Tips for Caster Selection
When one begins the caster selection process for an industrial application, there are a series of key items that should be considered to assure that the casters can withstand the most strenuous aspects of that application. It is not the purpose of this article to cover the details of the process of specifying casters but instead to point out some very key items that should be considered prior to the purchase of these items. Industrial casters that are properly specified should provide an extended life with minimal maintenance and upkeep.
1. Proper Sizing of the Swivel Section – The swivel section is made up of the yoke and the top plate. The top plate is what connects the caster to the cart or other piece of equipment. The yoke base is where the legs that contain the wheel are attached. The interface between the top plate and the yoke base is collection of ball bearings that are arranged in a predetermined radius. The circumference of the radius and the size of the ball bearings are reflective of the weight carrying capacity of the specific swivel section. On the low end of the industrial range the balls are generally 0.125″ in diameter while the diameter of the race way is generally 3″ On the high end, the ball size generally is 0.625 and the diameter of the raceway is expected to be in the range of 6-8″.
2. Hot forged vs. Cold Stamped – The next consideration is also associated with the swivel section. There are two basic processes by which the swivel sections are manufactured, one being cold stamped and the other being hot forged. Cold stamping, as you can imagine, is an inexpensive means for forming metal. This process is limited by the thickness of the material. In the manufacture of industrial caster, cold stamping is generally limited to 0.25 steel plates. Hot forging is a much more expensive process and creates a much better finished product. Hot forging is used for much thicker steel plate generally in the range of 0.875” thick. Hot forging of steel produces a product with the highest physical properties for use in an industrial caster application.
3. Leg Thickness and Width – Once you have specified the appropriate size of the swivel section the next critical consideration would be the leg size. When considering leg size one must consider the thickness of the material the leg is manufactured from and the width of the leg. In the dynamic application the leg will be affected by three key factors:
A) In a static loading environment the thickness and width of the leg is what supports the load.
B) The thickness of the leg will directly affect the amount of side thrust the caster will withstand.
C) The width of the leg will directly affect the amount of force that caster will take when in a trailing position.
It is important the leg be sized in both thickness and width to support the load in a static environment and also in a dynamic application.
These three points are meant to get the application engineering portion of a project off on the right foot. Without the right size swivel section, manufactured in the appropriate fashion with the right size legs attached to the swivel section, you will be destined for failure of the caster. The engineering staff at Caster Concepts has many years of experience in the process of specifying the appropriate caster for the application. If you struggle and want to be sure you are correct, do not hesitate to give the caster experts a call.
At Caster Concepts, Inc. we will work with you to help you find the product that best fits your needs. Caster Concepts, Inc. is an ISO 9001-2008 certified designer and manufacturer of a comprehensive line of industrial casters, ranging from a medium-duty series to a heavy-duty series to meet any application. CCI also manufactures caster wheels to withstand impact, corrosion, temperature extremes and chemicals found in harsh industrial environments. These multi-functional casters and wheels serve a variety of applications in the industrial, automotive, food service, aerospace, material handling and other demanding markets. Learn more about the entire family of Caster Concepts companies –Reaction Industries, LLC, The Machine Center, Fabricating Concepts, LLC, and Triple E Manufacturing, by visiting the most comprehensive web site in the caster industry at: https://www.casterconcepts.com/.