Castors are offered in many different types and sizes, making it tricky to select the most appropriate one for the job. If you want to ensure maximum productivity and minimise long-term costs, it’s vital that you select the right castors for your application. While there is no simple formula for proper selection, the following tips will guide you through the important factors that need to be considered before making your choice.
First and foremost, you need to determine the combined weight of the equipment and the maximum load it needs to hold. Generally, the heavier the load weight, the larger the castor and wheel. To calculate the load capacity of each wheel, divide the combined weight of the equipment and the expected maximum load by three.
The reason for dividing by three as opposed to the actual number of wheels (usually four), is that occasionally not all the weight will be on all the castors, particularly when travelling over an uneven surface. For example, if your combined weight is 600kg, divide by three and your maximum capacity for each castor will be 200kg. This calculation is the safer bet when determining each castor’s maximum load capacity.
We’ve established that the greater the load weight, the larger the wheel diameter must be. This is because larger wheels distribute weight more evenly and roll more easily, making them safer and more efficient. There are also other factors that may affect the size of the wheel you select, such as the condition of the floor, breaking needs, the general environment that the wheels need to traverse, even the appearance and noise level of the wheels.
Heavy loads on hard wheels can cause serious damage to the surface that they’re constantly travelling on, so it’s important to consider the condition of the floors and to make sure that the wheel is large enough to pass over cracks, tracks or any obstructions. Generally, hard wheels perform best on soft or smooth surfaces and soft wheels are better suited for hard or rough floors.
Concrete floors are the easiest to navigate and any type of wheel, whether nylon, polyurethane or rubber, will be fine. For a tiled surface, you would need a softer polyurethane or rubber tyre for better protection and navigation. If the floor is rough or uneven, pneumatic wheels provide the best cushioning and shock absorption, particularly if the load being moved is fragile.
The conditions of the working environment must be carefully evaluated before selecting a castor wheel. The temperature of the room is usually not a problem but extreme cold or heat can be an issue. The presence of corrosive chemicals, acids or oils are the biggest concern – never use rubber in a corrosive environment. In areas where there is a lot of water from regular wash downs, stainless steel castors are essential, as they’re impervious to oxidation and rust.
Now that you understand what factors need to be considered before selecting the correct castor wheel for the job, you’ll find that the castors and wheels you select will last longer, cause less damage and improve the overall safety of the workplace. But if you’re still not sure which castor wheels best suit your needs, contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.