Why Use Omnitrack’s Heavy-duty Ball Transfer Units?

Omnitrack is the original manufacturers, inventors and patentees of the heavy-duty ball transfer unit range, which has been in continuous production since 1954. Read on to learn why this range may be suitable for you.


What is the history behind the heavy-duty ball transfer unit?


This product was initially designed for a British Steel manufacturing plant, to be used with high-temperature applications. The plant had large drums containing molten steel that required safe handling. Autoset (Production) Ltd – Omnitrack’s parent company – came up with a solution for this.


The original solution was to use inverted castors. This is because they are able to handle the high temperatures, dust, scale and shock loading of this application. However, this did not work as the heavy-duty castors would not allow instant directional change. 


Here is where the first heavy-duty ball transfer unit was developed. The first unit (OTSF 4070) had a load capacity of 2000 kg/4480 lbs and operated at a temperature of 150 degrees centigrade. These were in use up until the plant closed in 1972. From there it was developed into what is now the 9250. 


What are the benefits of heavy-duty ball transfer units? 


These units are able to support the heaviest loads which is useful for a range of purposes and industries. However, there are many other benefits that make this product unique. 


Lowest friction design


These units offer the lowest coefficient of friction, allowing smooth movement. Expressed as a ratio less than 1:0.005; or as the breakaway point of inertia, less than 0.5% of the conveyed load.


Maximum load at any orientation 


They have been designed to support maximum loads at any angle of orientation.


Service life and spares


Heavy-duty ball transfer units are engineered to have the longest service life of our products. We produce service kits to restore full performance (on-site and in-situ) in the event of failure for the 9000 series. They are easy to dismantle and clean with full instructions and factory replacement parts. We offer factory reconditioning services for spring-loaded units. 


Smooth, high-precision movement 


Our heavy-duty units are individually assembled with 100% inspection and testing to ensure the highest precision. We also offer a free 2-year warranty. The way these units have been designed makes them faster, quieter and smoother in operation than our other ranges. 


Temperature tolerance


They have the lowest and highest temperature tolerance of all the products. We are also able to produce high-temperature variants specific to certain applications. 


Corrosion resistance


The materials contain carbon (martensitic) which reduces wear and maintains high load capacity. For particularly corrosive environments, units can be upgraded to materials with corrosion-resistant alloys. 




Heavy-duty ball transfer units with the main ball larger than 12.7 mm/1/2” all incorporate a woollen felt seal. This effectively wipes the main ball during rotation without impeding directional change. 


In all 9000 series, seals are replaceable. For high-temperature applications over 150 degrees centigrade, we recommend that seals are omitted. Other seal materials are available upon request.


Drainage channels


Except for the 91 series, 9000 series units incorporate a single drain channel. Units with ‘Z’ (arduous contention) and ‘SS’ (all stainless steel construction) have an additional drain through the centre hole.


Maximum speed rating


Testing in ideal conditions allows our heavy-duty range to run intermittently at a maximum speed of 3 meters per second (8 feet per second) at full load capacity. 


Omnitrack’s heavy-duty ball transfer unit range offers many uses and unique benefits. They are used in a variety of applications such as robotics, shipbuilding and air cargo handling. If you are unsure of which product is right for you, speak to a member of our team of experts today. We can help find the omnidirectional movement solution for you. 


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