Is Stainless Steel Non-Magnetic?

Over the years, we’ve had a few people contact us in regards to our stainless steel casters. “Hey!” They say, “You’ve sent me the wrong casters. These are supposed to be stainless steel, but they’re magnetic.” We understand the concern, but have no fear… magnetism and stainless steel are not mutually exclusive. For example, stainless steel kitchen knives are often magnetic.

There are various types of stainless steel with a range of magnetic properties based on the atomic structure of the steel. Without getting too complicated, chromium content is what gives the steel its stainless properties. Sometimes, other materials are added to give specific attributes to the steel such as malleability or hardness. One such added material is nickel, which when combined with the steel creates the non-magnetism.

Our most commonly sold stainless steel casters are made with ferritic stainless steel, and they are magnetic. Some applications, such as MRI machines or special lab equipment, must have non-magnetic steel. If this is the case for your application, please give us a call at 1-800-215-8220 to discuss more options.

How To Measure A Caster Wheel

Occasionally, you may find yourself in a situation where you need a replacement caster wheel. The caster fork and frame is fine, or perhaps your application doesn’t use a caster fork, and you just need a new wheel to replace an existing wheel. As long as you can remove the existing wheel, you’re in luck.

There are 4 critical measurements when it comes to replacing a wheel. These are the wheel diameter, wheel width, hub length, and bore diameter. Other dimensions will be discussed as well, but are primarily shown for clarification.

The wheel diameter is the distance measured across the side of the wheel. Occasionally the wheel will have its diameter and width stamped or molded into the wheel itself, so take minute to check and see if that is the case. If not, simply measure across the wheel. Bear in mind that wear can cause up to ½” of material loss, so if your current wheels are particularly worn you may need to round up to the nearest half inch. Because there are very standardized wheel sizes, this measurement can typically be taken with just a tape measure.

Side view wheel measurementsThe bore diameter is the internal size of the bore. This measurement is required in order for the wheel to fit the existing axle assembly properly. While looking at the side of the wheel, measure across the inside of the opening in the center of the wheel where the axle passes through. This tends to be a more precise measurement than the wheel diameter. If you have a micrometer or caliper, that would be the preferred method of measuring. Another method would be to insert drill bits until you found one that matched the size of the bore.

Wheel width is the widest part of the tread material. This measurement is not nearly as critical as the hub length, but is very helpful for locating the same or similar wheels. Generally a tape measure will suffice for this measurement.
Front of wheel measurements

The last primary measurement is the hub length. This is the distance between each side of the wheel through the bore. Proper hub length allows the wheel to fit between the caster fork assembly with minimal play. This measurement is more important than wheel width, because it determines if the wheel will fit the frame or not. The wheel width does not determine if the wheel will fit in the fork. A tape measure will not typically fit through the bore to take this measurement. Instead, use a piece of dowel or pencil and insert it through the bore. Hold one end of the dowel flush with one side of the bore, and mark the other side. Then you can remove the dowel and measure from the flush end to the mark.

You will notice Hub Diameter and Tread Width on the images above. These are shown for reference and to reduce confusion. Note that the tread width is actually smaller in many cases than the wheel width.

With these measurements, you will be able find a replacement wheel. Remember, if you have any issues or need further assistance, we’re here to help. Give us a call at 1-800-215-8220.

Choosing Pneumatic Wheels For Casters

Pneumatic wheels have two major benefits over many other caster wheels. In addition, they come in a variety of sizes, styles, and tread patterns. Read on to find out if a pneumatic wheeled caster would be useful for your application!

The first major benefit of pneumatic caster wheels is that they offer a very cushioned ride. This is useful for applications that need protection from excess vibration, or travel over rough surfaces such as rocks, concrete, dirt, or grass.

The second major benefit is that pneumatic wheeled casters provide an extremely quiet ride even on uneven and rough surfaces.  This is helpful in any environment where noise is an issue.

A variety of options are available for pneumatic wheels. Choose selections for tube and tubeless depending on application. Multiple bearing types as well as bearing sizes allow for pneumatic wheels to be used on many caster frames. Tread styles also vary greatly, and include smooth, ribbed, diamond, sawtooth, and knobby tread patterns.

Call Service Caster at 1-800-215-8220 to find out if Pneumatic Wheel Casters are appropriate for your application.


Custom Casters and Wheels at Service Caster Corporation

There are thousands of different casters and caster wheels on the market, enough for any situation, environment, and job. Well, almost. Every now and then there is a project that requires a little extra work to meet unique and specific requirements. Thats where Service Caster’s custom fabrication team comes in.

Custom work can take the form of the very small, such as a caster stem for a chair that does not fall into the modern day standards, or the very large, such as a wheel for mining operations.

Welding a Custom Caster

How do you take advantage of our abilities to custom make your perfect wheel? The first step is to give us a call and discuss with us the project that you’re working on. We will ask questions like, “What kind of surface will the wheels roll on?” and “Will there be high speeds, or side thrust on the caster?” These questions will help us determine if you actually need custom work, or if there is

something out there in the “caster-verse” that is readily available. Once we’ve determined you need custom work, we will develop with you the exact specification of your wheel and caster. Everything from the top plate or stem down to the very bottom of the wheel’s tread.

Custom Tread Lock

In addition to phone calls, specs can be emailed, and images along with physical samples can go a long way to making sure you get exactly what you need.

Finally, we’ll have our design team, machinists, and assemblers produce your custom caster!

What Are Kingpinless Casters?

Kingpinless casters, as the name suggests, are casters that lack a kingpin. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? What is the purpose of the kingpin, and why would you remove it? Read on to find out.

The kingpin is a feature found in most light to heavy duty swivel casters, though it is generally not used in ultra-light duty casters such as chair casters. It is essentially a rivet, and its job is to hold the top plate and the fork of the caster together, allowing for a ball bearing housing between the two units that in turn allows the caster to swivel properly. The kingpin also tends to be a weak point in situations that put heavy stress on the caster, such as shock loading. In these cases, the kingpin can bend or even break, allowing the ball bearings to fall out and causing caster failure.

Kingpinless Fork
A Kingpinless Fork

The answer to this caster failure is the kingpinless caster. Kingpinless casters are precisely engineered and machined to allow swiveling without a kingpin. The lack of the kingpin removes the casters’ typical weakest link, and provides a casters that can handle shock loading and heavy stress without failure.

Most kingpinless casters are only available at the heavy and extra heavy duty levels of casters, since the easier-to-produce kingpinned casters can handle light and medium duty jobs with ease.

Take a look at kingpinless casters at our online catalog.

Flat Free Foam Filled Tires

What are these flat free foam filled tires, and why use them? Let’s find out.

The flat free tire can be used in any situation a pneumatic tire could be used, such as garden cart wheels, wheelbarrel wheels, hand truck wheels, and caster wheels. The difference is that instead of being air filled, the tire is filled with a polyurethane foam matrix. The foam maintains the flexability, shock absorption, and easy movement of a pneumatic tire, but won’t deflate even if punctured.

Flat free tires are great for any application where there is a high likelihood of tire puncturing, such as a warehouse floor with metal shavings or staples, or for anyone who simply doesn’t want to have to worry about refilling a pneumatic tire. This feature does add to the cost of the tire.

Ask us at Service Caster about flat free foam filled tires today!

What Is Semi Steel?

If you’re looking for an industrial or heavy duty caster, you’ve no doubt come across the term Semi Steel. And, unless you’ve got a background in metallurgy, chances are you’re not sure what it is.

As it turns out, semi steel is actually a type of cast iron, with steel scrap thrown in the mixture for good measure. In fact, most semi-steel has quite a bit of steel scrap in it. The result is an alloy that is excellent for use as casters, for a variety of reasons. Semi steel features easy castability, low cost, and machinability, just as cast iron does. It also has added strength, impact resistance, and ductility from the steel. This makes semi-steel a perfect balance of cost effective strength for many medium and heavy duty casters.

Flanged Wheels for Controlled Workflow

The flanged caster wheel is perfect for any situation requiring the use of a track. The flange (whether dual or single) keeps the wheel from jumping off the track during use.

Flanged wheels set themselves apart from other wheels by having a lip around one or both outside edges of the wheel. Most people will be familiar with flanged wheels as those on trains or old mining carts, however they are popular for many industrial and factory setting applications.

The use of a track with a flanged wheel can provide several advantages over a standard wheel rolling on the floor. The floor itself will see less wheel wear, and the caster unit and wheel will have less chance to pick up debris on the floor. Flanged wheels also provide tracked workflow to maintain controlled mobility as well as providing the ability easily raise or lower the work.

Another distinct advantage is the ability of the flanged caster to bring the work overhead. A good example of this is on cranes and hoists that use flanged wheels to roll on an I-beam.

Check out our flanged wheel page for more information!

Caster and Wheel Bearings

A confusing term at times can be bearings in regards to their use in casters. Bearings are used in casters for both wheels and swivel heads, and here we will discuss both.

Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearings sit between the wheel and the axle, and provide a way for the wheel to easily spin on the axle. These bearings come in a number of different types, each with its own advantages.

Delrin bearings are inexpensive, and need no maintenance. They are a simple bushing made of Delrin, a plastic material. Delrin bearings work well in wet applications since they have no moving or metal parts that could corrode.

Roller bearings are best suited to low speed, manual operation with intermittent use. The roller bearing consists of a series of rollers arranged to sit on an axle and easily roll around it. Roller bearings can be solid or split caged. Split cage roller bearings do not handle side thrust as well as their solid counterpart, which is inserted into the wheel with a press. Roller bearings require regular maintenance.

Precision Bearings are a high quality ball bearing. These are excellent for applications that require high speed, quiet, and/or continuous operation. Precision bearings do not require regular maintenance to function properly. Semi-Precision bearings offer a less expensive, low speed and light duty option for those that still want quiet, maintenance free operation.

Tapered bearings are used on the heaviest duty casters. These bearings can handle high speeds and power driven application. Tapered bearings also handle side thrust well, and excel at continuous operation. They do require regular maintenance for good performance.

Please visit our caster wheel bearings page for images and additional information.

Swivel Head Bearings for Casters

Swivel Head bearings are typically ball bearings inside of a raceway. The swivel head assembly and its bearings allow for the wheel to easily turn and add steerability to applications. This raceway can be sealed or exposed. A sealed raceway protects the bearing assembly from dirt and other debris that is harmful to the bearing. The raceway can also be precision made and hardened to increase the longevity and performance of the swivel head.

Factors in Choosing An Industrial Caster Wheel

It might seem to be a simple task, choosing the appropriate wheel for a caster to be used in an industrial setting. When in reality, the choice has many factors that should be considered for a lasting positive experience. Environment, workload, and capacity are just a few of the many considerations involved.

Polyurethane on cast iron caster wheelIndustrial caster wheels need to be fitted not only to the device, but to the surroundings. Will the caster be exposed to weather, or extreme temperatures, such as an oven. Are there chemicals , oils, or other liquids that could be potentially harmful to certain wheel substances.  Is the surface with which the wheel will  be in contact smooth, rough, cracked, or have debris.

Of course, a caster wheel that can handle expected workloads and handling is a necessity. Is there as chance of rough handling, or stress in a manner other than straight rolling. Perhaps the wheels are going to be static for long periods of time, and only receive occasional use. Not to be ignored is the power behind the wheeled device. Is that power to be supplied manually or by powered equipment.

Many times, the choice for wheels is made by weight capacity, alone. Consideration must be given to ergonomics. Will the wheel  begin to roll easily when engaged by a worker. Is the caster wheel going to give the least resistance when turning.

When choosing a caster wheel for industry, gather as many details as possible.  This data will be of great assistance when ordering casters. Service Caster sales reps are knowledgeable in all facets of wheel behavior, and will recommend the proper wheel for industrial usage.