As the topic of workplace ergonomics becomes more common across many industries, choosing a caster to correctly suit your application is very important. Ergonomic casters are becoming increasingly popular with their proven track record in providing superior mobility performance and reducing risk of injury.
But not all casters are created equal and in order to get the most out of your ergonomic casters, there are many variables to consider.
Here are some key questions to ask when choosing a caster:
1. What is my required load capacity?
Knowing the load capacity that will need to be moved is extremely important. Of course, it is not just the payload, but the added weight of the cart or apparatus that needs to be considered. Once the maximum anticipated weight is known, you can quickly narrow down the type of casters available for use in your application. Most manufacturers have a safety factor that’s built in to ensure safe operation.
2. What floor type am I dealing with?
The type of floor the casters will travel over and its surface quality are also important considerations. Is it a smooth concrete floor, linoleum, soft carpet, or rough terrazzo? With an understanding of the floor type, it can be determined whether a hard or soft wheel should be used for your application. Typically, a hard caster is used on harder floors with no coatings and softer wheels on soft, coated and/or rougher floors.
In addition, floors with imperfections or irregularities such as cracks, “pot holes”, or debris will also influence the type of wheel to use. Hard wheels generally work best for smooth, level floors while softer wheels are geared more towards rough or damaged floor surfaces where some of the imperfections can be absorbed by the wheel material.
3. How will the cart be pushed, pulled, swiveled etc.?
An often overlooked consideration is how easily the cart can be manipulated, swiveled, or pushed and pulled in the intended environment. It is best to try to define specific push/pull requirements as this will often dictate the wheel material that is best suited for the application. This force is measured using a push/pull force gauge. The pass/fail criteria are measured against the probability that a population can successfully push this capacity. For example, in most companies, it is expected that 90% of the female population should be able to push at the specified force for a specific load capacity.
4. What is the surrounding environment like?
The overall environment the casters will be operating in should also be considered. Some environments which impact caster choice are:
- Outdoors: Consider climate, moisture, debris, or
- Indoors: Consider moisture, chemicals/detergents, heat, and other elements.
This means that an outdoor cart used in a cold environment, a rack used in a high temperature oven, or a hospital bed that is cleaned with detergent all require very different consideration when choosing casters. Some environments may require the use of a grease fitting or a sealed bearing, whereas others might need special coatings or treatments that prevent corrosion or premature wear.
5. Do I have any other special requirements?
In some instances, there may be a necessity for a low noise solution or casters that ensure that the wheel material does not mark the floor. There are also situations that require shock absorbing characteristics to prevent damage to electronics or equipment being transported on the cart. In many industrial applications, it is highly desirable to have casters that require either low or no maintenance as it can be difficult to manage maintenance for a fleet of carts or impractical to implement a maintenance program based on existing resources. So, think about your specific situation and environmental considerations so you can choose casters that will work best for you.
Reduce caster maintenance/replacement and improve workplace ergonomics with the right questions
Choosing the right caster will make the difference between a high maintenance caster that will require constant upkeep or frequent replacement and one that will require little to no upkeep because of its specific design and how it works in your environment.
Answering these questions up front makes the decision of choosing a caster much easier and will reduce time and energy in the longer term.
Darcor’s casters are designed to tackle specific applications in the automotive, medical and floor cleaning industries. Contact our engineering department today to determine the right caster for your specific application or use our caster selector.