How Different Are Casters, Really?
After over 30 years of helping clients solve problems with casters, we’re never surprised when we see unbelievably bad casters in the facilities of ultra-high-end companies. The reason for this, almost without exception, is because these companies don’t realize how different casters are.
Let’s be clear. Casters can literally prevent horribly debilitating back injuries, keep carts from sliding around and hitting into things in towlines, and save companies millions of dollars. This is not an exaggeration.
The right caster, makes all the difference. In fact, we have lots of really high-quality casters that will perform horribly in certain situations. That’s why we help our clients match the right caster to the right application.
However, BAD casters don’t belong anywhere near a company’s facility. Even bad casters on a barbecue or a shopping cart are needless. Now, when we’re talking about thousands of pounds, people’s backs, high speeds, or a bunch of other factors, there is no reason to use bad casters. The downside is just too great.
So, how can you identify whether or not a caster is a hunk of junk that will be the bane of your operations or an elite piece of equipment that will prevent injury, save you millions, and make everyone in your facility safer and happier?
Have a look at the casters below.
Most can surmise that the caster on the right is better than the one on the left. Without getting technical, it isn’t just because the one on the right is newer and in better shape.
Now, take a look at these two casters, a CC Apex and a generic orange caster.
This is where our clients sometimes get thrown off. There is nothing obvious at first glance that signals that the casters are hugely different.
Color is simple to imitate. We can also see that caster shape, design, width, and diameter can be imitated fairly easily. All of these factors are quite important to the function of a caster, but the most important factor is the quality of the material.
Both of these casters are made from the same material, polyurethane. Polyurethane comes in a million different forms, however, for example, spandex or lacquer. So, the formulation of the polyurethane makes all the difference in the world with casters.
Think about a wheel made out of steel or rubber. These wheels perform dramatically different, and the same goes for different polyurethane wheels. But, how can we know the differences then?
A primary way to test the differences is with a resilience test, such as in the video below. You can read an entire article on how rebound resilience affects caster performance from the link.
Basically, a high-quality caster with a lot of rebound resilience will give you a ton of advantages. High rebound resilience, like with the CC Apex caster, allows your wheel to navigate over and through debris, push off of the ground like a spring, and avoid flat-spotting (flattening on one side when your caster is stored).
That means that you will protect your employees’ backs, avoid workers’ compensation claims, protect your flooring (wheels don’t collect debris), be able to store weight for extended periods of time on the cart without problems, and reduce noise throughout your entire facility.
Don’t have a testing machine like in the video? Here’s a quick way to test the caster with a bounce test, and some reasons you want to stick with quality polyurethane.
WHY YOU NEED HIGH REBOUND RESILIENCE
- Wheel springs off the ground: better push/pull
- Wheel navigates over obstructions and debris
- Wheel repels debris from collecting
- Wheel does not flat-spot
- Wheel dampens sound
- Wheel grips floor
- You are protected from injury & loss of money
- You can work without interruption
- You preserve your floor and avoid costly repairs
- You don't have to transfer load for storage
- Your valuable hearing is protected
- You avoid injury and damage in towlines
IF A CASTER LACKS REBOUND RESILIENCE, WHAT DO YOU GET?
Now, you don’t have to buy casters that are ergonomic, protect your floors, reduce noise, etc. So, what type of a caster are you actually buying in this case?
We’ll the other main aspect of polyurethane is durometer, which means hardness. Normally, the higher the durometer, the more weight you can carry.
But take into consideration that with a quality ergonomic caster, you can still have high resilience with a higher durometer. In other words, you don’t just decrease the durometer of polyurethane to get high resilience.
Most of the time though, other caster companies realize that their consumers don’t understand this, so they create higher durometer casters with horrible resilience, which are essentially commodity level products.
This allows their customers to hold more weight, but then they sacrifice all of the benefits of high rebound resilience, including ergonomics (protecting the health of employees with lower push/pull).
SOLUTIONS BASED DECISIONS
Durometer, resilience, and design all working together determine a caster’s performance. When you want all of the benefits mentioned above, you use a high-quality ergonomic caster with tremendous resilience, like with the CC Apex.
We work with each one of our clients to come up with the perfect solution for their particular situation, whether it’s CC Apex or not. Our products carry generous warranties because we know we’re supplying our clients with the right solution.
Contrast this when a company buys a commodity caster that may or may not be the right solution to their problem. Like with all commodity items, companies rarely back commodity casters. They’re made to do the bare minimum.
Now, just remember when you see two casters of the same color that one of these might be a complete bottom-of-the-barrel commodity item or an unproven product attempting to deceive potential buyers into assuming it has a successful history, while the other could be a CC Apex, a high performing piece of equipment that is backed by a solutions-driven company that works side-by-side with their valued clients.
So, if you’d like to see what a difference casters, and their rigs, make, let’s work together to find the right solution to your unique problem. Just click below to work with your personal Solutions Manager.