We get a lot of calls from people trying to move very heavy loads, typically in the 20,000 to the 100,000-pound range.  When reviewing those applications, we get some common questions that I will lay out in this blog post.

What type of wheels should I use?

This is a question that really has an “it depends” answer.  For most inside/outside smooth concrete/asphalt applications, we recommend a urethane tire for the wheel.  The urethane tire helps protect floors, maintains a level of shock absorption, minimizes debris pick-up, and maintains traction.

92A HPPT Polyurethane Tread

High-Performance 92A HPPT Polyurethane

Depending on the specifics of the application, we will recommend a urethane that can handle the load, speed, and duty cycle and the overall environment that the caster will be working in.  Sometimes if we must minimize caster height, we will have to go with a steel or nylon wheel to maximize load-carrying capacity at the smallest height possible.  However, these wheels come with tradeoffs around floor protection and debris pick-up.

If the caster is used on rough floors or outside for extended periods (or at speeds up to 15mph), we will start looking at solid industrial tires, such as ones used on forklifts.  While they tend to be more expensive, for outdoor high-speed applications, those are the best option.

Precision Tapered Bearing

Precision Tapered Bearing

Once the wheel is selected, then we move on to bearings.  We can use sealed ball bearings in some slow-moving applications that don’t have many turns.  In most heady duty applications, we use tapered roller bearings.  These bearings are robust with high load ratings and can withstand cornering forces.  While these are our go-to bearings, they do require the user to maintain them by greasing on a set interval and checking for side-to-side play at least once per year.  If properly maintained, the tapered bearings will handle some of the harshest applications and last for years.

What type of swivel section should I use?

While the obvious answer is whichever one will carry the load you need, different swivel sections offer different benefits and tradeoffs.  For kingpin-style casters, the main load bearing can either be ball bearings or a thrust bearing.

  • The ball bearing design offers higher impact resistance, so if the application is abusive, choose ball bearings over thrust bearings.
  • The thrust bearings work better in non-abusive, constant swiveling/movement applications due to the harder bearing raceways.
    For very abusive applications, we would recommend a kingpinless design swivel section as you remove the failure point for the kingpin stretching.  The final type we like to use in heavy duty powered applications is our maintenance-free swivel sections.  These provide the impact resistance of kingpinless casters along with tighter tolerances and harder raceways to provide even longer life in constant-use applications.

What other caster options are available for heavy duty casters?

All of our heavy duty casters are available with wheel brakes, swivel locks, and toe guards.  These options can also be customized specifically to your application.  Toe guards can be made from different materials and the height can be varied to ensure they work on all terrains and if they get caught on something, it doesn’t cause a bigger issue with the entire structure.