The Difference Between Light, Medium and Heavy Duty Casters

The Difference Between Light, Medium and Heavy Duty CastersDouglas Equipment has been in business for nearly 60 years, expertly matching our customers with the best material handling equipment for the job they have at hand. A key to trouble-free material handling is knowing what type of caster is right for what you’re trying to move. You don’t want your caster to collapse under a weight that it’s not rated for, nor do you want a 5,000 pound-rated caster for a mail cart. Let’s take a look at the differences between light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty casters and the work they are best suited for.

Light-Duty Casters

Casters with a light-duty rating, as the name implies, are engineered to transport relatively light loads, typically up to 450-500 pounds. These casters are generally used for applications such as furniture dollies, hotel racks and carts, food service racks, shopping carts, cargo conveyors, and pharmaceutical, laboratory and institutional equipment, among others. Some top-quality light-duty casters that Douglas Equipment recommends include:

Albion 01 Series: Albion’s best-selling light-duty caster is a versatile, dependable, and economical alternative with a wide variety of applications. The top plate and yoke are constructed of heavily embossed formed steel, with all parts plated with zinc to resist corrosion. The single ball-bearing raceway keeps the swivel section rotating smoothly under the load weight. Polypropylene wheels are 2 to 4 inches in diameter with widths of 13/16 to 1-⅜ inches. The many uses this caster is ideal for include:

○       Business machines

○       Construction

○       Education

○       Electronics

○       Food manufacturing and service

○       Health care

○       Machinery and plastics/rubber manufacturing

Shepherd RS/RT Series: These sleek lighter-duty casters (capacities range from 110 to 120 pounds) feature a unique total lock that halts both the wheel and the swivel simultaneously when deployed. Available with hollow kingpin, stem, or plate fasteners, these fully heat-treated casters swivel on dual ball-bearing raceways and turn on a nut-and-bolt axle. Available in bright chrome, zinc-plated, and black powder-coated finishes. You’ll find the RS/RT series a good match for:

○       Medical equipment

○       Store fixtures

○       Institutional equipment

○       Electronics

○       Mobile carts

○       Furniture

Colson 3 Series: Available with either stem or plate fasteners, this series manages loads weighing 200 to 400 pounds. Features include full double-ball hardened raceways with a reinforcing washer, permanent rivet kingpin construction, and a ⅜-inch hollow axle with lock nut. Grease holes in the wheel bearing perform best with Colson 45 multi-temperature grease, which lubricates in extreme hot and cold temperatures. Look no further than this series for these applications:

○       Material handling manufacturers

○       Custom fabrication shops

○       Institutional

○       Medical

○       Food processing

○       Electronics

○       Retail fixtures

○       Construction/auto repair

Medium-Duty Casters

When a caster is rated medium duty, it is engineered to carry weights from 500 to 1,500 pounds. This class of caster rises to the demands of hotel luggage carts, food-service equipment, hospital beds, laundry carts, scaffolding, waste disposal trucks, and pharmaceutical equipment. Some medium-duty models available from Douglas Equipment include:

Shepherd Bassick AS/AR Series: This series is Shepherd’s most popular caster in the medium-duty class. Handling loads from 450 to 1,250 pounds, the AS/AR line excels for platform and warehouse trucks, material handling, and storage units. Available wheels are hard or soft rubber, polyolefin, phenolic, urethane on aluminum, and steel. For strength and durability, this caster features welded steel construction and sealed upper and lower full double-ball heat-treated raceways. The drawn and formed ballcup and embossed, formed legs, along with the corrosion-resistant yellow dichromate finish, round out this rugged workhorse.

Colson 6 Series Enforcer: This kingpinless series starts in light-duty territory with 300 to 500-pound capacities, but beefs up to models with capacities of 1,500 pounds. Legs are ¼-inch thick, hollow axle is ½-inch in diameter with grease zerk and lock nut, and top plates are 5/16 inch (swivel) and ¼ inch (rigid). The swivel section features a single ball-hardened raceway and a plastic seal/retainer washer for roller bearing models. Use the Enforcer for these medium-duty applications:

○       In plant/shop mobility

○       Custom fabrication

○       Food processing

○       Integrated suppliers

○       Government (military, postal, TSA, NASA)

○       Aerospace

Albion 16 Series: These rugged casters are made of cold-formed, heat-treated steel for maximum strength in medium-duty applications. The swivel section’s heat-treated, smooth formed, hardened double ball-bearing raceways protect the balls from indentation and wear. Top plate, yoke base, and fork legs are ¼-inch steel, and the legs are welded to the yoke base. The king pin is a ⅝-inch-diameter orbitally spun steel rivet and axle is ½-inch diameter, available both solid and hollow. This series is built to handle:

○       Dollies

○       Waste-disposal trucks

○       Warehouse trucks

○       Floor trucks

○       Shop carts

Heavy-Duty Casters

When you’re rolling serious weight – 1,500 pounds to as much as 20,000 pounds – heavy-duty casters will keep you on the move without groaning under such big loads. Ask us about heavy-duty casters like the following models:

Colson 8 Series Enforcer: Capacities from 680 to 6,000 pounds are all in a day’s work for this kingpinless caster. Steel top plate and fork legs are a stout ⅜-inch wide, and legs are robotic welded inside and out. Swivel raceway is single-ball hardened construction, with recessed zerk grease fittings to prevent damage. Use this caster for:

○       In-plant/shop mobility

○       Custom fabrication

○       Integrated suppliers

○       Government (military, postal, TSA, NASA)

○       Aerospace

Albion 95 Series TRL Super Duty Casters: The precision roller-bearing load and thrust swivel section (TRL) and AISI 1045 drop forged steel construction combine to wrangle loads from 1,400 to an incredible 17,000 pounds. The 7-inch diameter machined raceway with precision-tapered roller bearing is protected by a forged labyrinth skirt. Axle and king nut are a beefy 1-¼-inches. Top plate and toke base are ⅝ inches thick drop-forged steel precision machined for bearings, and legs are ½ inch steel plate welded to the yoke base inside and out. Use these muscular casters for:

○       Die carts

○       Towed trailers

○       Automotive plants

Shepherd Bassick HA/HB Series: If you need your caster to take a beating while moving 2,000 to 3,500 pounds, this rough-and-tumble series has got your back. Wheels are 2-½ inches wide for capably handling these big loads. Top plate and fully welded legs are heavy forged steel, with the 1-inch king bolt integrally forged into the top plate with a tapered roller bearing for the kingpin load. Abuse these casters in these applications:

○       Fixture trucks

○       Heavy engine stands

○       Assembly line trucks

○       Rough floors

Our Duty is to the Customer

Whether you need light, medium, or heavy-duty casters, Douglas Equipment is fired up to show you our extensive in-stock selection, and whatever we don’t have in stock, we can get for you. Contact us online, or if you’re local to South Florida, call us at 305-888-3700. National customers can call us at 800-451-0030.