Top 10 Caster Add-ons & Features that Improve Usability

wWhen you shop for casters and examine different items available on websites and/or in catalogs, it would be sensible to think that what you see for any particular model includes all of the available options. It’s often true; however, manufacturers have a plethora of add-ons and features that can be used with their casters – sometimes more than what can fit in a website description, chart, or a catalog.

Our Top 10 List of Add-ons and Features

Once you become aware of the options available, you will be better equipped to create the perfect caster for your situation. We present to you 10 of the most popular caster add-ons and features.

1) Brakes – Most casters are available with or without brakes; specifying brakes will generally increase cost, but may also improve usability. Many brake options are available: Some brakes simply apply force to the wheel tread; others exert braking force on the hub itself. The simplest brakes are located on one side of the wheel; double-sided brakes improve usability by making the break lever accessible, no matter which way the caster is turned.

2) Swivel Locks – Equipment that must be highly maneuverable is often designed with four swivel casters. This allows a cart, for example, to be easily positioned in tight spaces. The extra maneuverability, however, can make it difficult to push the cart in a straight line over long distances. To solve this problem, the casters can be equipped with swivel locks. These locks leave the wheel free to rotate, but lock the swivel bearing, making the casters function like rigid casters.

3) Sealed Bearings – Many casters come standard with regular bearings, but have sealed bearings as an option. While sealed bearings may be more expensive, in some applications they are essential. In a gritty or dusty environment, sealed bearings will keep unwanted particles from entering the bearings, causing damage and shortening its life span. In moist or corrosive environments, choosing bearings that are sealed may be the best way to protect them from damage due to water, humidity, or harsh chemicals. And finally, in high temperature applications, sealed bearings can prevent lubrication from leaking out of the casters.

4) Anti-Corrosion Materials – Sometimes casters must operate in harsh environments. If your equipment has to function in the corrosive conditions found in the harsh chemical wash-down sprays of hospital sterilization rooms or food service industries, or in the degrading salt air found near coastlines, then be sure to upgrade to caster materials that can withstand corrosion. Stainless steel is often a great choice.

5) Kingpinless Design – Many swivel casters rotate around a kingpin. Because the kingpin absorbs much of the load, it can sometimes break, causing caster failure. Kingpinless caster designs are available, which solve this problem by eliminating the kingpin. As an added benefit, kingpinless casters are often rated to support higher load capacities.

6) Bigger Wheels – Many users of casters calculate the load capacity required for each caster on their equipment, and then specify the smallest diameter caster that meets that capacity – because smaller casters are generally less expensive than larger casters. However, going to a larger diameter wheel, and possibly a wider tread, has several benefits that may be worth the expense: bigger wheels can roll over cracks and obstacles found on rough surfaces, making for a smoother ride which protects both the equipment, and the cargo on the equipment. Wider treads will help distribute the weight over a larger area, which may protect floors and extend caster life.

7) Twin Wheel versus Single Wheel Design – To improve maneuverability, consider switching to a twin wheel caster design. When making tight turns, the tread on single wheels tends to drag, as the inner circumference of the wheel travels a shorter distance than the outer circumference. Twin wheel designs eliminate this problem by allowing each circumference to follow its own path. The maneuverability of twin wheel casters makes them ideal for such applications like office seating, medical carts, and lab carts. With larger equipment the twin wheel design can increase load capacity, and also lower the center of gravity, which can yield increased stability.

8) Wheel Tread Material – The same wheel is often available with different tread materials. The least expensive tread materials may end up costing more in the long run though – if they wear out quickly, damage floors, make excessive noise, or cause other problems. Explore all the different tread options to find the best one for your situation.

9) Wheel Hub Material – Similar casters can differ in the type of hub used. By upgrading to a different hub material, you may be able to increase the load capacity or durability of the caster. You may also be able to select some hub materials that will stand up to adverse environmental conditions such as: extreme heat, moisture, and harsh chemicals.

10) Anti-Microbial Wheels – As the final entry in our list of Top 10 Caster Add-ons, we include anti-microbial wheels. This is a good example of an option you may not have known about, but it might be the perfect solution for a tough problem. These wheels are made from a polymer that has an antimicrobial compound in it. The wheels suppress the growth of microbes including bacteria, mildew, and molds. They can add an extra step of hygiene for equipment in hospitals or the food service industry.

Find the Best Options – Contact Douglas Equipment Today!

The 10 add-ons and features presented above are just the beginning – manufacturers have many more available. With so much to choose from, what’s the best way to decide? Contact Douglas Equipment and describe your requirements to one of the experts in our customer service department! We will be happy to tell you all about the available options that meet or exceed your requirements. We work with all of the major caster manufacturers, and have extensive knowledge about the options they offer!

Our toll-free telephone number is 800-451-0030; our local number in the Miami area is 305-888-3700. You can also fill out our contact form and we’ll follow up with you soon.  We hope to hear from you today!