Most frequent questions and answers
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A castor wheel is a relatively small undriven wheel, meaning that it is free-rolling (as opposed to powered). They are designed to be attached to the bottom of a larger object, to enable easy movement across a floor or other hard surface.
The wheel is limited in that it only spins on a single axis. It can only roll in one direction at a time. Castors incorporate wheels into their designs, but they are a bit more sophisticated. A caster includes the mounting system that holds the wheel in place.
When choosing small castors for indoor use, the general rule of thumb is to choose hard wheels for soft floors, and vice versa. Small hard castors are usually made from plastics like nylon or polyurethane, while small soft wheels will often be rubber or feature a rubber ‘tyre’.
A castor is made up of two parts: the wheel and the mounting bracket. Castors are mounted to carts, racks, trucks, trolleys, and heavy equipment to make them movable.
Castor Purchasing Considerations
Softer floor types, such as hardwood, will require softer wheel materials while harder floor types, such as concrete, can handle harder wheel materials.
If your workspace is wet and/or oily, or if exposure to chemicals is a concern, it is important to choose wheel materials that will be able to handle these conditions.
Where you only need to move the object or equipment in a straight line, rigid (fixed) castors are most likely all you will need. However, if you need to maneuver a trolley or piece of equipment in a tight space, swivel castors will be a better choice.
The larger the load capacity is, ideally the harder the wheel material and the larger the wheel diameter required.
Precision industrial ball bearing:
Used in applications where heat can build up due to friction caused by constant movement and/or higher speeds—all towing applications use precision bearings (as the high tolerance and hardened steel used in the sealed and greased bearings reduces heat build-up that can cause weakening of the wheel).
Precision industrial ball bearings offer the lowest friction and therefore the lowest push effort—they are also the most expensive type of bearing in our range.
Used in high impact applications (the large surface area of the bearing spreads load and therefore protects against high impact).
Not suitable for high speed (more than 6 km/h)
Plain bush (or bore) bearing:
Used in corrosive environments (polymer bearings won’t rust).
Also used to reduce cost (the cheapest kind of ‘basic’ bush).
To determine what size castor you need it is best explained in this diagram.
1. Overall Height: the distance from the bottom of the wheel to the top of the top plate or caster stem.
2. Wheel Diameter: the distance between the opposite sides of the wheel. Casters are typically labeled by their wheel diameter.
3. Wheel width: also known as the tread width, this represents the width of the outer surface of the wheel.
Generally speaking, larger diameter wheels provide a quieter ride at low speeds. Shock and vibration-resistance wheel materials are avaliable and may be a requirement where castors wheels are used. For example retail, health care and hospitals.