Swivel and Extended Leads Offer Greater Efficiencies and Savings on Heavy Duty Casters.

The advantages of using a Heavy Duty Swivel Caster to efficiently move thousands of pounds is more than getting from point A to B. 

Using the proper heavy duty caster reduces the injuries caused by an operator trying to push a cart that is too heavy. Fewer injuries also reduce medical and insurance costs associated with an injury and the time you lose when an injured employee can’t work. Even greater ergonomic efficiencies are achieved when you add a swivel section to a heavy duty caster. That’s because a swivel makes moving a cart easier from a dead stop if the wheels aren’t aligned. 

Unlike rigid casters, which travel in a straight line, a heavy-duty swivel caster has an additional swivel joint above the fork that allows the fork to rotate 360°. This makes it easy to move the wheel in any direction without changing its orientation.

How well a heavy duty swivel caster performs depends on a few things. The first is swivel lead. This is the distance from the vertical centerline of the caster swivel section to the vertical centerline of the wheel. By extending or lengthening the swivel lead, a loaded cart is easier to turn as it requires less force to get moving. However, increasing the swivel lead on an industrial caster also leads to a larger turning radius. It reduces the ability to make a true 90° turn. Another factor to consider is the caster load rating. Extending beyond the radius of the swivel section increases the force put on the section and reduces load rating.

Longer Swivel Lead Benefits When Towing

A longer swivel lead still offers many advantages. Another is the tracking benefits realized with power towing applicationsThe longer the swivel lead is, the better the caster will track (constantly follow) the movement of the tugger pulling the cart. The longer lead will also help reduce caster flutter, where the caster begins to shimmy and vibrate while being towed.

For the reasons shown above, the swivel lead you use must match your use of the industrial caster application. Here is a summary of using extended swivel leads in various applications:

  • Swivel leads for high-speed applications are often longer than those of low-speed applications. The purpose is to improve tracking and reduce the chance of flutter.
  • When increasing a lead, the movement (force x distance) increases. This causes the raceway to experience more demanding forces than a shorter lead, affecting weight capacity.
  • For ergonomics, long leads move the wheel farther from the raceway. Swiveling the caster is easier as less force is required to swivel the caster. 
  • Longer leads increase the swivel radius, so turning the caster will require more turning room than one with a shorter lead.

Swivel on Swivel

One evolution of the swivel caster is the swivel-on-swivel design. This places a swivel section on top of a swivel section to achieve a longer swivel lead than conventional casters. The main advantage is the reduced force required to rotate the caster and start it rolling. Also, the 2nd swivel section transfers energy to the 1st swivel section. This aids with the rotation and reduces the shifting that occurs — a huge benefit when maneuvering the cart in tight areas. By reducing shifting and the force needed to rotate the caster and change direction, the dual swivel caster reduces operator fatigue and the risk of injury.

Powered and Dual Wheel Caster Options

Powered options come into play when weights go above acceptable levels in manual movement. Dual wheel casters that swivel are good options in these cases. Heavy duty dual wheel casters do a great job at distributing the load weight, ideal for floors where structural concerns may be an issue. They also can provide the lowest overall height of any heavy duty caster. This weight distribution also reduces the pressure and friction on each wheel and makes it easier to swivel and maneuver. In addition, a dual raceway design assures smooth rotation – found in our massive Dual Wheel 99 Series — even when heavily loaded.

Extra Heavy-Duty Shock Absorbing Caster

Swivel casters with shock-absorbing capabilities are ideal for applications where cushioning is needed. These heavy duty shock-absorbing casters can handle load ratings of up to 25,000 lbs.

  • The spring compression cushions the load and can be engineered to start at a few hundred pounds. 
  • Swivel sections carry 3 to 4 times more than the listed 20,000-pound capacity in typical configurations.
  • The long swivel leads reduce shimmying and vibrations in the caster when towing.
  • Applications include jet engine dollies, aircraft jacks, in-plant trailers, revolving signs, and many others.