When are pneumatic wheel casters needed?

Pneumatic wheel casters are a viable option for many different industries and applications. While most people associate casters with solid wheels, there are times when having an inflated tire is preferred. The tire may be inflated with a gel, liquid, gas or air - the weight bearing load the tire is rated for will determine the inflation substance. Here is more information about why pneumatic wheel casters may be a better choice for your application.

Why pneumatic wheels and not solid wheels?

Since most casters tend to be made with solid wheels it seems like almost a throwback in terms of technology to produce a set with pneumatic tires. While the industry did swing towards solid tires and has seen great innovation in softer polyurethane and shock reducing technologies for other composite tires, there are many times when the grip, shock absorption and weight distribution of a pneumatic tire will provide you with better control over your trolleys. Add to that a pneumatic tire with a range of tread designs and you can increase your traction while reducing friction as well. These threads can also serve to boost efficiency by providing better traction on changing surfaces too.

Applications where pneumatic wheel casters are used

When you consider that pneumatic wheel casters can be sized to accept wheel diameters up to and over 10 inches the potential applications for this type can be wide. They are not recommended for sterile environments, the composite material used with the rubber of the tire can acquire too much detritus for that. They are ideal on rough and uneven surfaces, and smooth surfaces in environments where noise reduction is important. You can find them in very heavy duty industries, which surprises some people. The weight bearing capacity can be great enough to support aviation industry applications with the correct sized tire.

Can't you just switch wheel types

It is not advisable to just try switching tire types on standard casters to pneumatic tires. The reason for this is the pneumatic wheel casters are designed to withstand the particular stresses that a pneumatic wheel produces. A caster designed for use with a solid wheel will not be able to withstand the stress on the bearings. Swapping tires can increase your risk of failure for the caster, increasing safety risks as well. For the cost of a set of pneumatic wheel casters, what they can prevent happening makes them well worth it.

Making sure that the anchor plates are right

With pneumatic wheel casters the anchor plates are going to be slightly different than those found with solid and composite tires. The stress of the load and travel is absorbed more by the pneumatic tire so the plates may be thinner. This can affect height specifications for the trolley that could change the leg height of the caster that you need. Make sure you speak with a representative from CasterConcepts before finalizing your order to make sure this is taken into account when switching to pneumatic wheel casters.

Bearing issues

Pneumatic wheel casters are not prone to more bearing issues than any other type of caster, in fact, they may have slightly less. Available in precision tapered and sealed options, the bearings also suffer less stress from friction as the tires are more capable of reducing its occurrence. There is a trade off for that absorption which is addressed next.

Friction considerations

Pneumatic tires do absorb friction stress better because they are slower moving than solid or composite wheels. Even though this can reduce stress on your casters and trolleys while providing you with smoother transport it also means that you have slower transport as well. Many people will take the reduction in speed as a tradeoff in able to use the same trolley over different surfaces. That is something that can be difficult to do with a solid wheel. Make sure you project how that time cost can affect your production rates before making a commitment to pneumatic wheel casters.

Brake options with pneumatic wheel casters

The last area to cover with pneumatic wheel casters is the available brake options. You can get just about any brake style with this type of caster, however the full cage brakes can be more difficult. They are not so difficult to use, but depending on the size of the pneumatic wheel casters they can cause more of a profile projection than face, side or swivel brakes. Face plate breaks are the preferred option for this kind of caster.


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