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Polyurethane Applications in Heavy Duty Industrial Casters and Heavy Duty Industrial Wheels

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Heavy Duty Dual Caster

Polyurethane products are used in many industrial applications. The most common usage is in the covering (tire) of an industrial wheel. Using polyurethane for industrial material handling applications has several benefits, including:

  • Sound deadening. The softer tire (as compared to the floor or the steel cart) serves as a mechanism to absorb shock/vibration during the normal operation of the cart or vehicle.
  • Floor protection. Polyurethane provides the ”insulation” of the hard cast iron wheel hub when moving on a cement floor. If these materials (the iron hub and floor) are allowed to interface, there will be either a fracture of the grey iron wheel or the cracking of the cement flooring. If neither of these occurs, then most likely there will be a failure in the cart or load.

Polyurethane materials that are used for industrial wheel applications have a variety of properties that make them appropriate for the application. The three most important properties are:

1. Tear Strength -Tear strength is the force necessary to tear a material, measured by the force required to start or continue a tear. High Tear strengths are found in applications where it would be detrimental for the tire to ”chunk out” while under load.
• T/R 95 Tread Polyurethane
T/R 95 offers the strength and durability of a standard 95A durometer poly while achieving some ergonomic benefits, a high tear resistance, and longer wear life. This formulation achieves good solvent and oil resistance and is nonmarking.

2. Tensile Strength -Tensile strength is indicated by the maxima of a stress-strain curve and, in general, indicates the point where the material will not return to its original form. In layman terms, it is how much the material will stretch before failing. When under load, the polyurethane material must be able to stretch while not functionally or physically losing its physical makeup.

3. Favorable Hysteresis Curve – Polyurethane fail in dynamic applications is due to the build up of heat. Heat is generated in the soft and hard segments of the chemical structure when they are under load. Using the Tan Delta of the material, a hysteresis curve can be defined for the material that can be identified for demanding applications.

Wheel hardness 

Polyurethane tires also come in a variety of durometers. Durometer is one of several methods that measure the hardness of a material. This hardness is defined as a material’s resistance to permanent indentation. In the application of industrial wheels, standard durometers range from 70 shore A, which slightly harder than typical rubber materials, to 70 shore D, which is as hard as a bowling ball.


08200-60-19HARD TREAD (Shore 70D Hardness) Hardest, toughest tread we offer. This tread is ideal for heavy loads, is non-marking, and is wear-resistant. This extra-hard polyurethane has good water resistance but is not solvent resistant. It has excellent dynamic performance and very good physical properties. Wheels treaded in hard polyurethane can carry a heavier load than wheels of the same size treaded in standard polyurethane. The harder material makes it easier to roll.

The use of polyurethane materials in the industrial caster and wheel applications has been a significant improvement over the past 50 years. It has led to improved working conditions for many employees and improved safety for everyone. The proper use of these materials in the applications takes knowledge of the application (weight, speed, and environment) and knowledge of the physical properties of the available materials. Matching one to another will lead to a product that provides a very acceptable life cycle.

The engineering staff at Caster Concepts, Inc. and Reaction Industries, LLC, have the knowledge, the tools, and the experience to assure that you are getting the most cost-effective material for the application. For further information or a quote, please contact us here or call 517-629-8838.

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