When mounted to the underside of a piece of equipment, casters and wheels make it easier for personnel or machinery to transport a load or group of items from one place to another in a manufacturing or distribution facility. Typical industrial applications include platform trucks, carts, hand trucks, assemblies and tow line conveyor carriers.
There are several types of casters and wheels. These include:
Rigid (or stationary) casters – These fixed-position casters feature a wheel mounted to a stationary fork (also called a horn). The wheel can only roll along a straight line path. Accessories, such as wheel locks, prevent the caster wheel from moving to hold the load in place.
Swivel casters – Featuring a wheel mounted to a fork (also called a horn) that is mounted to a pivoting swivel joint, these casters can rotate a full 360° so the wheel can roll in any direction. Accessories, including caster locks, prevent the caster from swiveling to move the load in a single direction.
Wheels – Offered in a wide variety of hardness, materials, sizes, and treads. Wheel materials include:
The appropriate choice of caster wheels depends on many application-specific factors, such as:
Amount of use
Environmental conditions (moisture, extreme temperature)
Exposure to chemicals or liquids
Floor surface and condition
Casters and wheels are used in a variety of areas to support processing and picking throughout a facility:
Assembly: Transporting loads to, from and through assembly processes
Order picking: On carts and forklifts, transporting pallets and totes throughout a facility
Production: Moving in-process parts through a production line
Replenishment: Transferring items from storage to picking locations
Transport: Moving loads and equipment throughout a facility
Casters and wheels provide a variety of benefits:
Mobility – Adding wheels and casters to a platform or piece of equipment makes it easy to transport a load or machinery throughout a facility to support processing and handling
Ergonomics – Because they facilitate motion, wheels and casters lessen physical strains and stresses on personnel as they move heavy loads
Transport – Wheels and casters enable easier storage and manufacturing processes because they help to speed the travel of component parts and inventory throughout a facility
Casters and wheels are used in nearly every industry, including:
Warehousing and distribution