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3 Different Types Of Caster Swivel Raceways To Consider

There are three types of swivel raceways to consider for your push-pull and towing application: kingpin, kingpinless, and maintenance-free. Expanding on the best and worst casters for towline applications, this post provides insight on which swivel raceway is best for your needs.


Kingpin Swivel Raceway - Swivel Raceways

Kingpin Swivel Raceway

The “kingpin” of the kingpin’s raceway is what actually holds the ball bearings in. The kingpin is the #1 cause of caster failure. Over time, the kingpin will stretch, loosening the ball bearings, and the caster rig will not be able to swivel. Because the ball bearings are harder than the steel of the raceway, you will get brinelling within the top plate. This causes the top plate to get ratchet-y over time from shock-loading.

A kingpin caster SHOULD NOT be used for towing applications. The kingpin cannot handle the stress of towing applications, making it a major safety factor. Kingpin swivel casters are ideal for hand-pushed applications. A kingpin caster has the highest cost of ownership. You are likely to replace kingpin casters a lot more compared to kingpinless casters.


Kingpinless Swivel Raceway - Swivel Raceways

Kingpinless Swivel Raceway

Kingpinless casters are very common in industrial and material handling environments. As the name implies, there is no kingpin in a kingpinless raceway. Removing the kingpin completely removes the #1 cause of caster failure. With a kingpinless raceway, the ball bearings are secured by the inner and outer raceway so, there is no kingpin to fail. With a kingpinless raceway, the weight load is evenly distributed across the top plate, offering a smooth swivel. If you require casters for towing, kingpinless casters should be your starting default option for rigorous applications. Kingpinless casters costs more upfront, but will last 2-3x longer than a kingpin caster.



Maintenance-Free Swivel Raceway

Unlike the kingpin and kingpinless raceway, maintenance-free swivel raceways require no grease/zerk for regular preventative maintenance. The ball bearings of a maintenance-free raceway are seated in a secured ring that makes swiveling extremely precise. The lower raceway and upper raceway of a maintenance-free caster are heat-treated, hardening the raceways. Throughout the lifetime of the product, the ball bearings will not brinell into the raceway from the shock-load. Additionally, the tapered roller bearing of the top plate helps the raceway acquire an even weight distribution from a load across the top plate.


In summary:

  • Kingpin swivel casters are ideal for hand-pushed applications.
  • Kingpinless swivel casters are the standard choice for industrial and material handling environments and last 2-3x longer than a kingpin caster since there is no kingpin to fail. Ideal for towline applications.
  • If you are seeking a premium swivel caster with unmatched ergonomic attributes and a low total cost of ownership, a maintenance-free swivel caster is your choice.
  • If you are curious to know what is the best and worst caster for towline applications, read this post.

Are you looking to lower the Total Cost of Ownership at your facility? Contact Caster Connection today for the right solutions.