High quality dollies and skates are an essential purchase if you plan to move heavy loads. In environments where the access is tight, where there are small doorways or awkward corners to navigate, or where there are height restrictions, lifting heavy items to move them may not be an option. This is where these simple, yet useful, little products really come into their own, making even the most cumbersome load effortlessly manoeuvrable.
Here’s what you need to know about buying skates and dollies for your business, and how to use them safely.
How many skates?
You might think that placing a skate at each corner would be the most logical way to move a heavy item. However, this is not always a good idea. If you were to encounter any uneven ground during the moving process, the up and down would rock the machine from back to front or side to side. This will leave the weight unevenly distributed, potentially causing one of the skates to slide out from under the item, risking a major accident.
As much as you might think you’re traveling mainly on level surfaces, in reality this is not always the case. Ramps, older concrete, rough loading bays and other surfaces can often be bumpier than you think, so it’s not worth taking the risk with this loading formation.
A better way to arrange your skates is to use just three. This might sound counterproductive, but actually it makes a lot of sense. When you arrange three dollies in a triangular formation underneath a heavy weight, the weight pressing down on the dollies is more evenly distributed, even over an uneven surface. For this reason, we recommend purchasing three skates or dollies for most moving purposes.
However, some machines and objects do not have an even weight distribution themselves. This means you might need four, five or even more skates to move them safely. More dollies mean more chances of them slipping out over uneven ground, so when moving large or awkward objects, it is recommended that you have one person monitoring each skate and take the moving task very slowly.
What about weight capacity?
Dollies and skates all have different load capacities, ranging from 150kg for our basket dollies up to 450kg for our heavy duty dollies. However, this weight capacity does not tell you everything.
As an example, if you were moving something of 750kg, you might think that using three 250kg dollies would be sufficient. However, when travelling over uneven surfaces, the rocking of the object being transported can lay the weight unevenly on each skate, causing one to become overloaded and potentially to break. This risks an accident, and at best is going to cause all sorts of unwanted complications.
Consider that each dollie should be able to comfortably take the weight of their share of the load, with plenty in surplus. In the case of the object above, using three x 350kg dollies would be preferable, as it allows for some rocking of the weight and uneven distribution. Never overload your skates or dollies, as you risk them breaking, and the object you’re moving falling and hurting a member of staff.
Choosing your dollies or skates
Our dollies and skates come in a variety of configurations and finishes to suit your needs. Your choice of size, shape and construction will depend on what you plan to move, how far and how frequently.
Our carpeted dollies are a great choice for moving heavy items now and then. Available in three sizes, the carpeted surface means the exterior of the item being moved won’t be scratched or marked during the loading and moving process.
For more frequent moves, our heavy duty plastic dolly has been designed to stand the test of time. It’s strong construction and robust finish makes it suitable to move up to 350kg per dolly. Alternatively our roller platforms are a great value choice, built from welded sheet steel for the ultimate in durability and strength. These are topped with ribbed rubber matting, keeping the load safely secured on the non-slip surface.
To make a good choice, think about what it is you’re planning to move. How heavy is it? How large is it? What surface will you move it over? Is it a one-off activity, or something you’ll need to do often? If you require further guidance, please get in touch with one of our team, who can provide assistance on purchasing the correct type of wheeled dollies for your materials handling needs.