How to choose the type of castor -


How to choose the right castor for your industry & application

At Industrial Wheels you can find different castors. Which castors are the best for your industry? That depends on the environment and circumstances in your company. The wheels and castors in our assortment have many components, characteristics and features which give them the right properties for your business purposes. 

If you are looking for a specific type of wheel or need castors for a specific application, feel free to contact us for a bespoke solution. 

To find the best type of castors for your industry application, take a look at our industry solutions or read all about our different types of castors.

Different types of castors

In our product range, you can find different types of castors for a variety of purposes. In brief, we will summarize some of the most common types of castors and their applications.

Swivel castor or rigid castor?
Practically all castors are divided into two categories. You can either choose a swivel castor that is able to rotate in any direction, even when carrying a heavy load. If you need the wheel to move in a straight line you can choose for a rigid, also known as fixed castors, which can not be steered but can only move back and forth. 

Locking castors with brake system
You specifically need locking castors when you need to move up and down a slope or when you want to prevent the load to suddenly move. In most cases, a castor with a lock is needed for safety, either to prevent the load from damaging or to ensure a safe working environment. The brake system is traditionally mounted on the swivel castor as it combines the braking of the wheel rotation with the braking of the horizontal “swiveling” rotation.   

Castors with locks are often used on containers, platforms, scaffolding, furniture or containers. There are different castor brake types that you can use, you can choose for:

- A brake that presses only the spinning of the wheel, these are single braked castors.

- A double working brake that brakes the rotation of the wheel and the swivelling of the swivel castor.

- Or a brake that pushes on the floor and lifts up the platform or trolley, this can be levelling castors or floor brakes, also known as truck locks.

Plate castors, bolt hole castors or stem castors
Plate castors are used in a wide variety of applications and are available as both rigid castors as well as swivel castors. The mounting plate makes it easy to attach the wheels to the appliance which needs to be able to move. The mount plate consists of a rectangular steel plate with 4 drill holes to fasten the castor with. Depending on your preferences or requirements we can create various hole patterns on our top plate castors

Stem castors are mostly used when there is little space to connect your castor on. The stem on these castors is the connection point for the wheel. These stem mounts are often threaded, but we can also provide them non-threaded in a round or square shape with mounting holes or expandable stems. 

Bolt hole castors are a certain type of stem castors that you can fasten through the centre of a swivel head. These castors are often used on equipment like trolleys, carts or medical equipment.

Requirements for your castor

To find the right castor for your application there are several questions you should ask yourself. 

  1. How much space do you have for your wheels or castor?
  2. How often do you need to move your applications and how far?
  3. What load capacity do the castors need to have?
  4. How far do you need to move your load?

Determining the load capacity
Bigger wheels and castors are able to carry a heavier load. To determine the load capacity for each castor wheel you should divide the total weight of your application by the number of castors that you need (* 0.75. E.g. when using 4 castors you divide the total weight by 3 to include a safety factor that not all load is equally distributed over the wheels).  When you are moving heavy loads, we advise you to use a wheel with roller bearings or ball bearings, as they are easier to move. 

Plain bearing, Ball bearing, Timken bearing or roller bearing?
Plain bearings are the most common type of bearing. The bearing surface is in direct contact with the bearing shaft. When you choose roller bearings, the bearing consists of cylindrical elements which will reduce friction and make your appliances easier to move. A ball-bearing castor is somewhat alike, but instead of cylindrical elements, balls are used to reduce friction. Ball-bearing castors are most commonly used in industries with high accuracy. In another article, we dive deeper into bearing types.

In general larger wheels are easier to move, especially when you have a wheel with ball bearings. Ball bearings, however, can’t carry the same load as roller bearings. If you need to move your appliances often over large distances? Try to choose the biggest ball bearing castors. 

A Timken bearing, also known as spherical or cone-bearing is a bearing that permits angular rotation. This type of bearing is commonly used on car suspensions, driveshafts, heavy machinery, etc.

Thread material

There are several materials you can use for the thread of your castors. A rule of thumb is, hard and solid materials perform well on smooth and hard surfaces while soft materials are ideal for rough surfaces or outdoor use. Do you want to make sure you are not damaging or marking the floor? Choose polyurethane wheels or rubber wheels. 

Solid or pneumatic rubber wheels and tyres are most often used on uneven surfaces. The material can absorb shocks, vibrations and gives good traction. 

Plastic wheels made from materials like nylon, polyamide and thermoplastic are used in a wide variety of applications. The most important characteristics of plastic wheels are their chemical resistance, non-marking treads, heat resistance and extensive possibilities for customisation

Polyurethane and vulkollan
Polyurethane is a material that is wear- and tear-resistant, good load capacities and is perfect for smooth surfaces. Polyurethane wheels can easily carry loads up to 1000 kg. Vulkollan is also suitable for smooth surfaces and is a much better alternative for polyurethane. Vulkollan is a very durable material with high load capacities, low rolling resistance and a high level of customization for your custom made wheels and castors. 

Cast iron and steel
Cast iron and steel are excellent for industries where heavy duty load capacities and high wear- and tear resistance are required. 

Environmental circumstances
In some industries, wheels and castors are exposed to extreme temperatures and/or chemicals. Choose polyurethane wheels if you need castors that are chemical resistant. When you need castors that can handle extreme temperatures, you should look for castors made from heat-resistant rubber or nylon or choose cast iron castors. 

Heavy-duty castors
At Industrial Wheels we are experts when it comes to shipping container wheels. These heavy-duty wheels and castors are able to carry and move extremely heavy loads with ease. These castors are equipped with twist locks for fitting and locking in an ISO 1161 corner of a freight container. Thanks to our shipping container castors, moving your freight containers is made easy.

Do you need any help to find the right castor for your industry or do you want to have a quote? Feel free to contact us. We are able to help you in Dutch, English, French and German. 

Frequently asked questions about castors 

What’s the difference between a rigid castor and a fixed castor?
None, it’s exactly the same product. These are synonyms.

What’s the difference between a caster and a castor?
There is no difference, but the term ‘caster’ is used in American-English whereas the term ‘castor’ is used in British-English. As our focus is primarily on the European market we refer to our products as ‘castors’.

Is it possible to have a brake on a fixed castor?
Yes. In most cases, the brake system is attached to the swivel castor because it combines the braking of the wheel and stops the wheel from swiveling.

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