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Many customers have asked, “How do I know what industrial caster or wheel to use?” Many specifications need to be figured out when determining what you need in your caster.

The three most common questions that help us determine which caster include:

  1. What is the maximum load capacity of your application?
    When determining weight capacity, remember to factor in a margin of safety. Since three wheels make a plane, the reasoning is that there is a good chance that the load’s weight will be over three wheels, not four at times. Once the total load weight is determined, adding a safety factor to the total is a good idea. We recommend adding a 33% addition to the total weight of the load for safety.
  2. What is the speed the application will be moving? Towing at higher speeds generates heat in wheel material like polyurethane, which can cause it to deform. Different urethanes generate different amounts of heat, so for higher towing speeds, you will need a higher quality urethane that generates less heat than a standard one. For more information on this, check out How Fast Can I Tow My Polyurethane Wheels?
  3. What is the duty cycle of your application? The duty cycle is how often and over the distance the application moves. This information will allow us to have a baseline of what you are looking for and provide valuable information if we need to engineer and develop a custom caster.

Surface applications and materials

The surface an application will be rolling on also plays a significant factor in determining wheel material. If the floor is smooth like indoor concrete, and there is minimal to no floor debris, then a polyurethane wheel will most likely be a good choice. Poly provides a softer material for rolling on surfaces than a steel wheel, which can damage your floor over time.

Of course, this also depends on your application. For instance, if your application runs on a rail, a steel V-groove wheel may be necessary to stay on the track and provide a higher load capacity than polyurethane. Suppose the primary use for your application is going to be outside, in the elements, and over rough and uneven terrain. In that case, an industrial caster with a pneumatic wheel will be the best option for more rugged use.

Sensitive loads and tight spaces.

There are also spring-loaded casters to help protect the more delicate large materials from bouncing, breaking, and causing too much noise during movement. Another caster option that we have is called a Swivel on Swivel. This takes two swivel components and stacks them on top of each other. This can be a good fit when an application is being moved within a tight space because it reduces the side-to-side sway of the application during initial movement.

AGVs and other automated vehicles.

In heavy duty industrial applications, one might think that the ease of movement doesn’t matter because there isn’t a person straining or risking injury. However, ease of movement still matters because it means less strain on automated vehicles. This translates into longer battery life and a power savings advantage. This may come into play in facilities using AGVs to move a job throughout an assembly line from one processor to another.

On our Caster Concepts website, we also provide our customers with a Learning Center that explains the many aspects of the casters we make so that they can have a better understanding and do research when it is convenient. This can help with the decision process before ever speaking with a salesperson.

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