Do I Need a Wheel or a Caster?

Do I Need a Wheel or a Caster?Having the ease of moving an object is one of the things that wheels do best, but there is more involved in what a wheel does. Without other things such as the axle that the wheel turns on, the wheel would be useless. So if you are either building a cart, or repairing and replacing the components of other equipment, you will want to make sure that you are buying what you need to get the job done right.

Do I Need More than Just a Wheel?

There are many different parts that make up a caster, and a wheel is just one of these. Some of the many components in a caster are the forks, axles, brakes and wheels, but wheels are one of the main components. Along with what type of wheel you need, there are many different things to consider with a caster, and it is more often than not that you will want to replace an entire caster rather than trying to just replace the wheel.

Some of the decisions you will need to make on what caster to buy are as follows:

  • What is the dynamic load and maximum load capacity you need?
  • Do you need your caster to swivel and if so what radius can this take?
  • Do you need brakes on your caster and if so what needs to brake (the wheel, the swivel or both)?

If you need help with finding the right caster for your unique task the dedicated team at Douglas Equipment can help.

One example of a caster that has a wheel much like one you would consider on a vehicle is a caster with a pneumatic wheel:

  • P-Wheel Series – Pneumatic Tyres and pressed Steel Rims: The Blickle P-wheel series include pneumatic tyres with either a zig-zag or ribbed profile for better grip, 2 or 4 ply rating and inner tubes. Bearings are either roller bearings, which are lubricated with long-life grease, or plain bore which is corrosion resistant. Rim options include a welded tubular steel hub, zinc plating or blue passivation or a pressed steel that is bolted. With the exception of oils these wheels are resistant to many aggressive substances and operate in a temperature range of -25C to 50C. Wheel diameters are 180 – 300mm with load capacities of 75kg to 180kg. With a reduced load capacity, these casters can handle maximum speeds of up to 16 km/h.

What Types of Wheels are Available for Casters?

As said above, one of the main components of a caster is the wheel, and choosing the right wheel material can be critical to getting the caster you need. In general it is best to use hard wheel materials on soft floor surface and soft wheel materials on hard floor surfaces, but this is just a rule of thumb and does have some exceptions that the team at Douglas Equipment can help with.

Here are a few of the different harder caster materials available:

  • Cast Iron: One of the most popular hard wheel materials since it is strong and durable, not easily chipped or cracked, and does not wear easily. The biggest draw back is the problem of rust in a wet or moist environment.
  • Mold On Polyurethane: By using a machined aluminum hub and permanently molding the polyurethane tread onto it, these casters offer good floor protection, high load capacities, long service life and easy rolling performance.
  • Polyolefin: If you are in need of a caster that will see exposure to frequent wash downs, cleaning solutions, oils, chemicals and greases, then this is a good option. These casters offer high impact strength, light weight molded construction and are one of the most economical hard tread caster solutions available.

Some of the soft tread wheel materials are listed below:

  • Soft Rubber: Offering a quiet, cushioned ride for the load and added floor protection, these are a good soft wheel option. They are resistant to most oils and chemicals but do offer a lower load capacity than the hard rubber options available.
  • Glass Filled Nylon: For wheels with high impact resistance and are extremely durable, consider glass filled nylon. If you are looking for a caster wheel that can handle heavy loads, this is also a very acceptable option.
  • Thermoplastic Rubber: If you want an option that provides non-marking floor protection, but is a better choice that a soft rubber, Thermoplastic rubber is one to consider. Like the Mold On option, this soft rubber tread is bonded to a core and is resistant to chemicals and oils. It is also an ideal choice for applications where you will be washing down the casters frequently.

The Best Place to Find Out More on What You Need

Finding the right caster for your task at hand can sometimes be a daunting job, especially if you are not certain what caster features you need. That is where the knowledgeable team at Douglas Equipment can make a difference. Douglas Equipment has been in the business of quality casters and material handling equipment since 1955 and our dedicated service team has learned what it takes to find the right caster to fulfill all of your unique requirements.

Each component of a caster can influence how the entire caster works, so if you need to weigh the alternatives, there is no better place to turn than the team at Douglas Equipment. So, if you have any questions about which caster is the right one for you, feel free to contact our team today. Call us at toll free anytime at 1-800-451-0030. You can also contact us online right now!