Swivel lead (swivel offset) is the distance from the caster swivel section’s vertical centerline to the wheel’s vertical centerline.
When engineering a heavy-duty caster for an industrial application, consideration of the swivel offset is essential to achieve the correct and desired performance. Incorrect configuration can cause safety issues and other problems. Lengthening the swivel lead impacts caster performance.
Ergonomics (wheel size and material)
Increasing swivel leads makes turning carts easier by reducing the force required to begin motion.
Expanding swivel lead also leads to a larger turning radius and reduces the ability to make an actual 90-degree turn.
If casters are used in manual and powered towing applications, the correct swivel lead can significantly impact the application.
Caster Load Rating
• Increasing the swivel leads beyond the radius of the swivel section diameter reduces the load rating because the moment (force distance) experienced by the swivel section increases.
• When designing casters, this should be accounted for, as the casters may be easier to swivel, but the total load rating can be reduced. There is always a trade-off between maximizing loads while attempting to maintain the present force required to swivel the caster.
• The length of the swivel is essential in power towing applications. The longer the swivel leads, the better the caster will track the movement of the tugger pulling the cart.
• Reduced caster flutter when the caster begins to shimmy and vibrate during towing. Reduces the ability of the cart to track the towing device.
• Correct swivel helps eliminate safety issues when carts in a train flutter, which could cause injuries if casters fail or items fall off the cart.
Lead changes can positively or negatively impact caster performance during an application, so it’s critical to design swivel lead properly.
On the upside, swivel reduces the force required to swivel the caster and caster flutter. On the downside, changes in swivel lead can reduce carrying capacity and increase caster flutter in powered applications.
If you have an application that needs optimum efficiency, consider investing time at the beginning of the process to maximize the benefits of proper swivel lead.</p>