Casters are used to help carts, furniture, racks, and other objects move with ease. While casters seem like simple, undriven wheels that can attach to the bottom of anything, it’s important to understand the variety of types and applications before you decide what to buy.
If you’re in an industry that requires you to transport heavy loads of equipment, industrial casters might be your best option. These wheels are designed to keep loads sturdy, usually encompassing a leveled upper plate with four bolt holes. For heavier equipment, larger wheels are more effective in spreading the load’s weight across a surface area.
In a high-impact scenario, shimmy and swivel caster failure can cause problems. Kingpins can be damaged and sometimes even fall off. A kingpinless swivel section can enable your vehicle to move faster since the load is distributed across a larger surface. Casters also tend to move more gracefully and don’t require as much maintenance when they lack a kingpin.
When you need to constantly shift an object’s direction, a swivel joint makes it easier for a caster to turn around freely. Oftentimes an operator will set the wheel’s orientation manually by attaching the wheel to a handle. With a swivel, a caster’s orientation doesn’t get thrown off when the wheels rotate.
If you’re looking for something cheap and basic, rigid casters might be the most sufficient choice. This type of caster is simply placed on top of a motionless fork, setting the fork’s orientation. The vehicle is restricted from turning or rotating, maintaining a fixed and straight direction.
It isn’t just a caster’s structure that affects its application, but the material it’s made from. In a setting where you’d like to keep your floors from getting dirty or scraped, caster wheels made with harder materials such as cast iron are best. With steel tracking, flanged wheels can support heavy loads and roll smoothly. Forged or ductile steel is great for carrying extremely high weight capacities if you aren’t as concerned about your flooring. Glass-filled nylon casters are resistant to high temperatures, cleaning agents, and oils.
Using a caster wheel that isn’t designed for your purpose can be harmful to your equipment, and possibly even your safety. On top of this, spending money on a caster that you don’t need can hurt your wallet. Understanding the fundamentals is crucial before making a purchase.