Finding the “Right Fit” Solutions for Material Handling

Finding the “Right Fit” Solutions for Material Handling

OMCO SUMO Insights
December 2022

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What type of application comes to mind when you hear the term “Material Handling?” Cranes? Conveyors? Maybe escalators and elevators? The correct answer: Today’s material handling industry includes all these applications – and many more.

At OMCO SUMO, we define material handling as any application where bearings are used to move, protect, store, or control products. With more than 50 years of bearing manufacturing experience, our contribution to the material handling industry is in helping OEMs find their “right fit” bearing solutions.  Why is finding the “right fit” so important? Bearings can be a significant driver of improved performance (and cost savings) in material handling systems – reducing the frequency of maintenance, increasing product life, and lowering overall power consumption.

This month, we’re highlighting material handling applications where we helped OEMs find their “right fit” bearing solutions – find out WHY a partnership with OMCO SUMO can be the difference between “business as usual” and “better for less.”


With more than 37K facilities in operation, it’s no secret the USPS relies on high-speed sortation equipment to process the daily mail. Each year, millions of spare parts are shipped to ensure these machines stay running – including sortation wheels built by OMCO SUMO. After 40+ years of supporting USPS, OMCO’s engineering team has recommended various product enhancements, which have helped reduce maintenance intervals and improve component life. These enhancements include:

  • Adding a durable chemical bond between the bearing and urethane tire (reduced potential for tire delamination during operation)
  • Matching the appropriate bearing clearance level for a light press fit in a precision-machined housing
  • Grinding wheel assemblies AFTER bearing installation (ensuring no damage to the bearing occurs and that the finished wheel is completely concentric to the bearing itself)
ENGINEERED CONVEYOR CHAIN (Enclosed Track, I- Beam, Overhead, etc.)

At the beginning of the 20th century, production facilities relied on manpower to move heavy material between workstations. Over the last century, pioneers like Henry Ford and Jervis Webb have introduced solutions that revolutionized the flow of material through production facilities (and relieved employees of some heavy physical work!).

Food equipment OEMs must now design their equipment to withstand aggressive wash-down procedures during regular sanitation shifts. Bakery OEMs that make continuous baking proofers and ovens rely on a conveyor chain that runs in an enclosed track to transport products throughout their facilities, and poultry producers often must choose between the benefits of lubrication and the costs of extra sanitation. Often OEMs must also account for a challenging equipment environment such as extreme heat, high humidity, and caustic cleaners.

Leveraging OMCO SUMO’s familiarity with the metallurgy, alternative materials, and coatings industries, our engineers have implemented the following product improvements in the food industry:

  • Used an upgraded alloy in the casting process (to result in stronger components and smoother finish, minimizing chain stretch)
  • Employed more corrosion-resistant and environmentally friendly coatings such as zinc flake or electroless nickel
  • Provided a media-resistant acetal alternative to combat caustic cleaners
  • Developed engineered assemblies to streamline the chain assembly process and enhance food safety (reduced risk, cost, and improved serviceability)


As warehouse managers are challenged to increase storage density in their facilities, traditional pallet racks often get replaced with pushback racking systems – a storage method that allows pallets to be warehoused from 2 to 6 deep on either side of an aisle. In addition to providing faster load/unload times than traditional racking, pushback racks also help reduce the number of aisles and forklifts needed in a facility.

Each pushback rack system includes several “lanes” which include wheeled carts to transport pallets. Pushback wheels – a component engineered and sold by OMCO SUMO — are designed for low maintenance and rugged, long-term use. Commonly made from through-hardened chrome or stainless steel (e.g., for washdown applications), and commonly with low-temperature lubrication (for freezer applications), pushback wheel assemblies include a self-contained deep groove radial (or full ball complement bearing, often with integral threaded stud) to ensure long service life. Through its work with industry OEMs, the OMCO engineering team has developed a variety of pushback wheel shapes (flat, tapered, flanged) to accommodate our customer’s desired interaction and level of rolling resistance between wheel and rail.

In closing, the global material handling equipment market was valued at $213.35 billion in 2021. Closer to home, the US market is expected to top $40 billion in 2022 – with an outlook showing sustained growth through 2030. OMCO SUMO looks forward to supporting our customer’s innovation – as they develop improved methods of lifting, storing, stacking, and conveying – during the years to come.

Curious to learn more? Click here to subscribe to the OMCO SUMO Insights newsletter for insights and best practices for sustainable sourcing of bearings, conveyors, and other motion-related products, or contact us directly at You can also follow us on LinkedIn.

OMCO SUMO is a manufacturer and OEM supply chain partner of motion-related components (bearings, wheels, rollers, pulleys, overhead conveyor chain, and engineered assemblies) headquartered in southeastern Wisconsin. Since 1964, OMCO SUMO has earned the trust of OEM partners through its bearing manufacturing experience and global supplier network. Founded with Midwestern character and accountability, OMCO SUMO is passionate about offering products, services, and value that are unmatched in the component supplier community. With SUSTAINABILITY at the forefront of corporate procurement initiatives, OMCO SUMO was the first to create proprietary ESG ratings (Environmental, Social, and Governance) within the power transmission industry – offering unparalleled insight into an extensive network of manufacturers throughout Asia. OMCO SUMO’s goal is to support its customers with transparent values-driven business practices that help achieve sustainability of the “Triple Bottom Line”: People, profit, and the planet.

How can we help you achieve motion design, fulfillment & ESG goals?

Contact OMCO SUMO for more information on sustainably sourced, ESG compliant solutions for bearings, conveyor chains, and related components, and our proprietary quarterly ESG Ratings Report for Chinese Bearing Manufacturers, providing granular metrics about an extensive and expanding network of manufacturers throughout Asia.

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