What Is a Rigid Caster?
Rigid casters are the opposite of swivel casters. They cannot swivel and are usually used on one side of a cart. However, they can still provide steering capability when used with swivel casters. The basic structure of a rigid caster consists of a formed or welded fork and a wheel held in place by an axle. Most rigid casters are available as plate mount only, but special stem mount versions are available for larger minimum quantities.
Fixed casters are wheels mounted on a non-swiveling housing. They are often used with swivel casters and are useful for indoor applications. Fixed casters usually have four bolts and can be made of steel, stainless steel, or synthetic materials. They have limited swivel motion and may cause problems when moving furniture on uneven surfaces.
Fixed casters are more stable than swivel casters because the wheels are fixed. As a result, they are easier to steer and cause less drag when moving. They also support the object’s weight and must move it without interruption. The construction materials of casters depend on their application, and they may be made of polyurethane or stainless steel to avoid damaging interior floors. Various casters are available, and a thorough understanding of their use is important for a smooth ride.
The durability of rigid casters depends on the materials used in making the wheels. The polyurethane wheels are particularly durable and provide excellent abrasion resistance. In addition, the 1/4-inch steel construction helps ensure smooth rolling.
The durability of the casters varies widely. Casters for industrial and automotive uses are designed to handle floors ranging from relatively clean to debris. Therefore, casters can be designed with wheels made of different materials to cater to this wide range of floor conditions. The wheel materials used are polyurethane, thermoplastic elastomers, and soft rubber. Hard wheels are ideal for use on floors with little or no debris, while softer rubber wheels are suited for rougher floor conditions.
Reduce Swiveling Force
When choosing heavy-duty industrial casters, a key feature is the lead of the swivel nut. A longer lead means the wheel is farther from the raceway, reducing the force required to swivel the caster. A longer lead also means it is easier to maneuver the caster in tight areas and requires less force to turn. However, be aware of the additional space that long leads consume. When considering lead lengths, consider the size of the wheels and the leg thickness to determine whether they are suitable for the task.
One key difference between rigid and swivel casters is their offset. The larger the offset, the less force is required to swivel the caster. Rigid casters, on the other hand, have a longer offset. This offset reduces the swiveling force of the casters, which helps improve material handling ergonomics and workplace safety.
Rigid casters are built for straight-line travel and automatically align themselves with the direction of travel. They consist of a wheel mounted on a stationary fork, with the fork orientated as soon as the caster is mounted on the vehicle. These casters are commonly found on shopping cart wheels in North America. However, these casters tend to limit the motion of the vehicle.
Industrial casters come in both swivel and rigid designs. Which you choose will depend on the amount of weight, space, and maneuverability of the object you’re moving. Rigid casters are the most stable and rigid and are better for straight-line travel because they don’t swivel. They can’t steer or pivot. Rigid casters are the preferred choice if you want to avoid causing damage to the vehicle when it is moving or stored.