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We often hear from consumers who have a vexing challenge to solve: How do I extend the life of my casters in an environment where debris is not just an occasional hazard, but a constant presence?

Finding a caster wheel that can stand up to the toughest factory conditions needn’t be a futile exercise. Certainly, there are combinations of materials that can promote debris-resistance while improving durability.

In making the right selection, it’s important to take a look at your manufacturing environment from four perspectives (you can read more about the specific types of manufacturing environments in this blog) :

  1. Condition of your floor. Are your floors and tracks composed of solid concrete, or softer, composite materials? If the wheel is harder than the surface it rolls upon, it can both damage the floor and be more prone to degradation from debris.
  2. Types of debris. Are you generating metal shavings, sawdust, fibers or plasticized materials? The less malleable the material, the more destructive the impact on your caster or wheel.
  3. Weight on the cart. Are you carrying a load above the cart or caster load rating? If so, the force required to move the cart needs to be increased – and potential impediments can disrupt the motion of the cart, or, even worse, cause the load to fall.
  4. Driven or hand pushed. Understanding the ergonomics involved in the material handling application, and matching the caster wheel material, ensure optimal caster wheel life.

After considering the four factors that impact caster life in an industrial or aviation application, the best solution often lies in specialty polyurethane wheels, which are manufactured to offer the twin benefits of optimizing debris resistance and longer wheel life.

At Caster Concepts, we use two types of tear resistant (T/R) polyurethane in caster wheel manufacturing – 85A, and 95A (as measured by a durometer). T/R polyurethanes are designed and engineered to deflect any debris, such as metal shavings from CNC machines. Polyurethane wheels can also be engineered to repel bolts, screws, nuts and anything else that may embed itself in other types of polyurethane.

What are your biggest headaches caused by the effects of debris on caster wheels?