There are many types of production environments where temperatures are distinctly on the low side. Perhaps the most prominent type of ‘cold environment’ is associated with food storage. Food is kept chilled in order to maintain its freshness. This means that all the devices and items of equipment must function adequately in cold environments.
Not all types of casters will function as required in cold environments. We will go through the types of caster that are best suited for use in cold environments. First though, we will look at the considerations you need to understand when choosing the correct type of caster for use in cold environments.
Some Things to Consider
Like any environment, a cold environment requires casters that deliver three important aspects:
They are safe.
They are mobile.
They are resilient.
Some additional factors come into play with cold environments though, due to their nature:
- total cleanliness
- reliability in wet or damp conditions
- dependability in extreme temperatures
Making the correct choice when it comes to casters in what could be described as a challenging environment will support your company’s productivity. It will also make sure that your production floor runs efficiently.
Caster Features That Are Important in Cold Environments
Mobility is key in cold environments. Using casters that restrict mobility can cause injuries via over-exertion. It will also have an effect on your company’s expenses when it comes to health and safety. Productivity is also dependent on the ease at which your workforce is able to transport items from where they are to where they need to be.
Therefore, it is best to have casters that have low starting resistance (the effort required to move an item on casters in the first place) and rolling resistance (the effort required to keep an item on casters in motion). If you choose unsuitable casters for your cold environment, then your employees will find it difficult to move items, causing fatigue and raising the chances of injury.
Another Factor to Keep in Mind
It’s also important to have low swiveling forces (so the items are easy to maneuver even through litter-strewn environments) and braking and/or swiveling locks that are easy to engage. This will ensure that your loads remain parked where they are meant to be stored.
One other consideration that is often ignored when it comes to cold environments is noise. Production floors are hardly the most silent of environments, so anything that can be done to reduce noise pollution is obviously beneficial. Soundless casters are precision-machined to make sure they run as silently as possible. Investing in soundless casters will make your production floor a much more pleasant place for your employees to work.
Properly Selected Casters Can Boost Productivity
The most important aspect of a caster working in extreme temperature environments is of course resistance to cold. In some freezing environments temperatures can drop as low as minus sixty degrees. Extreme cold affects the physical attributes of most materials, causing the material to become stiff and brittle. If you choose the wrong type of caster, the vehicle itself becomes a hazard. They will not roll easily, and when put under load, there is a real chance it will break. The risk of caster failure will put your workforce under the threat of injury and will reduce your production floor’s efficiency.
Casters for Food Production
If your extremely cold environment is a food production or processing environment, then you will know that cleanliness is a key factor. Even the smallest contaminant can spoil food and cost you a great deal of money. If this is crucial for your production facility, then you will need to choose a caster that cleans easily, and one that will not corrode when washed down using detergents.
Cold environments tend to be associated with moisture, which again is an important factor when it comes to the correct choice of caster. You will want to choose a caster that keeps moisture out, and keep its lubricating elements in. Most casters are now precision-engineered so that they are resistant to the unwanted intrusion of water and other liquids.
Importance of Non-Marking Casters
One final consideration – if not a crucial one, is the selection of a non-marking caster. Unsuitable casters can have a detrimental effect on your production floor and ultimately cause damage. You may need to repair or even replace your floor, eating into your profits.
So, you now understand what you need to consider when selecting casters for cold environments. The truth is, most casters are only designed to work under typical temperatures. You cannot get away with using ‘typical’ casters in most environments – such casters will fail, often sooner rather than later.
What to Look For
The key materials to look for when it comes to casters suitable for extremely cold environments are performa rubber and phenolic resin. Caster wheels made of these materials will give you a consistent performance as they are extremely durable and resistant to temperature extremes. These materials can cope with temperatures approaching minus forty-five degrees. If you regularly move between cold environments and hot environments, then performa rubber and phenolic resin wheels can also cope with temperatures as high as 180 degrees.
An Example of a Caster That Works Well in Cold Environments
Once example of a caster that’s designed to cope with cold environments is the Colson 2 Series Stainless. This caster is made from 304-grade stainless steel which means it can handle the most corrosive and punishing conditions. It contains double-ball raceways which enables superior performance and outstanding levels of durability. If you need casters with braking ability, then this caster can be supplied with a Colson Top Lock brake. This brake is available on all 3-inch swivel models, and provides a positive braking action on all types of wheels. Note that these brakes are not suitable for high temperature environments.
If you would like to learn more about the type of caster suitable for use in extremely cold environments, then please call a member of our support team here at Douglas Equipment. All of our caster experts can be reached at 1-800-451-0030 or 305-888-3700 in the South Florida area. Alternatively, you may contact our team through our online form.