If you want to avoid a potentially costly mistake, you need to make sure that you pick the right casters for your business needs. Although they may look like fairly simple pieces of equipment, casters are actually made up of several different components, each of which you need to consider when choosing one for your company.
From the size of the wheel itself to its swivel radius to the intended load weight, keep reading to find out everything you need to consider before committing to a caster.
- Wheel diameter
As a general rule, larger wheels will roll more easily, and therefore, if you are looking for ease of use, you should opt for a large wheel. However, it is also worth noting that if the wheel is too large, it can raise the center of gravity of your load and cause it to tip over.
- Swivel radius
You have the choice between either a fixed caster, i.e., one that does not swivel, which are ideal for moving materials in straight lines, forward and backward, and swivel casters that allow you to navigate through tight turns and small spaces.
If you need a caster that swivels, you need to consider how much clearance is required for you to attain a 30-degree swivel with the mounted caster.
- Load capacity
Each caster is designed to support a certain amount of load, and if you exceed this amount, you can cause damage and deterioration to your caster. You can choose from heavy duty casters that are designed for applications with heavier loads or faster transportation speeds or medium duty casters and light duty caster that are best for dollies, hospital beds, food processing equipment, hand trucks, shopping carts, bakery racks, conveyors, electronics and laboratory equipment and usually accommodate loads of up to 400-500lbs.
You need to make sure you choose the right bearing for your caster, as this will determine how well it rolls during application. There are three types of bearings that are used for casters:
- Delrin bearing. This is ideal for wet environments.
- Roller bearing. Best for keeping dirt and debris out.
- Sealed precision ball bearing. Low maintenance and good for noise reduction.
There are two main braking options that you can choose from: friction brakes and locks. As a general rule, friction brakes offer more control over the speed of your load, whereas locks prevent your load from moving when it is unsupervised.
It is important to not only consider how a particular caster can help improve your overall productivity but also how safe it is for the person using it. You may want to save money on casters, but a bad castor can potentially make moving heavy loads dangerous. This is especially the case if the caster is too stiff or does not swivel properly.
If you are not sure if a caster is safe, it is always a good idea to read customer reviews before making a purchase.
When it comes to mounting your caster, you can choose from top plates or press threads, with the former attached to the trolley or cart surface using a bolt and the latter being attached via an insert.