Though many of today’s heavy-duty caster wheels are designed to be rugged, maintenance-free, and long-lasting, regular inspections are vital to keeping your workers safe and your workplace productive. Here, you will learn more about the reasons why you should regularly inspect your casters, and you will also learn about what to look for during your inspection.
Important Reasons to Inspect Your Caster Wheels
Heavy-duty casters are designed to carry loads that weigh thousands of pounds, so if one or more casters should fail, the results can be catastrophic. The best way to prevent such failures involves periodically checking the casters for various issues that may occur. Other benefits associated with inspecting your casters include:
- Extended Lifespan – If one caster on a cart or rack is not moving properly, this can put strain on the other casters supporting the load. When you regularly check the casters, you can catch issues like these and extend the life of all the casters attached to the load.
- Reduced Floor Damage – Damaged casters or casters with significantly worn tread can damage the flooring in your facility. By regularly checking the tread, you can ensure that your floors remain in pristine condition.
- Reduced Vibration & Load Shifts – When a shock-absorbing caster is not doing its job, carts and racks may vibrate. This not only makes it more difficult for workers to move these loads, but it may also cause damage to fragile loads. In some cases, and with certain types of loads, the vibrations may cause potentially dangerous shifting.
What to Look for During Inspections
Now that you are aware of the importance of inspecting your casters regularly, you might be curious about some of the most common issues you will find. Fortunately, inspections are the best way to avoid potentially catastrophic problems because they allow you to address minor issues early on. During an inspection, check the following:
- Loose nuts and bolts – If any are loose, be sure to retighten them to the proper torque using the appropriate equipment.
- Broken welds, mounts, or plates – During the inspection, you should also ensure that any welds are secure, and the plates are firmly mounted to the racks and carts.
- Distorted or twisted equipment frames – If the racks or carts themselves are distorted in any way, this can put undue pressure on one or more casters. Check the equipment carefully, and if you find any distortion, be sure to repair it right away. Too much pressure can cause caster failure.
- Bent stems – If any of your carts or racks use stem casters, be sure that the legs are straight and the bolts mounting the legs are tight.
- Missing locknuts or lock washers – These are vital for keeping casters tightly secured to equipment. If any casters seem to be missing these, they should be added right away.
- Difficult turning or swiveling – If the caster wheels do not spin freely, or if there seems to be an issue with the swivel, this could be due to a lack of lubrication. Properly lubricating casters that require it is a vital part of maintenance. Sometimes, difficult turning or swiveling may be the result of debris in the caster.
- Too much play in the swivel – As casters age, the swivel may display excessive play due to worn-out components. If the swivel feels loose, it may need to be replaced.
- Brake failure – Finally, make sure you check the brakes on the casters equipped with them for proper operation. If they slip or do not fully engage, you must replace the wheels, the brakes, or both depending on the cause.
As you can see, it is absolutely vital to regularly inspect and maintain your caster wheels. Failing to do so could lead to frequent replacements, damaged floors, damaged loads, or even employee injury that could have been prevented. These things hinder productivity and affect your bottom line.