Advantage: National Distribution Center

As the National Distribution Center in St. Joseph, MI celebrates one year of operation, CEO Tom Blashill takes a moment to reflect on the previous year and our advances toward “One Colson” in this edition of the Colson Group Advantage.

National Distribution Center Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

Facility paves the way for expanded U.S. manufacturing capabilities and distribution services

Colson Group USA is celebrating the one-year anniversary of opening its national distribution center (DC) in St. Joseph, Michigan. Opened in 2016, the 170,000-square-foot facility is Colson Group’s first national DC supporting all of its brands of products and is an important part of the company’s One Colson initiative to best position itself for continued growth as the global leader in casters and wheels.

The DC was created and optimized for the distribution and common assembly of Colson Group USA’s broad product offering – functions previously supported within its manufacturing plants. The shift in distribution responsibilities allows the manufacturing plants to further enhance their operational and service responsibilities and better support the group’s leading mix of USA-made products, customer-direct production orders, and regular feeds to the DC. It also allows the company to better leverage significant plant investments for additional made-in-the-USA manufacturing, including the recently released Albion 310 & 410 family of casters.

“Our vision for the DC is to enhance our customers’ experience through faster and more reliable fulfillment, dependable inventory planning and the ability to consolidate shipments from our various brands,” said Colson Group Chief Operating Officer Christopher Cummins. “We continue to advance our systems and procedures daily and have seen great progress – reducing some lead times by as much as 70 percent. We will continue to optimize the DC throughout 2017 with the goal of achieving world-class distribution, exceeding customer needs.”

“Under Cummins’ leadership, the new DC has provided a bright outlook for Colson, as we drive continuous improvement and bring world-class manufacturing to the U.S.,” said Colson Group Chief Executive Officer Tom Blashill. “We are extremely proud of his efforts and of all the hard-working employees at the facility, as this would not be possible without them.”

New Pemco SuperKat Wheel Saves Stores Money on Out-of-Control Shopping Carts and Caster Replacements

Pemco SuperKat Tensioner Wheel Pemco, a Colson Group USA brand, has launched an upgraded shopping cart wheel designed to help slow-down out-of-control shopping carts and reduce wheel flat-spotting. The new Pemco SuperKat Tensioner wheel features an innovative tensioner inside the center of the wheel to help reduce unexpected rolling of unattended shopping carts. The wheel tension provided by the bearing helps stores save money on costs associated with runaway cart damage, while remaining undetectable to shoppers. Launched in November 2016, the superior shopping cart wheel features a soft, natural rubber tread with a rounded shape. This unique tread design allows the wheel to move naturally in any direction the cart is pushed or pulled reducing sideways dragging that leads to wheel flat-spotting and necessary replacements. The improved SuperKat wheel also features a dual precision bearing allowing a smooth and quiet rolling of the cart — providing an enhanced experience for shoppers. The SuperKat is stocked in St. Joseph, Michigan, at Colson Group USA’s new national distribution center and is already receiving excellent field reviews from leading cart manufacturers and retailers across the country. The new 5-inch wheel includes a variety of product features, including:
  • A high-performance natural rubber tread, specially designed to make the SuperKat resistant to flat-spotting
  • Durability, lasting 64% longer than the competition
  • Non-marking and quiet rolling
  • Resistant to chemicals and oils
  • Built-in tensioner ring increases parking lot safety
To learn more, download CAD models or datasheets, please visit

U.S.-Manufactured 310 & 410 Casters Meet Heavy-Duty Customer Needs Quicker Than Ever

Colson Group USA has the right ingredients to keep the world moving. Albion, the leading heavy-duty caster brand of Colson Group USA, has made major advancements in its heavy-duty manufacturing capabilities to better meet customers’ product and delivery needs in the U.S. marketplace. Now manufactured in Michigan, Albion’s 310 & 410 casters are laser cut and can be produced with integrated brakes with toe guards within days – a process that has taken four to six weeks in the past – responding to market needs faster and reducing lead times by as much as 70 percent. Laser production also allows the 310 & 410 more flexibility in quick turnaround customizations, a more diverse standard product offering, and a cleaner more efficient part – eliminating the need for a variety of secondary welding operations. With an upgraded three-year warranty, the 310 & 410 Series offers a number of competitive advantages and product features compared to conventional kingpin casters:
  • Laser cut 3/8” thick legs;
  • More ergonomic – easier to swivel, push and pull;
  • Weld eliminations for a cleaner part;
  • Smoother edges for safety;
  • Industry-leading zinc finish with a clear coat;
  • Newly designed innovative brakes with toe guards;
  • High-quality, heat-treated AISI 1045 laser-cut steel construction featuring a forged precision-machined raceway for improved ergonomics and superior strength;
  • Fully welded and durable legs inside and out to handle the shock impact and higher-load capacities traditional casters might not withstand; and
  • Greater load capacities of up to 5,400 pounds per caster with easier swiveling.
The 310 & 410 is the foundation for a complete family of products, including spring-loaded and dual-wheel versions of each. A stainless-steel alternative is also available for applications exposed to corrosive agents or industries focused on food and beverage processing. For more information or a quote on the new U.S.-manufactured, laser-cut 310 & 410 series, check out the series online.

Advantage: Technological Enhancements

We have been working diligently on advanced sales tools and programs that save you time, shorten your sales cycles, and ultimately drive growth. From quickly delivering CAD Models and Datasheets from a mobile device, to new websites that generate more traffic and in turn more high-quality partner leads – Colson Group is investing heavily into marketing strategies and technologies that position us for future growth to help us all win more business.

In this edition of the Colson Group Advantage, we wanted to share some of the key advancements with you along with new training videos that will guide you step-by-step on how to leverage their capabilities. Feedback around the world has been very positive on these tools, and we hope you find the same value as you explore them and utilize them in your day-to-day responsibilities.

We thank you for your time and business, and look forward to the continued developments we will bring you throughout the months to come as we build on our new website technologies to make finding and delivering product content even easier!


Brad Kish Director Marketing/Communications

Caster CAD 3D: On-The-Go Interactive CAD Models

Caster CAD 3D enables you to quickly email 3D CAD models and Datasheets from your Apple or Android devices. The app saves time, helps gain new customers faster, and will earn you more business. Learn more about Caster CAD 3D.

Albion Catalogs Now Available

The new Albion Catalog launched last month with some exciting new product developments brought forward by our recent U.S. heavy-duty manufacturing investments. Accompanying the printed catalog is a brand new interactive version and download center.our customers and win more deals.

Brand Website Enhancements

Many of our brand websites have been recently updated, and although this is only the first phase of our upcoming technology advancements – we wanted to show you some of the cool new features that will help better service your customers and win more deals.

Caster CAD 3D: On-the-Go Interactive CAD Models

Don’t Miss The Training Video Below! Smartphones and tablets have integrated into the workplace and are providing a previously unprecedented ease of accomplishing sales tasks on-the-go. Whether you are sitting in your customer’s office or out on the plant floor, our devices are allowing us to quickly serve-up information and content like never before. To leverage this technology and apply it to casters, Colson Group USA set out to deliver the industry with the first 3D caster and wheel app, Caster CAD 3D. Caster CAD 3D provides many similar features to our recently updated websites, including the ability to customize products to match desired specifications, and the ability to send native CAD files or product datasheets to you or your customer – but all from your phone our tablet! Anytime, anywhere (with wi-fi or data reception that is). Caster CAD 3D is a mobile application available for iOS devices from the App Store, and for Android devices from Google Play. We can write more, but think it is just best to watch the following video (or continue reading below) to see it in action: Click any image below to view larger. Caster CAD 3D - Catalog ViewCaster CAD 3D - Configurable Options Caster CAD 3D allows you to browse catalog offerings for all Colson Group USA brands. Select any brand to begin exploring. Drill down into a product category and series that suits your application. Utilize the sidebar arrow to expand the options menu. This menu will allow you to customize a series to you desired specifications. Any field – such as Bearing Options or Wheel Diameter – with a pencil icon can be edited. Caster CAD 3D - Configure Options by Part NumberSelect series may require you to scroll up or down in the menu to find additional SKUs. If this the case, simply look for a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to expand or contract, respectively, any SKU to see its configurable options. Once you have made your desired changes, you will need to select “Generate Preview” to apply your changes to the 3D Model. After the component loads, hide the options menu to view the newly configured model. Caster CAD 3D - Real World ViewAt any point, you may choose to interact with the model. User one finger to drag and rotate the product view; two fingers allow zooming and more controlled rotation. Various icons also appear on the screen to allow different product views, including preset viewing angles, various augmented reality views, and even Real World View. Real World View utilizes your device camera to visualize how a caster might appear on your finished product. Caster CAD 3D - Email Datasheet and CAD FilesIf the chosen caster configuration is the correct one for you, head back into the options menu to send or share this model. There are two options: “Share” will allow you to share the configured SKU via various social applications. “E-mail CAD/PDF” will allow you to email a CAD file and/or Product Datasheet to yourself or other team members. If you have not yet entered your contact information, you will need to fill out a short form; the app will store this information and facilitates further document sending. Confirm the email address and desired CAD format before selecting “E-mail CAD Model”. You will receive an email with a ZIP file containing your model; unzip to use. Caster CAD 3D is a great tool for on-the-go product specification, especially when you’re on a shop floor, working quickly with customers, or somewhere with limited computer access. Download Caster CAD 3D today to find the perfect solution for your mobility needs.

Albion Catalogs Now Available


The much anticipated, NEW Albion catalogs have arrived! Months of hard, dedicated work have gone into revamping and redesigning the catalog. This newest full-line catalog features a portfolio of over 60 unique product series designed to handle even the most challenging of applications – and leverages the latest in our U.S. heavy duty manufacturing investments and product capabilities.

The refreshed Albion catalog offers engineers, designers and purchasing agents a comprehensive and detailed professional reference library of heavy-duty and material handling caster solutions and specifications. There are helpful icons designating key features and applications and a visual table of contents for easy viewing. The interactive online version of the catalog provides quick page links (allowing you to click on any page number displayed and instantly jump to that page) and is mobile ready. The new catalog also includes the addition of new maintenance free and stainless steel sections as well as expanded spring loaded and dual wheel sections featuring a variety of new series.

“For more than 70 years the Albion brand has been a problem-solver to industry mobility challenges for customers worldwide,” said Colson Group USA Director of Marketing / Communications Brad Kish. “We believe that this new Albion catalog, with an improved and expanded portfolio including new products such as our USA-made 310 & 410 Kingpinless Series casters, is a reflection of that ongoing commitment.”

The release of the Albion Catalog also marks the official launch of the company’s newly-redesigned USA-Made 310 & 410 Kingpinless Series casters, which are now built in Colson Group’s two Michigan manufacturing plants following a series of advanced manufacturing investments. The new designs are laser cut and feature a variety of product improvements, including: new innovative brakes and toe guards, weld eliminations for a stronger more integrated part, smoother edges, industry leading zinc finish with clear coat, and thicker 3/8” AISI 1045 heat treated steel leg construction – all backed by an upgraded three-year warranty.

To request your new Albion catalog, click here. Utilize the digital copy here.

Brand Website Enhancements

Watch Below Video To See Them In-Action! We have been diligently working to further advance Colson Group USA’s brand websites – and have some truly exciting web plans in-motion that will continue launching late into next year. The first phase of these new websites began launching last year, and were created with consistent features to facilitate a common feel across the individual brand websites. From a visual table-of-contents to interactive and downloadable CAD models and Datasheets, our unified advancements are designed to enhance user experience by allowing you to quickly find products, and then deliver helpful product content to customers faster than ever before (CAD Models, Datasheets, Catalog Pages). Please watch the short video below to learn more about the new features on the websites and how to use them, or continue reading for further information:

Visual Table of Contents

MedCaster - Visual Table of ContentsShepherd - Caster Series Information Recently updated websites all include a visual table of contents. This menu allows users to quickly view and select a product series. Once viewing a series, users can explore more features of the series through various tabbed content. Users can also configure a part to their specification using the product configurator.

3D Product Configurator

Colson - Part ConfiguratorTo facilitate the delivery of 3D CAD files or datasheets, the recently converted websites feature configurable 3D models, with downloadable CAD files and datasheets that reflect the chosen configuration. Select and change parameters in order of importance or desirability. Most series have parameters that can be configured: wheel diameters, tread types, fastenings, brake options, and more. Select your desired changes, and press “Update Model” to commit the changes. The rendered 3D model will update to reflect your choices. This interactive model can be used to view a representation of the chosen configuration. Not sure a particular wheel diameter or bearing are right for you? Easily make additional changes to your configuration – selecting “Update Model” to commit these changes. Once configured to desired specifications, the chosen product can be added to a quote cart in any quantity. It is easy to add single or multiple SKUs to the quote cart. Users can quickly turn their quote cart into an active quote request; submit the quote request and a customer service representative will contact you with further information.

CAD and Datasheet Downloads with CasterPass

In addition to requesting a quote, the configured part can be downloaded in a multitude of native CAD formats, or as a product datasheet. You will need to be logged into the CasterPass system to download CAD models or Datasheets. You may choose to proceed as a guest; however, CasterPass accounts allow free and unlimited CAD and Datasheet downloads. Register to create your CasterPass account today. CasterPass accounts will work across all recently improved sites. Colson - Your Download is ReadyCasterPass is a separate entity from previous website accounts; if you have not created a CasterPass account on any Colson Group USA brand website, you will need to create an account – or continue as guest – to proceed with downloads. It is recommended that you are logged in prior to making configurators; this will often speed up the configuration and download process. Once configured, select the tab that reads “CAD Models and Datasheets.” There is a drop-down menu that provides multiple native CAD formats to choose from. A link will be present allowing you to begin the download. If you choose to download a Datasheet, select its link – all Datasheets will download as a PDF. Each CAD file and Datasheet are generated on-demand; it may take a few moments for the final download link to appear. Once processed, a link will appear that will allow you to download a ZIP file containing the CAD file(s) or Datasheet; unzip to access.

Looking Toward the Future

The visual table of contents and 3D Configurator system are just the first phase of our website enhancements. Additional features, including product filtering, easy SKU searching, as well as shareable and customizable project boards are in production now and will begin to be implemented on the sites through the balance of 2016 and into 2017. Please stay tuned for more news and updates on these features.

Heavy-Duty Caster Manufacturing

After a series of recent manufacturing investments – including a new laser, CNC machining centers and forming equipment, and multiple robotic welding cells – Colson Group USA announced plans to rapidly advance the company’s heavy-duty (HD) caster manufacturing within its two Michigan manufacturing plants throughout 2016.

The plans include more USA-made product lines with greater warranties (starting with laser cut Albion 310 & 410 kingpinless casters), innovative new designs and accessory options, and advanced processes for greater speed in custom HD development. As an important element of these plans, the company is leveraging the strengths and infrastructure at both its Michigan manufacturing plants to best support the initiatives and grow both the standard and custom sides of its HD business.

“The Albion, MI manufacturing plant will continue to advance its heavy-duty focus under the leadership of Brad Bell and his experienced team,” said Kevin Osborn, VP of Operations. “They will be working closely with the St. Joseph, MI plant to advance HD production, and will also be receiving the heavy-duty responsibilities from our Newnan, GA facility to better align HD production and leverage our new investments.”

The group’s polyurethane production is also receiving an upgrade in both equipment and capabilities, and will be transitioned to a worldclass poly environment. The transfer to one of the top precision polyurethane production facilities in the country will increase Colson Group USA’s production capabilities, enhance production control, and offer more advanced material options – including more resilient and high-temperature resins.

As a final step, the Albion, MI plant will be brought onto Colson Group USA’s new ERP system to complete the company’s goal of a unified ERP system across all of its facilities. This accomplishment allows Colson Group USA to unlock further service capabilities and process improvements for its customers across all of its facilities.

“We have a strong commitment to advancing our heavy-duty products and service,” said Brian Denisty, Heavy-Duty Product Manager at Colson Group USA. “Our planning and recent investments provide the necessary foundation to deliver this commitment to our customers, and I am excited to begin the rollout starting with the new laser cut 310/410 Series made right here in Michigan.”

Please watch for further HD product and service announcements taking place over the next few weeks.