Not every company can afford to buy in bulk. Buying in bulk requires storage, and storage space costs money! Small-to-medium companies do not have a significant amount of inventory, so they hold just a small, but adequate amount at any one time.
This means that such companies need to transport a small amount of what they need at a time. In order to maintain a smooth workflow, a material-handling cart with effective casters is a real necessity. This may mean making sure you have casters that you can use for transporting materials over bumps or cracks, or otherwise rough or damaged flooring. If your casters are not up to the job, then your workflow will be compromised, hence diminishing your effectiveness.
Getting Ready to Roll!
One of the first things you may need to consider is the diameter of your wheel. If you have the luxury of a perfectly smooth terrain, then both a small diameter caster and a large diameter caster will roll just as well as each other.
If however, your floor is littered with bumps and cracks, and there is typically debris all over the ground, then a larger wheel will enable you to climb over the debris. If you operate manually (as opposed to motor-driven), then you may find that a caster with a diameter between six and twelve inches will aid you immensely. The heavier the loads you typically carry, the larger diameter wheel you’ll need.
Larger wheels are also more suitable for carts that are taller, or are used for a number of different loads. However, they are not always considered safe as the center of gravity of your load can shift, making it possible for any loads to tip.
If you are used to pushing loads in excess of 2,000 lbs., then you really need to consider a wheel that is at least 10 inches in diameter. However, smaller wheels such as those around 8inches tend to be the most popular.
The Type of Material Needed to Craft Your Caster
Lots of companies go for metallic wheels, unaware that metal wheels can easily damage concrete floors – especially if the loads they have to bear are on the large size. After lessons have been learned – or adequate research has been performed in the first place – companies often use plastic, rubber molded or polyurethane wheels within their caster housings.
If your floor is uneven, cracked, or bumpy (old concrete floors tend to shift or crack), then it will be well worth your while to go for a spring-loaded caster as an option. The springs within such casters perform a vital function, in giving your carts the ability to support shocks. If you combine a spring-loaded caster with a polyurethane wheel, then you are attacking the issue of bumpy or cracked floor two-fold. Such polyurethane wheels are manufactured so that they can be made to provide an additional level of resistance to shock. These wheels are designed as to contain elastomer material, which will absorb shock in the vertical direction but will retain its shape in all other directions. This means it does not sacrifice strength in order to absorb shocks.
Harder polyurethane wheels are usually easier to roll, but they can also create a lot of noise, and they have a tendency to get stuck into gaps and cracks, and also to get stuck on debris. If you take the option of going for a softer polyurethane, then you’ll have quieter wheels and less chance of issues with a cracked or debris-strewn floor. The downside is that carts with casters containing softer polyurethane wheels require more force to move.
Polyurethane Wheels are Good on the Rebound
Polyurethane wheels typically have good resistance, or a decent rebound factor. When you bounce a ball on the floor, it shows resilience to revert back to its original shape. By the same principle, with a caster wheel, this resilience helps to propel the wheel forward, especially over rough terrain or debris. The higher the amount of resistance a wheel possesses, the more vertical force that is exerted when the wheel is being used to bear a load. This means that the wheel deforms less when it’sput under additional strain.
If you have to work on a production floor that is covered in bumps and cracks, or is littered with debris, then you should not go for polyurethane wheels that have a hardness in excess of 85A. One of the hazards you may come across if you go for harder wheels is the amount of debris that becomes trapped in the tread. If this happens to your wheels, then this will significantly reduce their effectiveness, and it will also create a number of other problems for you including the wheel that will need to be replaced far sooner than if you had decided upon softer wheels.
When it comes to tread, you also need thick treads as opposed to thin ones. Thick treads are much better at resisting shock and rolling over debris than thin ones – ideal if your floor is not in the best of conditions. Having said that, you will find the thick treads combined with wheels made from low-resiliency polyurethane tend to be hard to roll. It is therefore almost an exact science to get everything right – the thickness of the tread, the diameter of the wheel, the material used, the hardness of the material, the caster’s resilience, and other factors of construction that come into play. Finding the correct balance or trade-off of one factor against another is important if you want your production floor to be as efficient as it can be.
If you would like to learn more about the type of casters that are suitable for use for transporting materials over bumps and cracks, then contact the team here at Douglas Equipment. A member of our team will be on hand to answer your questions as best we can. You can call us any time at 1-800-451-0030 or contact us through our online contact form.