Caster & Wheel Guide

What Caster is right for you?

There is no simple formula or rule that can be followed in selecting the proper casters. Instead many factors must be evaluated. The following are important considerations that should be evaluated.

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Caster Options

Load Weight: The heavier the load, the larger the wheel required for the caster. The weight of the load also influences the mobility of the wheel. Roller or ball bearings are recommended for loads over 400 pounds.

Floor Conditions: Make sure the wheel you select is large enough to pass over cracks in the floor, tracks, moldings and other obstructions. For floor protection on linoleum, tile, carpet, etc., use polyurethane or Performa rubber wheels.

Extreme Climates: Room temperatures are no problem for most casters. But extreme cold or heat can be a problem. In many applications a special lubrication can be used which assures caster rolling ease from 45°F below zero to 260°F above.

Rolling Ease: The larger the wheel diameter, the easier it rolls. Roller bearings carry heavier loads. Ball bearings roll easier but carry lesser loads. When possible, use the largest ball bearing wheel for best results.

 

 

Unusual Conditions: Each wheel material has certain characteristics which will give the best results where unusual conditions exist. For example, where acids, oils, chemicals and other conditions harmful to rubber are present, polyurethane, polyolefin, Maxim, phenolic or steel wheels are recommended. It’s very important to check conditions before selecting casters and wheels.

 

Caster Types

Rigid - A rigid Caster has a rigid yoke and wheel assembly which permits only straight-line movement.

Swivel - A swivel caster has a swivel yoke and wheel assembly that will allow rotation of 360 degrees, which permits movement in any direction.

Locking- A locking caster is an assembly that can be locked in place by some sort of mechanic device.

 

 

Caster Durability

Heavy Duty Casters:

Heavy Duty Casters are built to handle the stress of high capacities and rugged treatment, no matter what the intended application is.

The rating of a caster is determined by the needs of the application. A heavy duty caster would have to hold a mere 100 lbs. per caster. For something industrial, a heavy duty caster might hold up to 10,000 lbs or more, and able to handle shock loading.

Heavy Duty caster wheels treads are selected based not only by capacity, but floor surface, expected temperatures, and need for ease of movement.  Wheel bearing selections are chosen by taking in factors such as handling of lateral stress, extreme temperatures, and higher rolling speeds.

Heavy duty casters also have various options for brakes. Many models feature 4-position swivel lock notches on the lower raceway, enabling fixed direction rolling.  Grease fittings are inserted into swivel raceways and wheel mounts ensuring ease of maintenance on most models.

Medium Duty Casters

Medium duty casters are engineered for loads from 500 to 1,250 lbs. in applications including hotel luggage carts, food service equipment, hospital beds, laundry carts, scaffolding, waste disposal trucks and pharmaceutical equipment.

There are a variety of brake options and scaffolding casters which feature a total lock brake to positively secure wheels and swivel.

 

Casters for specific Applications

Stainless Steel Casters for Medical and Food Grade Applications

Stainless steel casters are often required in medical and food grade applications.  It’s important to note that the term "stainless steel caster" pertains to the connection, fork, and axle assemblies, and does not necessarily refer to the wheel.  There are a wide range of wheel options that can be selected depending upon the requirements of the application.

Some common uses of stainless steel casters include installations on food service carts, machinery dollies, parts bins, pharmaceutical trays and clean room equipment.

Stainless steel casters can be ordered with specific options for brakes and locks to meet your needs. Different bearing options can be used depending on your application. Stainless casters can also be made to fit specific load heights.

 

Conductive Casters for ESD Applications:

The presence of ESD (electrostatic discharge) in the environments where the manufacture, construction and assembly of microprocessors, circuit boards, computers and sensitive electronic equipment takes place is a significant problem. Damage caused by ESD in the environments requiring the minimization of ESD include clean rooms, surgical suites and other medical environments, and where combustible gases are present.

How does a typical ESD event occur? As those casters repeatedly move across the floor, they generate an electrical charge. When the worker comes in contact with the cart, that charge, in the form of ESD, will harmlessly travel into the worker’s body (human beings are excellent conductors of electricity). The next time the worker touches an ESD-sensitive component, such as a computer chip, the resulting ESD discharging can damage the chip.

There is no single method of dealing with ESD a series of safeguard strategies should be incorporated into the workplace environment where ESD is a factor. These strategies usually include charge prevention, grounding, shielding, neutralization and education.

Conductive or Dissipative Casters are important, but often overlooked, part of an overall system of protection against ESD.  Our team of experts is ready to assist you with selecting the correct conductive caster for your ESD application.

 

Other Caster Models

Stainless Steel Casters for Medical and Food Grade Applications


Stainless steel casters are often required in medical and food grade applications.  It’s important to note that the term "stainless steel caster" pertains to the connection, fork, and axle assemblies, and does not necessarily refer to the wheel.  There are a wide range of wheel options that can be selected depending upon the requirements of the application.


Some common uses of stainless steel casters include installations on food service carts, machinery dollies, parts bins, pharmaceutical trays and clean room equipment.


Stainless steel casters can be ordered with specific options for brakes and locks to meet your needs. Different bearing options can be used depending on your application. Stainless casters can also be made to fit specific load heights.


Conductive Casters for ESD Applications:

 

The presence of ESD (electrostatic discharge) in the environments where the manufacture, construction and assembly of microprocessors, circuit boards, computers and sensitive electronic equipment takes place is a significant problem. Damage caused by ESD in the environments requiring the minimization of ESD include clean rooms, surgical suites and other medical environments, and where combustible gases are present.


How does a typical ESD event occur? As those casters repeatedly move across the floor, they generate an electrical charge. When the worker comes in contact with the cart, that charge, in the form of ESD, will harmlessly travel into the worker’s body (human beings are excellent conductors of electricity). The next time the worker touches an ESD-sensitive component, such as a computer chip, the resulting ESD discharging can damage the chip.


There is no single method of dealing with ESD a series of safeguard strategies should be incorporated into the workplace environment where ESD is a factor. These strategies usually include charge prevention, grounding, shielding, neutralization and education.


Conductive or Dissipative Casters are important, but often overlooked, part of an overall system of protection against ESD.  Our team of experts is ready to assist you with selecting the correct conductive caster for your ESD application.



Dual Wheel Casters


The larger footprint of a dual wheel caster enhances stability and spreads the load over a larger floor area. The differential action inherent in all swivel dual wheel designs minimizes the effort required to change directions, providing ergonomic relief. Dual wheel casters offer the highest possible capacity at the lowest overall height. To achieve the greatest carrying capacity possible, forged steel wheels may be utilized. When floor protection is desired, a polyurethane tire should be considered. While the carrying capacity is reduced with the polyurethane tire, very high capacities are still achievable.


Features


  • Hot-Forged Steel Construction
  • 50,000 lbs Max. Capacity
  • Enhanced Stability

Dual wheel casters are excellent for tow lines, industrial platform trucks, rugged industrial functions and other severe abusive applications.


Dual Wheel Casters can be designed around either a kingpinless swivel section or an integral king pin style caster. These casters feature thick sectioned legs that are welded to a unique skirt design for greater strength and longevity. Wheels for these dual wheel casters can range from pneumatic, to polyurethane wheels to forged steel wheels to gray iron wheels.



Flanged Wheel Casters

 

Flanged wheels are designed to operate on a steel track for minimal guidance and rolling effort. Flanged wheel casters are rigid casters used for locating fixtures in a precise position for indexing through a work cycle and are ideal for Precision Alignment


Common applications for flanged wheel casters include captive turntables or repetitive processes, including foundry cooling lines.  Various bore sizes are available for use with keyway or a variety of bearings.



V-Groove Casters


V-Groove casters are rigid casters that travel on a pre-designed track. Typically, designed to carry loads of 1,000 lbs to 15,000 lbs., V-Groove casters are a very efficient method of carrying heavy loads over pre-determined distances. It’s very important that the hardness of the wheel and the hardness of the track “match” to ensure a prolonged life of the wheel and the track. If they are not matched, excessive wear can occur. V-Groove casters are highly adaptable and can operate on angle iron track or on normal floor surfaces.  Our experts are ready to help you correctly specify the proper components for your application.


Common V-Groove caster applications include industrial ovens, paint booths and other similar equipment. For special applications various sizes and shapes of grooves can be designed and machined to meet the most difficult and demanding applications.



Shock Absorbing Casters


Shock absorbing casters have swivel sections that are constructed of high alloy steel and are precision machined for close tolerances and long life. These casters feature legs of thick section plate steel. Integrally forged kingpins are available from 3/4 inch to 1-1/4 inch in diameter. In normal configurations, these swivel sections will carry 3 to 4 times their listed capacity. The spring compression starts with as little as 25 pounds loading per caster resulting in cushioned loads. The long swivel lead reduces excessive vibration while towing.


Shock absorbing casters are ideal for jet engine dollies, aircraft jacks, in-plant trailers, trash gondolas, lift truck stabilizer casters, revolving signs and parade floats.



Vertical Spring Loaded Casters


Vertical spring loaded casters offer a high flexibility in design to meet the specified application. Each caster features springs that are retained in a fixed position on a threaded rod for pre-load capabilities. The purpose of pre-loading a caster is to allow the caster to carry a load before it begins a spring deflection. Once the spring begins to deflect, the user should find a consistent spring reaction related to the load applied. These spring loaded caster wheels are built for the most rugged applications. Their box construction (formed or fabricated) can withstand abusive applications without changing the cycle life of the product.


Spring loaded casters are ideal for jet engine dollies, aircraft jacks, in-plant trailers, trash gondolas, lift truck stabilizer casters, revolving signs, parade floats and many other industrial applications. These casters can be designed to carry loads in excess of 20,000 lbs.


Vertical mounted spring casters are manufactured in standard sizes from 6 inches to 12 inches in height and accommodate wheels from 2 inches to 4 inches wide. These standard casters will carry loads from 500 lbs to 4,000 lbs.



Pneumatic Casters


Pneumatic casters are air-filled and designed for low speed, manually moved applications. Pneumatic casters are ideally suited for moving fragile or delicate cargo where the caster overall height is not critical. Pneumatic wheel casters are usually the best choice for use outdoors or rough surfaces (i.e. gravel) or on grass. The wide footprint on 8″ or larger pneumatic wheels provides stability on uneven surfaces both inside and outside. The pneumatic tires cushion the load and roll over obstructions with ease. These casters provide longer wheel life, less maintenance and high shock absorbency.  Generally speaking pneumatic casters can carry loads up to 7,500 lbs. in total weight.


Common pneumatic caster applications include aircraft ground support equipment, helicopter dollies, roof maintenance equipment, mobile construction shelters, and other equipment carrying electronics or other highly sensitive materials.


It’s important to note when selecting a pneumatic caster that capacity ratings are based on loads being moved manually with the proper tire inflation.



Stem Casters


A stem caster is simply a caster that uses a stem as a fastening device. Stem casters are more commonly available in the lighter weight categories, with capacities generally under 200 pounds each. The advantage a stem provides for lightweight usage becomes a disadvantage for heavier duty applications. The single point for securing; acts as an unwanted pivot point for larger capacities. An exception to this generality would be scaffold casters with a heavy stem for insertion into the scaffold tubing.


Stem casters are used on chairs, beds, and other household furniture. Outside the home, casters using a stem for connectivity are found on office chairs, office equipment carts, hospital carts and stands.


By having only one caster connection or fastener, stem casters are usually easy to replace. Medium to heavy duty casters are normally fitted with a top plate, giving 4 points for bolting the caster to a device, requiring tools for installation.  Grip ring stems and grip neck stems are inserted into a socket. This can usually be accomplished without tools. For removal, tools might be necessary to "unlock" the expanded grip ring, or to decompress the grip neck socket for release.


Another stem caster type is threaded, and as the name implies, the stem has threads and is inserted by turning into the socket with a clockwise motion.

 

Interested in casters and wheels or want to know more?