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When developing our carts we know that one of the most important features of our solutions are the casters.

Without high-quality casters, the carts would never last long. Even though with the FlexQube concept it is extremely easy to replace broken casters we make sure that this rarely occurs. Casters can play a critical role in the safety and ergonomics of material handling carts. Choosing the wrong type of casters can seriously reduce the ergonomics of a cart. But to ensure that our carts operate safely and efficiently we use a variety of different caster types made of different materials. Below we outline the different types of casters we use and the benefits of using each.

Type of caster

Polyurethane Casters

Polyurethane casters are a popular form of caster or wheel for use within industrial areas. These casters are often used on industrial carts, trollies, and trucks because for a number of reasons. Firstly, polyurethane casters are great for load-bearing and are widely known for their load-bearing capabilities. In comparison to rubber casters, polyurethane casters have a much higher load capacity. The reason for this is because the polyurethane caster will have a much larger footprint balancing out the load, reducing the concentrated stress of the load. These benefit both the floor and the casters.

Another reason people may refer to using polyurethane casters is because of their noise reduction qualities. This is a popular benefit within industrial working environments when compared to harder types of casters. The polyurethane acts as a shock absorber and reduces the amount of noise generated.

Finally, polyurethane casters also provide better traction on the floor. In general, polyurethane casters are a little more grippy therefore reducing the risk of sliding when driving on a smooth surface or at higher speeds. At FlexQube, we often recommend polyurethane casters to our customers that are transporting higher loads and place a higher value on noise reduction and floor protection.

Caster Polyurethane 125 mm Fixed
Polyamide Caster 200 mm with Brake
Type of caster

Nylon Casters

Another caster material is nylon which is also a common material to make an industrial caster or wheel out of. Nylon is, in fact, a type of polyamide material similar to natural substances such as wool and silk, or artificially such as nylon and aramids.

Nylon casters are also quite commonly used on industrial carts, dollies, and trollies and have become quite popular with a number of customers. Nylon has been in use globally for almost a century and has been used in a wide variety of industrial equipment. Nylon caster can be especially strong and can also withstand a higher load.

One of the reasons that nylon casters are popular is because they offer a low roll resistance. This makes whatever the nylon wheels on much easier to move around. In relation to having them placed on industrial carts, this makes them more ergonomic for the operators to transport.

Nylon casters also have a lower tendency to wear and tear. They can be quite durable and it can take quite a lot of impact to actually cause a fracture or breakage within the caster. On top of all these nylon casters are generally a low-cost material which make them ideal for industrial use.

Pneumatic Casters

Another type of caster that can be used in industrial use are pneumatic casters. Pneumatic casters are wheels that are filled with air on the inside and have a form of tread around the outside. This form of caster is most commonly made out of rubber. FlexQube doesn’t often provide pneumatic casters to our customers, however when requested we are able to provide them. The reason why some customers may ask for pneumatic casters is because a section of their route or the entire route will be outside or on rough terrain. An example of this is when a tugger train may need to move between two warehouses. So the industrial carts will need to travel from indoors to outdoors and back to indoors again. This can cause quite some damage to other forms of casters, especially if the total load is quite high. This is when pneumatic wheels would be of most benefit.

One of the weaknesses of using this form of the caster is that at very high loads pneumatic casters will become quite large. This causes the load to be further away from the ground which brings with it safety concerns.

In general, we recommend many of our customers to use polyurethane casters if the carts will be used indoors most of the time.

Fixed & Swivel Casters

At FlexQube we generally use a combination of both rigid and swivel casters on our carts. This can provide the best of both worlds. This lets our carts have a higher degree of safety while last being easy move around for the operators.

Type of caster

Swivel Casters

For our carts, we use a combination of swivel casters and fixed caster on our carts. Some of our designs have a combination of both swivel casters and fixed casters and other designs only have one type. The swivel caster is a caster that has an extra swivel fork attached to the top, allowing the caster to spin 360 degrees. The reason for using this type of is to make it easier for the operators to move and transport the cart. Having swivel casters lets the cart change its direction with ease, without changing the total position of the industrial cart.

Some things you need to take into consideration when looking at using swivel casters on your application is the speed the carts will be traveling. The speed can have an impact on the swivel joint of the caster and casters with a faster rotation will fare better than those that have a slower rotation when traveling at higher speeds. Also, keep in mind the total load capacity of the unit. If it is very heavy swivel casters can make it more difficult for the operator to move the cart at times. Material handling carts with only swivel casters are ideal for carts along the assembly line or within small work stations. Because they are easier to move and turn around in tighter spaces.

Caster Polyurethane - 200 mm
FlexQube Polyurethane Caster
Type of caster

Fixed Casters

Fixed or rigid casters have a different top plate than the swivel casters. Whereas swivel casters provide a rotation of 360 degrees, fixed casters keep the caster fixed in one direction. As mentioned above, in most of FlexQube’s industrial carts we use a combination of swivel and fixed casters to maximize the ease of use of the carts. One f the key benefits of using fixed casters is safety. In general, having a cart with four fixed casters means that it won’t be too maneuverable and most likely will only move in straight lines. If this is all you are looking for then that’s fine.

Another benefit of using fixed casters is that they are generally cheaper than swivel casters which can make them a move economic solution for some customers.

Type of caster

Caster with Brakes

To lock the wheels or caster in place can be an important safety feature for many of our customers. When using our material handling carts it is important to our customers that the carts can be secured in place when not in use and also fully loaded. To accomplish this we use a combination of our floor lock brakes which are attached to the cart base frame and caster with brakes.

Our casters that have brakes attached to them are generally one-sided meaning that access to the brake is only on one side of the caster. However, FlexQube is able to source other forms of caster with different types of brakes, including double-sided brake casters or wrap-around casters.

Generally, when considering the types of brakes you should be used in combination with your brakes you need to determine which factors are most important to your needs. If you are focusing on safety than a combination of our caster brakes with FlexQube’s floor lock brake is a great option. If you are moving lighter loads than a single-sided caster brake on your casters could be enough.

Both our polyurethane and nylon casters can come with caster brakes attached if needed. Just ensure, you communicate with your sales or design engineer about what your needs are.

Polyamide Caster 200 mm with Brake

Choose & Change your Casters with FlexQube

With the FlexQube modular concept you are able to create and recreate your material handling carts as you please. You may start with a design that has nylon swivel casters with brakes, because you are manually moving lighter loads within your facility. However, we know the only constant is change and your material flow may not always look the way it does today. So with FlexQube, you don’t need to exchange your carts with nylon caster for totally new casters, you are able to switch the casters you have with ease. On top of this the replacement of broken casters is no longer a hassle as you can switch caster within 5 minutes.

Casters are an important factor when it comes to your material handling carts and it is important you understand the different types of casters available to you. It is critical that you have a clear idea on what expectations you have on the cart and casters you will need. Once you have this it is just a matter of matching your criteria with the correct set of casters.

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FlexQube CEO Anders Fogelberg

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