’s explore roller skids further by looking at how they are used and what types and styles are available. Later, we will discuss the options and accessories available such as roller skid handles, complete kits and custom-built models.
Roller Skid Uses
Roller skids are used in a wide variety of settings and applications. They’re an economical solution for allowing large machines and other equipment to be moved about a workplace. Using roller skids gives you a reliable way of transporting heavy loads across different floor surfaces. Many businesses find roller skids extremely useful. Industries where roller skids are commonly used include:
- Machine shops
- Manufacturing facilities
- Industrial warehouses
- Printing outfits
- Hospital environments
- Aerospace industry
- Railroad operations
- Docks and long shoring
- National defense
- Power plants
- Chemical producers
- Off shore drilling
- Rigging professionals
- Used equipment sales
- Retail department stores
- House Movers
The list of roller skid uses goes on. You may fit into one of these groups, or you might have a unique use for roller skids. No matter your reason for purchasing a roller skid, one thing everyone has in common is they have items to move. Some loads are light but still can’t be manually lifted and relocated. Others are heavy and can’t possibly be moved without using roller skids.
At Cherry’s Industrial Equipment, we recognize your material handling challenges. One challenge is getting to know what roller skids are and how to use them. In this guide, we’ll examine the following concepts regarding roller skids: 1) Their design and use, 2) Their construction, 3) Their intended applications, and 4) Their safe and proper use.
Roller Skid Design and Application
Roller skids make moving heavy machinery, equipment and containers nearly effortless. They’re made to slip under your load and reduce drag forces from actually skidding your load across the shop floor. Roller skids use a combination of rollers that smoothly transport material rather than drag it. It’s a simple concept that’s been around for thousands of years making work easier, faster and far safer.
There are two main parts to a roller skid design: the steel frame and the rollers. Quality roller skids use high-strength steel in the frame. The frame’s thickness or gauge depends on the skid’s carrying capacity. Heavier loads naturally require a thicker and stronger steel gauge. But thickness isn’t the only defining rate for steel — tensile, or the actual strength of the steel itself, is also important. Simply put, tensile is the frame steel’s breaking point.
Roller design and composition are equally as significant as frame strength. Rollers also have thickness and tensile ratings, but their purpose is different. Frames are made to support the load's weight and then transfer it to the rollers that the frame houses. Rollers accept the load and transfer it to the facility surface. That can be any type of construction material. Consider these floor surfaces where roller skids are used:
- Concrete floors in machine shops
- Wood floors in warehouses
- Tile floors in aerospace factories
- Vinyl floors in hospitals
- Steel floors on drilling platforms
- Carpet floors in sales rooms
Each type of floor surface requires its own type of roller. Rollers act by dispersing the load weight evenly across the surface. The surface area a roller contacts is called its footprint — large rollers have a big footprint, while smaller rollers, of course, have a narrow footprint. The roller skid’s footprint determines how much pressure can be put on the floor. This affects how well the floor can stand up to the weight transfer.
Roller Skid Materials
Rollers have different designs and are made from different materials based on the type of surface they’re being used on. Each has their own application and purpose. Although roller skids are available in many sizes and carrying capacities, you have three basic choices in rollers themselves:
- Polyurethane rollers are often called poly or plastic rollers. They vary in size and capacity depending on the roller skid that they come with. Poly rollers are best for sensitive flooring surfaces like wood, tile, vinyl and carpet. They also have a limited weight capacity, so you often see poly rollers used in light to medium duty applications. Nylon is another roller material used in occasional applications since they’re well-suited for delicate floor surfaces.
- Steel rollers are available in light, medium and heavy-duty designs. Like roller skid frames, the steel used in roller manufacturing is chosen for design strength, which includes thickness and tensile. Big capacity steel rollers are thicker and have larger diameters than light-duty rollers. Their steel tensile or breaking point is also higher in heavy-duty applications. Steel rollers are best suited for concrete and steel floor surfaces.
- Chain rollers are another option available for higher capacity rigging applications. Roller chain skids are designed like miniature tanks to move heavy loads over hard and slightly uneven surfaces. Recommended surfaces for the chain roller skids includes concrete, gravel, or steel.
Using Roller Skids
When you’re shopping for roller skids, keep in mind how they’re intended to be used. They’re a simple device but, like other material handling tools, there are things to be aware of as it pertains to efficiently and safely using roller skids. Here are the basics:
- Movement: Roller skids are generally used for transporting loads and then being removed. With a few exceptions, they’re designed as a transport device, not as a permanent resting point for the moved item. Because roller skids reduce the vast majority of friction forces they ought not be used as permanent casters unless they are properly stabilized. Always take careful consideration to potential safety hazards prior to using roller skids.
- Placement: Roller skids are easy to place. With the use of a toe jack or ratchet jack lift each side or corner of the equipment or product you intend to move and strategically place each roller skid underneath. Make sure you have a stable placement for each of the roller skids. There should be no wobbling or unbalance of the load when all of the roller skids are in place. Keep in mind that all of the weight of your load is now being distributed by 3 or 4 depending on your configuration.
- Configuration: Roller skids can be configured beneath a load in various ways. Occasionally you may use two roller skids in tandem, but this could potentially be unstable. The most popular arrangement for moving equipment is using either the 3-Point or 4-Point Load Configuration. The three-point load includes either 2 single roller skids or 2 roller skids in tandem at the back of the load and a dolly style roller skid at the mid-center front portion of the load. Triangle placement is like a three-legged stool. The four-point load includes 4 single roller skids with one on each of the 4 corners of the base of the load. Always seek quality counsel to help you determine the best configuration for your specific rigging project.
- Height: Most roller skids have a low profile, meaning the height between the floor and the load platform is short. The closer to ground the less change will take place with respect to the center of gravity of the load. Heavy objects with high centers of gravity are generally unstable and therefore should be avoided to prevent any potential safety hazards.
- Slip Resistance: When using roller skids always consider the “coefficient of friction” or slip resistance of the surface of the loading platform. Some roller skids have spiked top metallic surfaces while others have grated top metallic surfaces. Many roller skids come with rubber-padded surfaces, which work well in preventing loads from slipping out of place. Depending on the type of equipment or load please make sure to understand how the base of the load should best be placed onto the roller skids.
Roller Skid Selection
Cherry’s Industrial Equipment offers you a wide selection of roller skids. We stock and distribute rollers skids that range from quality Economy to high-end Professional Grade roller skids. Our line of roller skids are made by leading manufacturers who use top quality steel for frames and the best designed and built rollers. We carry steel rollers when you need skids for durable floors and skids with polyurethane or nylon rollers for sensitive floors.
Cherry’s Industrial also has a range of roller skids to suit any type of load. We provide rollers for every weight capacity you need to transfer. Our small roller skids start at 2000-pound load capacity and range up to 30,000 pounds. Their rugged construction and high-quality construction ensure you’ll get a lifetime of trouble-free service from every roller skid size. Here are examples of our most popular roller skids for you to choose from:
- Mark 1P. This light-duty roller skid is rated at 2,500-pound capacity. It’s the right choice for moving lightweight loads around your facility floor. The Mark 1P has a polyurethane roller that protects your wood, vinyl, tile or carpeted floor. It also comes with a handy storage case. Consider using the Mark 1P in trio or quad applications to boost your carrying capacity.
- Mark 2P. This medium-capacity roller skid is rated at 5000 pounds of capacity. There are two polyethylene rollers in the Mark 2P, and both are equipped with shielded bearings that stop concerns of roller failure. It also has an extended product-life and double the weight capabilities of the smaller Mark 1P roller skid.
- Mark 12P. This is a heavy-duty roller skid. It can take up to 30,000 pounds on its 7-inch steel frame. That gives excellent support and well-distributed weight allowing for safe transport of heavy or bulky materials.
- RL2-10238. For a 4400-pound rated roller skid, this medium-duty material handling tool is versatile. It has a roller dolly designed to turn in a 360-degree radius making it ideal for tight places and transporting around corners.
- RL2-RL4W-11110. This roller skid has the same 360-degree swiveling ability as the RL2-10238 but gives a larger load bearing capacity. It’s rated to carry 11,000 pounds, making it ideal for most bigger equipment moving jobs.
Roller Skid Accessories and Kits
Cherry’s Industrial Equipment can supply you with more than roller skids. We make your material handling work even easier with roller skid accessories and kits. You can choose from buying individual roller skids or adding accessories like steering handles, connector bars, rubber swivel pads and storage containers. We even supply entire roller skid kits.
Roller skid steering handles are a must if you want to ease your strain when handling heavy goods. They’re essential tools to complete a roller skid’s task. Handles are designed to snap onto the roller skid and allow it to be hand-directed. Pulling a loaded roller skid is far more effective than pushing it. Being able to grab a handle and remain standing has much greater ergonomic safety than bending over and pushing the load.
Roller skid steering handles have excellent benefits and features. Let’s look at what roller skid handles can do for you:
- Reduce the chance of equipment damage. By making it easier to pull loads about your facility, the chance of incidental damage on the load and surrounding environment is reduced. That saves you the cost of damage repairs and unproductive downtime due to broken machinery.
- Lessen the chance for workplace injuries. Back sprains are a leading cause of worker compensation claims. Worker injuries are expensive, never mind tragic events. Adding a handle to your roller skid greatly reduces the potential for injury, lost time and pain.
- Increase worker productivity. Handles on roller skids don’t just make the job easier and safer. They also allow material to be moved by fewer workers. This lets you keep workers assigned to priority tasks rather than being tied up on duplication of labor.
- Save time. Handles let your workers move loads faster. That means they’re more productive and get more work done in less time. That’s a positive thing for your company’s profits and the bottom line.
Roller skids are available with other accessories besides steering handles. Turning locks allow handles to be fixed and let the roller skid lock in place when not in transit. Connector bars let you join roller skids and use them in multiple operations. And don’t overlook rubber swivel pads. These assist you in holding the load fast to the supporting roller skid.
Something to consider when buying roller skids is purchasing the skids and accessories as an entire kit. Cherry's Industrial Equipment service professionals recommends roller skid kits as your most economical choice. Think about what you get in a roller skid kit:
- Convenience: Getting everything like roller skids, handles, connector bars and rubber swivel pads in one kit means you have everything you can possibly need or use in one package. This saves time and needless hassle in sourcing more parts and accessories after your initial purchase.
- Compatibility: With an entire roller skid kit, you know everything is compatible. Different roller skids are designed to work with different components even if they’re from the same manufacturer. Compatible components save time and are safer to use.
- Savings: You have better buying power when ordering your roller skids in a kit — compatible components have volume discounts. You also save on shipping costs, as it’s the same price to ship all pieces in one order rather than a separate shipping charge each time you make an order.
Custom Roller Skids
If you can’t find exactly what you need for roller skids for a unique situation, Cherry’s Industrial can work with you to design and build a custom application. We’ll work together to make the perfect frame and equip it with exactly the right roller for your facility. That can be a combination of strength and sensitivity. We can also match your custom roller skids with the proper accessories that make your material moving easier and safer.
Do I Need Machinery Skates?
You’ve heard all about roller skids, but you’re probably asking what is a machinery skate? A machinery skate similar to a roller skid is a material handling tool or device using rollers attached to a steel frame designed to move heavy machinery across workplace floors. Generally, machinery skates are heavy-duty helpers used to skate heavy loads in straight lines.
You’re probably wondering what machinery skates are used for, how you can use a machinery skate and whether you should buy machinery skates rather than roller skids. It depends on your application and intended use. This includes floor conditions and load configuration, such as its physical shape and size, load weight and your pathway. Machinery skates are best suited for loads moving shorter distances and not concerned with halls, corners of pathway obstacles.
[The terms machinery skates and roller skids technically can be interchangeable but for the purposes of Cherry’s classification machine skates are fixed direction skates that handle up to medium weight loads. They really don’t have a steering mechanism and therefore should only be used for short distances (as stated).]
Machinery Skate Key Benefits
Machinery skates do almost the same job as roller skids, but there’s one main difference: they’re designed to travel in a fixed direction. Like roller skids, machinery skates have some key benefits. Let’s review how you can benefit from buying machinery skates:
- Load Stability: Machinery skates are built with wider footprints than roller skids. The rollers are larger and longer, which allows for a wider connection with the floor and makes the load more stable.
- Flexibility: Skates are designed as two dollies inside a steel frame. They’re connected by an adjustable coupler bar that allows you flexibility in setting the footprint width. You can’t easily do this with roller skids.
- Carrying and Positioning Ease: Machinery skates are handle-equipped. This lets you easily carry the skate and position it under the load. It also makes placement safer as you don’t need to place the skate by hand.
- Slip Resistance. The top surfaces of machinery skates are made with slip-resistant material. This gives a better friction grip that holds the machine in place and reduces the chance of accidental slippage, damage or injury.
Machinery Skate Selection
At Cherry’s Industrial Equipment, we give our customers a great selection of machinery skates if they seem like a better choice for your material handling tasks. We offer the same top-quality brands with the same excellent warranty conditions. If machinery skates interest you, experts at Cherry’s Industrial suggest these top machinery skates:
- ASKT-6. This is an adjustable machinery skate capable of holding 12,000 pounds. There are eight nylon rollers for protection on softer surfaces.
- ASKT-12. Here’s a skate with double the capacity at a 24,000-pound rating. To support heavier loads, it has 12 nylon rollers and still suits soft floors.
- >ASTK-24. For especially large machines, this machinery skate can hold 48,000 pounds. It’s built on a massive steel frame with 16 steel rollers.
Let Cherry’s Industrial Equipment Help You Decide
For more than three decades, Cherry’s Industrial Equipment has helped people like you make decisions about buying the right material handling equipment. That includes guiding you through the list of industrial roller skids and machinery skates. We specialize in sourcing the right handling device, whether you need a light-duty tool for soft floors or a heavy-duty roller skid for hard, rugged places.
If you’re not sure whether you should buy a roller skid or a machinery skate, the staff at Cherry’s Industrial is here to help guide your choice. Browse our selection of roller skids and contact us for more information.