Caster wheels are often found on the bottom of carts, tow lines, platform trucks, assemblies and more in the industrial industry. They are meant to easily carry and move heavy loads on flat, smooth surfaces. But casters can break down easily when they are not properly maintained, often causing unwanted expenses. All it takes is a few minutes to regularly perform simple maintenance to greatly extend their lifespan and save the company money. Keep reading to learn how to maintain the casters in your business so they live up to your expectations.
Step 1: Inspect the Wheels
Look at the entire wheel surface for any imperfections, like dents, cracks, flat spots, and visible treat wear. If there are rubber tires on your caster wheels and they are beginning to wear, replace them promptly. Remove any string or hair that may have wrapped around the wheel so it will move freely. If dirt or other matter has accumulated on the wheel, clean it off. If you install thread guards on your casters, it will help prevent build-up of dirt and other matter.
Since casters are designed to operate on smooth and flat surfaces, any small obstruction in their path can dent and/or damage the wheels. Wheel damage will not only shorten the life of the caster wheel, it can also damage the floor of your shop, create steering problems, and cause loads to shift.
Step 2: Check the Frames & Fasteners
The best way to inspect caster wheel frames and fasteners is to turn the object on its side so you can get up close to the wheels. You are looking for broken welds, broken deck boards, loose nuts, loose bolts, unsteady expending applicators, and distorted framework. If any of these situations are apparent with your casters, then fix it immediately. Do not use this piece of equipment until the repairs have been made to prevent further damage to the wheels or other caster components, as well as your shop's floor.
If you regularly wash the object that has caster wheels on the bottom, you'll need to lubricate the wheels after each washing. This is because the soap and water can strip the wheels of well-needed grease, creating an exceptionally corrosive situation.
Step 3: Look at the Swivel Assembly
The swivel assembly is what makes the wheel able to spin in multiple directions by simply shifting the weight the wheels are carrying. You are looking to make sure the swivel assembly is night and tight, that it turns freely, and it is free of dirt and corrosion. If your casters have a king bolt nut, ensure it is fastened tightly. Also grab a wrench and make sure all nuts and bolts on the swivel assembly are securely fastened. Finally, make sure there are no cracks or bends in the metal.
Step 4: Lubricate the Grease Fittings
The bearings in the caster wheels need to be lubricated regularly with a high-quality multi-purpose grease. Specifically, look for a grease that has anti-wear characteristics, can withstand the temperatures experienced in your shop, and has good extreme pressure. While you're at it, apply some lube to all friction points on the wheel hub, leg surfaces, and all washers. This will reduce drag and help ensure your wheels last longer.
One way to save some money in your company is to regularly maintain the caster wheels on the various types of carts and other equipment in the shop. Keeping the casters on your equipment in good working order will extend their lifespan and reduce your expenses. In addition to performing the maintenance discussed above, make sure you never overload your equipment that has caster wheels on the bottom, and never allow your casters to move at high speeds.
For more information or assistance, contact companies like Garland's, Inc.