Flanged wheels are used on a large variety of vehicles that operate on tracks. They also allow to easily set up a production line in manufacturing settings by running vehicles with flanged track wheels on in-plant tracks. Such wheels are made from cast iron or steel and can carry heavy loads of up to 15,000 lbs. and operate in environments of up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Transporting materials and components on tracks allows to move them at higher capacities, more quickly and safely, since the flow is better controlled than for vehicles that don’t run on tracks.
Flanged wheels' long history is closely aligned with the history of mining and railroad innovation. They were already used in the 17th century, when wagons drawn by horses and running on tracks were used in coal mining operations. The first steam locomotive to use flanged wheels was George Stephenson’s Blücher, which was built in 1814. Lorries with flanged wheels are still being used in mining today.
A viable alternative to flanged track wheels are v-groove wheels. These wheels have 90 degree grooves machined into the face of the wheels and they have the advantage that they can run both on tracks and on flat surfaces. They are also made from steel or cast iron and they are perfect for guided manufacturing applications such as assembly or paint lines, because they allow precise alignment and accuracy.