Here you’ll find some of the questions people ask about urethane no-crush or zero crush wheels.

How come they’re called “no-crush” or “zero crush” wheels?

Great question! It’s actually a misnomer as the wheel itself is relatively flexible or pliable (when compared to other wheel types).

Zero-crush wheels are generally used in manufacturing applications where the wheel needs to be flexible — either because of a variation in the thickness of the product passing by the wheel or because the wheel needs to be pliable so that the product doesn’t get damaged.

urethane-no-crush-wheels

No-crush wheels come in many design and construction types.

Think of “no crush” or “zero crush” as meaning the wheel won’t crush or damage whatever is passing over or under it on a conveyor line. You can find zero crush wheels in industrial applications such as:

  • Corrugated cardboard manufacturing
  • Printing
  • Textile manufacturing
  • Product labeling
  • Material handling
  • Any type of application where a flexible or cushion action would benefit

Why do no-crush wheels have holes or spaces in them?

The spaces are what give the no-crush wheel its flexibility. However, it’s the geometry of the vanes — the urethane that separates the spaces — that is really important!

The shape of the vane, its length, angle and thickness, the size of the space between each one, and the number of them per wheel are what give zero crush wheels the ability to:

  • Flex and move product along without damaging it
  • Provide cushioning and shock absorption
  • Deliver consistency with regard to pressure applied

Vanes and vane patterns are also what give no-crush wheels their longevity. The constant flexing produced by the no-crush design minimizes fatigue and premature failure.

urethane no crush wheels

This no-crush wheel is fairly strong. Notice the amount of urethane in each vane and the number of vanes. This no-crush wheel also includes a keyway in the inner diameter.

We can also create unique vane patterns to ensure the wheel “crushes” (or flexes) to a customer’s specification. By varying the durometer along with the frequency and geometry of the vanes, the possibilities are almost endless.

urethane zero crush wheels

The small blue wheel and the large yellow wheel will deflect very easily, while the smaller yellow wheel will deflect much less. The red wheel will deflect the least of these, due to the aggressive angle of the vanes.


What’s the standard durometer for a zero crush wheel?

We make zero-crush wheels from 20A up to 85A. It all depends on the desired function of the part. The options with geometry, material selection and hardness allow for a variety of ways to achieve the same result. (See our durometer scale to see how a no-crush wheel compares to harder or softer durometers.)

urethane no-crush wheels with cores

This no-crush wheel has a set screw on the opposite end of the wheel (not shown). The screw makes the wheel lock in place on the shaft and thus becomes a drive wheel.


Do no-crush wheels have inserts or cores?

It depends on the application. Some no-crush wheels simply have a center opening, as you can see in the photo at the top of the page.

Driving applications, where the material is to be driven or pulled and is uneven in nature, often require an insert or core.

urethane no-crush wheel with bearing

This wheel utilizes a machined aluminum core with bearings slipped into place, held there by a set of retaining rings. This is another wheel with less crushability – again, the more urethane in the vanes, the less the wheel can deflect.

For idler applications, zero crush wheels can have a pocket cast at the center into which a bearing is pressed by hand. If the bearing wears out, you can easily replace it.

urethane no-crush wheel with press-in bearings

A medium durometer wheel with a bearing pressed in the center is an easy way to make an idler wheel with outstanding long life.


Can you recover our no-crush wheels that have a metal insert?

Yep, we sure can. However, depending on the wheel, the insert, and the size of both, it may be more cost-effective to create new parts. If you want to inquire about recovering your wheels, send us a photo via email and we’ll get back to you right away.


Does Urethane Innovators make standard wheels or is everything custom?

We don’t make stock wheels in advance and then sell you something that’s close to what you’re looking for. Everything we do is custom — meaning, it’s based on your application and the challenge you’re trying to solve.

We do, however, specialize in high volume production runs and can make specialty no-crush urethane wheels by the hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands — just let us know!


Can you make no-crush wheels for our speciality application on an ongoing basis?

Yes, you bet! We have many clients who have us manufacture a set number of wheels either monthly or quarterly.

To learn more, contact our Sales Manager Lee Hofmann at sales@urethaneusa.com or 252-637-7110. She’ll be happy to discuss your urethane no-crush wheel needs with you.