A caster is a square shaped plate with a wheel that is mounted on the bottom of a larger object. This enables the object to move more easily. Casters range in a variety of sizes, and individually have a load capacity. Most of the wheels for casters are made of:
- Cast iron
- Stainless steel
There are two main categories for castors: swivel and rigid. Swivel casters move around a kingpin in order to rotate as they roll. Rigid casters are mounted on a fixed frame and can only move in a forward or backward motion. Rigid casters cannot be maneuvered as easily but are usually stronger than swivel casters.
Swivel casters come in several varieties with various features such as:
- Brakes are attached to the wheels, so they can be locked in place
- Kingpin less
- No kingpin is included in the caster
- This makes the caster more durable for larger heavy-duty loads
- Hollow kingpin
- Hole in rivet that allows for more customization options
- Threaded, round, square, and expandable options are available
Many objects can have a mixture of rigid and swivel casters on it. With both, the object has more stability from the rigid ones, while there is also more movement from the swivel casters.
Where are casters used?
Casters can be a part of almost everything in our daily lives. For example, the office desk chair you sit in has casters on the wheels. More everyday things that have casters are:
- Modern coffee tables or end tables
- Beverage carts
- Mail carts
- Shopping carts
- Trash cans and dollies
- Laundry hamper
- Medical equipment
Why are they important?
Casters make your life easier. It is more convenient to roll the object you are using than to pick it up or slide it across the floor to the destination. Colson is actually the leading company for industrial casters. This is especially true for medical equipment that have various Colson casters and wheels attached to the bottom. Casters are vital for the medical and pharmaceutical industries. In a hospital room, there are casters on the hospital bed, heart monitor, intravenous (IV) pole and crash cart for easier movement. In an Operating Room (OR), most equipment has casters attached. Everything in the OR needs to be accessible quickly, also. Everything includes the operating table, mayo cart, kick bucket, floor-stand surgical light, utility table and PVC hamper cart. Without casters on these objects, it would be more difficult in emergency situations to access everything that is needed quickly.
Having casters on your day to day objects does not seem like much, but image if you did not have the easy mobility. Wheelchairs are among the important objects that have casters. People with disabilities have the luxury of mobility now. This is especially true for disabled athletes for the Special Olympics or other sports activities.
There are endless possibilities with casters. From home furniture, office furniture to medical field equipment, casters make daily activities easier and more convenient. There are more options available with a swivel or rigid caster. Hopefully you now have more knowledge about this simple object.