Casters have been a staple in almost all workplaces, especially manufacturing industries. They are practically indispensable, as they facilitate free-range motions with relatively less effort and maximum support; making moving heavy industrial equipment easier.
Since casters are typically heavily-used, they are also prone to wear just like any other tool or machine. A variety of problems can occur when casters are poorly chosen or in bad condition. These include steering difficulty, damaged flooring, load shifting, and premature wear. These cause delays and potential business loss.
However, these problems can be avoided, if the right type of casters are chosen. When buying casters for your operations, here are things you should take into account:
A load that’s too heavy can cause a caster to bend or completely break, so you have to determine the total weight of the objects to be moved, including the container that would be carrying them. Overloading a caster is never a good idea.
There has to be a good match between the wheel material and the flooring; otherwise, you may have to deal with heavy wheel markings and flooring abrasions, or prematurely worn out wheels. Light to heavy duty casters available from providers like Carolina Material and Handling come in a wide variety of options.
Rubber wheels, because of its elasticity and low vibration qualities, are usually best for smooth flooring (such as those in labs). Polyurethane, on the other hand, features maximum rollability, longer life span and resistance to abrasion. Phenolic wheels are recommended for smooth concrete; and are also highly resistant to grease, oil and mild acids. Steel wheels, on the other hand, are the most resistant to high impact.
You should also consider the type of environment the caster will be exposed to. Some wheel materials may be sensitive to high heat, and to some cleaning chemicals. Others may have little resistance to moisture, and should only be stored at a certain temperature. It is important to know the materials first and finding which would last longer in the work environment.
As CIO.com said, “In manufacturing, stopping a production line is a costly, wasteful proposition.” Given that a single problem in the production line can result to potential losses, it is imperative to be well-informed in choosing the tools/devices you incorporate in the production system.
(Source: Improve Your Productivity with Three Lean Manufacturing Principles, CIO.com)