Understanding the variables that affect caster life.

The life of a caster is a tricky thing to predict. When trying to answer this question, the first thing we look at is understanding why the current caster you are using isn’t lasting as long as you want. We need to determine where the failure is coming from. Does the poly come off? Do the bearings in the wheel fail? Do your swivel sections stop working?

Many variables affect caster life. Understanding your application is probably the most important. And knowing exactly what the load parameters are is critical.

One of the first things to know is the weight of the actual cart or dolly and then how much weight will be going on it. Next would be the speed. How fast will that load be towed? Higher speeds need a caster that can stand up to the additional abuse. Also, the duty cycle. How often will it be towed throughout the day or shifts, and how far? These are important for a few reasons.

Factoring weight and speed.

For example, weight and speed can be a killer on polyurethane. If you have a load that is too heavy for the poly on the caster and you add in higher speeds, you’re creating heat in the poly, which will cause it to delaminate. Add in a high duty cycle, and your caster will not last long.

It is also important to look at the caster’s environment. Will they travel outdoors? Do they come in contact with water or chemicals?

What about maintenance? Do you have a maintenance schedule for the casters, and is grease put in them regularly? Proper care goes a long way in the caster’s longevity.

Next, you want to make sure you have the correct swivel section. Make sure your swivel section capacity is in line with the application. Are you using the best wheel bearings? For example, tapered bearings are the best choice for heavier loads.

Once you identify why the caster is not lasting longer, we can look at ways to fix the problem to get a better life cycle.

As you can see, there are many reasons why a caster can fail. Most are related to the application. A typical caster warranty is a year. However, most failures are caused by the application and having the wrong caster spec’d into it.

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