Seven Types of Caster Mounts to Choose From
Casters are vital tools in materials handling, which business owners and administrators often overlook. The efficiency and functionality of casters depend crucially on the quality of the materials in the caster, including the caster mount. The compatibility between the caster and the tasks it performs is also a key consideration.
Caster Central, a leading seller of casters and other pieces of industrial equipment, presents this article to introduce several of the most common types of caster mounts. We consider their functions and applications in modern materials handling and transport situations.
We hope the information from this post empowers businesses to make effective decisions when assessing their equipment needs, estimating their shipping and transport capabilities, purchasing new equipment, and upgrading their existing equipment.
Why the Type of Caster Matters
All casters perform the same essential functions, but that does not mean that casters are interchangeable. For example, the casters on your existing equipment might not serve your current needs if you expand the scope of your business operations, use different facilities and loading equipment, or modernize your business infrastructure.
Before evaluating the benefits of caster types, consider the essential caster features and how their attributes affect caster performance. A caster could be a poor fit for a particular application not because of a flaw in the caster’s design but because its designers created it for a different task.
When choosing between caster mounts, ask yourself if your casters need to have:
- Cushioning against impacts
- A narrow turning circle
Consider the load that your casters will have to bear and the surfaces they will travel over. If you have any questions, a Caster Central customer service representative would be happy to review your materials handling process and recommend the right caster for you.
The Defining Features of Casters
Typical casters consist of several parts, including:
- A top plate that connects to the item that you are transporting
- A swivel mechanism that often includes ball bearings to reduce friction
- A central kingpin or stem that connects all the elements of the caster
- A fork that connects the wheel to the rest of the caster
- The wheel itself.
A caster’s mount influences how the parts of the caster interact with each other and how forces travel through the caster during its operation. Choosing a caster mount that fits your business practices ensures a good return on your investment in new casters. Before considering the main types of casters, ask yourself how you plan to use casters.
Ways of Using Casters
Virtually all caster applications involve getting heavy materials from one place to another. However, the word heavy means different things in different contexts.
Different types of cargo have varying requirements. The following examples rely on casters, but a caster that works for one situation might not work for the other.
- A department store shopper moves fifty pounds of home appliances through the aisles of a department store and navigates to checkout without bumping into anything or struggling to keep the cart moving straight.
- A hospital needs to transport sensitive medical equipment from floor to floor and from room to room without subjecting the equipment to impacts that could damage it.
- An office supply store unloads hundreds of pounds of printer paper from the rear loading dock and needs to bring it quickly to store shelves without disrupting the customers.
- A warehouse operator needs pallets weighing over a ton to move along tracks from a loading area to a sorting area.
Type 1: Rigid Casters
Rigid casters only move in a straight line and do not swivel. They are best for situations in which you do not require maneuverability but need to make sure that the caster moves steadily and smoothly without unpredictable or unsteady movements.
Type 2: Swivel Casters
Swivel casters, including stem-mount and plate-mount varieties, swivel around an axis. The raceway, a circular internal component, allows them to swivel.
The inner track of the raceway attaches to the yoke, while the outer track attaches to the top plate. Ball bearings within the raceway allow both tracks to rotate relative to each other.
Plate Mounts and Stem Mounts
Plate-mount casters screw or bolt into the object directly, and the plate attaches to the swiveling mechanism. Stem-mount casters have a stem that protrudes through the top plate and sticks up from the caster.
Type 3: Stem Casters
The stem is a bolt that passes through the caster yoke, top plate, and other caster parts between the wheel and the top plate. Stems stick into bolt holes or other receptacles on the underside of the pallet, furniture, cart, or other heavy objects.
A stem mount is ideal for situations that require flexibility because you can fine-tune caster performance by adjusting the stem. For example, you can tighten it to increase friction and reduce the amount of play in the caster. High stress on the caster can snap the narrow kingpin.
Type 4: Grip Necks
Grip neck stems attach to wood without causing damage to the structure that surrounds them.
Type 5: Grip Rings
Grip rings are round at the top with a notch that fits a grip ring in the item they attach to, allowing them to snap into place easily. They are often a component in wheeled chairs, carts, and office furniture because they are not as strong as other mounts.
Type 6: Threaded Stems
Threaded stems attach to threaded receptacles, providing more strength than grip rings, although they require more effort to remove.
Type 7: Plate Casters
Plate-mount designs anchor the caster to the item through a piece of metal called the top plate. This arrangement has some benefits and disadvantages.
The plate splits the forces on the caster four ways to the mounting screws or bolts, making them more rugged than stem mounts and ideal for industrial settings. Plate-mount casters can be more cost-effective due to the simplicity of the design.
Plate-mounted systems are more damage-resistant. However, you would have to disassemble the caster to adjust its steering performance. Heavy-duty casters are often plate-mounted because durability is more important than finesse in industrial applications.
Many plate-mount casters lack a central pin called a kingpin. The kingpin makes the caster more adaptable because you can tighten or loosen it to change the caster’s level of resistance to movement.
One example of a system that relies on a kingpin is the steering system of a car or truck. The kingpin is essential in this context because adjusting the kingpin changes the feel of the steering wheel.
Do You Need Help Choosing the Right Caster?
Get help from the caster experts at Caster Central. Choosing caster mounts is only one important decision.
The caster and the wheel can consist of various materials. Some casters include specialized yokes and wheels. For example, the wheels could contain a V-groove to fit on a track or be spherical instead of disk-shaped.
You don’t have to decide on your own. When you buy your casters from Caster Central, you can count on the advice of an expert consultant who will help you choose the perfect combination of caster mount, caster composition, and wheel to match your materials handling needs.
Support Your Business Operations with Caster Central
At Caster Central, we pride ourselves on providing on-time delivery, superior customer service, and only the best quality casters and other equipment components to help your business run more smoothly. Call us at (800) 445-4082 to find the right caster series and caster mount for your business.