There are a few questions that most people have when they first purchase small spring loaded casters. These questions revolve around the pre-load, deflection, and bottoming out of the caster. Below are some answers to those questions.
Pre-load the spring
When choosing small spring-loaded casters, it’s essential to determine the correct pre-load. This will help prevent casters from limiting movement and making the ride smoother. The spring rate is measured in pounds per inch. It’s also important to consider the spring’s length.
Springs are made of various materials. Common materials include stainless steel and oil-tempered low-carbon springs. Non-ferrous metals such as beryllium copper are also used for corrosion resistance.
Spring pre-load applies a certain amount of force to a spring before it compresses. Typically, this is about 0.5 to 1.0 inches of motion ratio. However, the exact figure depends on the caster’s size and type.
If the caster doesn’t have enough spring pre-load, the damper could suffer from stress, and the caster may become less responsive. In addition, too stiff springs can cause excessive vibration.
Deflection of the spring
Spring-loaded casters are designed to deflect the wheel support in case the load is too heavy. This protects the payload and reduces noise. However, not all casters are designed the same, and there are several design considerations. The most important thing is ensuring the caster is correctly loaded with the correct springs.
An adequately engineered caster can deflect to a full stop without bottoming out, but a poorly constructed caster will have the opposite effect. Having a spring-loaded caster with the wrong springs may mean the difference between a silent, smooth ride and a noisy nightmare.
A good spring will have a high ratio of strength to size. A high ratio means that the spring can take a heavier load than the weight that it holds while still retaining its power.
Wheel materials and dimensions
Caster wheels have a wide range of applications. They are used in various industrial processes, including moving large engine parts and airframes. Some types are designed to withstand extreme heat and abrasion. These are often made from cast iron, nylon, or steel. There are also soft wheel casters, which are built with a softer material on the core.
The materials used to make these wheels can affect the durability and performance of the caster. Choosing the correct caster depends on several factors. For example, the floor surface the wheel will be used on, and the caster’s load can determine the best material. A wheel with good traction will perform well on rough and uneven surfaces. However, it is important to keep in mind the load limits of the caster.
Small spring-loaded casters are used to stop equipment, like wheel contact or wheel-swivel brakes, from moving. However, many technicians need to become more familiar with the operation of these systems.
These brakes require some maintenance to ensure they’re working correctly. During the inspection process, the following areas should be checked.
The brake shoe lands should be cleaned and lubed. Over time, they can become grooved, which can lead to lockup. In addition, the brake shoe should be square with the drum. If the brake shoe lands out of round, the drum will lock up one wheel.
Spring-loaded brakes are a valid alternative to complying with standards. While they need to be maintained, they’re considered safe. According to the North Carolina Department of Labor, they’re as safe as a conforming system.
Bottoming out of a caster
Bottoming out of small spring-loaded casters is not a good idea. The best way to avoid it is to have the requisite alignment and mounting procedures in place. A thorough alignment includes a complete and precise kingpin and upper A-arm alignment, proper rear-end geometry, and proper wheel balance. An improperly aligned kingpin can lead to a sloppy ride and may cause your ride to sag. A well-planned vehicle design is a must for any performance enthusiast.
A caster can be a powerful load-carrying device when properly selected, and the right caster can improve a car’s handling, safety, and overall feel. They also provide a measure of comfort that a traditional wheel and tire setup simply can’t. It’s also worth noting that shock-absorbing casters can be an ideal solution to cargo and debris-strewn floors.