- Do you want to adorn your home or office with moving chair and furniture?
- Are you in need of moving away extra load in your workplace?
Then you need something like wheeled cart or furniture. A caster will make it possible for you in your workplace, home or office. Nowadays the caster wheel is common with the furniture and carts especially that need to move with the load. You will experience easy rolling and moving of extra loads with the added caster in your cart or chair.
A caster (or a Castor) is introduced as a device including wheel which usually comes mounted with a larger object. A castor is mostly used for easy rolling movement. You can find one ranging your load capacity. There are casters with heavier and lighter load capacity ranging from 100 lbs. or less to 100 000 lbs. You just need to choose the required one for you. They are also different in size. You will discover them smaller for furniture as well as massive in bigger factories or industrial areas.
Caster: Definitions and Common Features
Before we describe the types of casters, I will guide you through the definitions and common features of casters that will assist you to understand the requirements and design. Casters are a wheeled device installed in a larger object. Casters are important to enable the relatively easy rolling movement.
Though a caster is a smaller device, the mechanism is not as easy as a wheel. A caster contains Mount, swivel head, yoke, spring, wheel, bearings, axle bolt, and nut. They all are required to complete the different mechanism for a caster. Caster wheel is built with cast iron, plastic, rubber, polyurethane, nylon, rubber, thermoplastic, stainless steel, aluminum and many more.
Categories: Types of Casters
Considering the uses and feature we have found two categories of casters available in the market. One is swivel caster and another one is rigid or fixed Caster. The swivel caster allows swiveling 360-degrees. On the other hand, the rigid caster is known as a fixed caster that can only move forward or backward. Let’s go through the details about casters.
Swivel caster allows swiveling towards all the directions. It may have a couple of raceways which enable the caster to move around an axis to 360 degrees with loads. It comes with positive caster angle that helps the caster to follow the floor trails at the back of the steering axis.
There are different types of Swivel Casters available in the market. We will introduce you to all other Swivel Casters present in the market.
- Plate Casters
- Hollow Kingpin Casters
- Kingpin-less Casters
- Locking Casters
- Stem Casters
Plate Casters: Comfortable with Heavier Industrial Workloads
Plate caster is the most common one available in the industry oriented casters. They are able to carry both the lighter and heavier loads in industry based workloads. Plate casters are mounting to a unit which is commonly looking like a plate. It is also known as the top plate. That is why this type of casters is familiar as plate casters.
They are mostly used in the industrial areas which have load capacities starting from at least 300 pounds. The mounting plates in the plate caster are bolted to the unit with four holes. It also offers different patterns of holes to adjust the numerous categories of mounting necessities. The top plate has added the advantage of carrying heavier weight loads.
Hollow Kingpin Casters: Extra Heavy Duty Casters
Kingpin Casters are the traditional swivel casters built with the composition of several pieces. It features a kingpin, a top plate, a lower thrust race, a lower thrust bearing, an upper load race, and an upper load bearing. The kingpin is usually a bolt or rivet which has fastened all the other sections that allow the caster to swivel. The swivel mechanism happens around the kingpin which works like the axis. The kingpin caster has an adaptable design with a load bearing and a thrust bearing that transmits the load.
But the kingpin design does not come without problems. The kingpin is the main part that holds all other sections together and connects all the elements that have to absorb the whole transmitted load causing strained and stressed over time.
Kingpin-Less Casters: A Caster Without the Kingpin
The kingpin-less casters are much simpler than traditional Kingpin Swivel Casters. Naturally, the design itself eliminates the kingpin requirement. A Kingpin-less caster is built with a top plate including a forged inner race and an outer race in which the legs are attached with the ball bearings between two pieces. So the design is much straightforward.
The Kingpin-less casters are also able to carry the heavier loads and removing the kingpin eliminates the problem mentioned above in traditional Kingpin Casters. But it has some other problems. Comparing both the kingpin and the Kingpin-less casters the difference is in their design and the load distribution system. But the kingpin-less casters is the better one with cost competitive market and offers greater impact area.
Locking Casters: Experience of Both Swivel and Rigid Casters
Locking caster is the one that enables a caster to lock down reaching a final destination and unlock it again to move around all the directions. It can convert the swivel caster and make this one completely immobile. It comes with an added braking mechanism that prevents the swivel assembly from turning. You can choose the brake types as your requirement or order one which will be suitable for you. There are several brake types available – wheel-brakes, central locking, double locking, add-on buffer brake, or total locking.
Stem Casters: The Light Duty Casters
A Stem Caster is assembled with wheels mounted onto a fork including a stem attached to it. The different stem styles feature various types of stem casters. There are three types of common styles available in the market – The threaded stem, the grip ring stem, and the grip neck system.
- Threaded stems are same as threaded like a bold with a bolt into a receptacle.
- The grip ring stem is a caster that comes with a steel ring which is inserted into a predrilled hole within the wheel.
- The grip neck stem is also like grip ring one including a predrilled hole with wood sockets.
Rigid Casters: The Fixed Casters
A rigid caster is the one which is also familiar as the fixed caster. The rigid caster wheel is mounted in a fork set that has no turning capacity. It only can move forward and backward following a straight line which is unable to steer. But these are effective of the cargo. The rigid casters are stronger than the swivel casters which allow greater weight capacities.
But you have to be careful using rigid casters to line it up correctly in order to ensure a smooth track. The rigid casters feature four in one set that follows the diamond pattern with a larger center wheel. This mechanism allows it to rotate on the center wheels.
More Specified Categories
There are some other categories available that are specified by different requirements. They are heavy duty casters, Light Duty Casters, Leveling Casters, Pneumatic Casters, Spring Loaded Casters, V-Groove Casters, and Flanged Casters.
The engineered category contains The American Standard Casters, Metric Casters, and Blickle Casters.
How to Choose the Right Caster For You?
Yes, the most crucial thing is to select the right caster for you. The proper selection can make the difference between user convenience and working disappointment. Mind you that wrong selection of caster may cost you dearly in terms of money, inconvenience, and physical harm.
What are the factors that deserve intensive considerations leading to the right choice of the mechanism? Yes, caster better is told a mechanism rather than an appliance or tool is a mechanism constituted of a housing, bearings, and wheel.
Before declaring the significant considerations I want to pose a question where and why you will use a caster. With that question answered accurately, see a run-down of factors you need to focus deeply on while choosing you caster.
We know the rule of thumb that larger wheels will run faster and more easily and you should go for the largest possible wheel. But that size or diameter should be determined by the size of the cart and highest possible amount of the load you will carry on it.
If you go for a swivel caster, you must know the radius of the caster wheel to yield required clearance with the housing.
Load Range and Capacity
Load capacity is the most crucial thing to learn before finally taking a caster so that you do not exceed the highest limit even an emergency. That can invite costly inconvenience harming everything.
It depends solely on the choice of bearing you are making and quality precision bearing can serve you the best in this regard.
With casters added to any furniture or transportation, you are enjoying the facility of an increased and easy mobility. And that mobility can put into risk if and when it moves without notice at the slightest unwanted push and pull. That is why locking and braking are necessary to put a bar in the unwanted and untimely movement. There are many options to choose from as per your budget and requirement.
There are three options choose from – top plates, screw threads, and trolley. Top plates need to be bolted in the chosen location while the screw or press threads go into a whole on the body of the piece to move.
There may be a concern if not hazards. In most of the cases, casters pulling and drawing are done manually that makes you give a second thought while opting for caster attachment to your instrument. The casters taking a lot of strain to move and not ergonomically designed are a health and safety threat for you and the employees. In addition, they harm and reduce the productivity and workability of the workers. Thus how you make a great loss of time too.
How Can You Overcome this Concern Properly?
Selecting the larger and properly designed wheel can come to your rescue in this situation. Swivel casters supported by quality precision bearings are easy to move and so reduce the working strain of the workers.
Wheel being the most important and prime component of this rolling mechanism, the construction and materials of it merit special attention. The general rule is that to go for the softer wheels for tougher floor and vice versa. For this reason, you need to have full knowledge of the softer and harder wheel materials. Here you go with two sets of wheels materials and their functions.
Materials for Soft wheel:
- Ploy II Rubber for wheels of soft thread
- Soft Rubber for quite mobility and resistance to chemicals and oil
- Thermoplastic Rubber ago between the softer and tougher wheel materials
- Glass Coated Nylon highly durable among the soft wheel materials
Materials for Hard Wheel:
- Polyolefin most economic and increased impact resistant among the harder wheels
- Mold On Polyutherane molded into an aluminum hub to provide with high floor protection and load-hauling capacity
- Poly II Urethane for added floor safety and high resistance to chemicals and even to acids
- Cast Iron most durable and strongest meant mostly for industrial use. Risky if left exposed to water.
The selection of casters should involve the consideration of caster protection along with the floor protection as changing the floor caster is most unlikely. When going for casters, think about the sensitiveness of the materials to oils, chemicals, and acids.
For floor protection, you can and should opt for the properly cushioned, self-energizing, and premium wheels for floor protection. And the Moldon, Pneumatics, and Rubber wheels are better for floor health. Polyurethane is not always protective for the floors especially when it is a hardness one rather than heard thread.
Not to bore you with repetitions, we can tell in short that it is all the caster mechanism you should be thoughtful to come out with the right caster best suited to your job. And you need to consider the Man, Machine, and Movement while considering a caster – whether it reduces work strain with its rollability, sturdy enough to bear with the load range, and easy to move with as large a diameter as possible.
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