Casters, which are wheel mechanisms that attach to certain types of furniture or equipment, have a variety of everyday uses. Personal applications include desk chairs and strollers, whereas business or industrial uses include hospital beds or carts used to carry materials in a warehouse.
Parts of a Caster
A caster consists of three parts: the plate, the fork, and the wheel.
The plate is a flat piece of metal that connects the caster to the equipment.
The fork connects the plate and wheel using an axle.
The wheel is the part of the caster that allows the equipment to move.
Materials Used to Make Caster Wheels
Caster wheels can be made using several materials, but some of the most common are rubber, steel, cast iron, resin, or a combination of two or more materials.
Hard rubber wheels are typically softer on floors, less likely to leave scratches, and are quieter. As a result, they work well on most floor types, including wood, linoleum, and carpet.
Forged or Ductile Steel
Forged or ductile steel wheels are heavy duty caster wheels that work best for heavy loads on floors that don’t require protection. They can withstand high temperatures, can manage heavy loads, and are good shock absorbers.
Cast iron wheels can bear heavy loads and do best on hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete. A coating material such as rubber or polyurethane can increase the versatility of a wheel made of cast iron.
Polyolefin wheels are hard, non-abrasive, lightweight, and can withstand high impacts. These factors make the wheels ideal for high-use vehicles such as shopping carts, industrial kitchen equipment, and warehouse equipment.
Pneumatic wheels are hard rubber filled with air, which makes them ideal for fragile or delicate loads. This wheel type works well on most floor types and is useful on uneven surfaces.
Phenolic wheels are made with a combination of resin and canvas and are suitable for push/pull uses on hard floors. They can carry heavy loads similar to that of cast iron wheels.
Wheels made of a combination of glass and nylon are designed to tolerate high temperatures. In addition, these wheels roll smoothly and won’t mark up floors, which makes them ideal for all floor types.
Choosing the type of wheel for your caster is all dependent on your purposes. Load type, floor surface, and working conditions will determine the type of material you choose for the wheel. It’s important to be fully aware of the environment in which your caster will be used so you can make the best decision for your equipment.