Casters are a set of small wheels that are used to help move heavy equipment and furniture etc. They are used in industrial situations along with many other types of situations. In fact, the most common examples of casters which we see in everyday life are probably the ones that are attached to the bottom of suitcases. Casters as a concept are a very useful invention because they help to move heavy items quickly, efficiently and safely. Good quality casters must be resistant to clogging by dirt and dust, have smooth rolling capabilities and have heavy load bearing capabilities.
One of the most attractive characteristics of casters is they automatically turn in the direction to which a lateral force is being applied. This means they don't have to be steered as they just roll. This is possible because casters are mounted on offset swivel brackets. When lateral force is applied the swivel rotates and turns the wheel so it's ready to roll. It's basically up to the person pushing the object on the casters to steer it. Caster swivel brackets are generally attached to vertical stems which fit into sockets on the object which the caster is being mounted on. In most instances casters can be quickly and easily snapped in and out of the sockets without the need for tools.
There are many types of casters because there are many different uses for them. Decorative casters are used for furniture and need to look good to match the look and style of the item. These casters often have polished brass or chromed steel components. Casters that are used for furniture such as beds and sofas have to be strong enough to support the weight of the object as well as the weight of the people who sit or lay on them. Medical casters are used in hospitals and health care facilities. Industrial casters are usually larger than other types as they generally have to support larger items and more weight. Industrial casters should be heavy duty and be able to withstand temperature extremes, dirt and debris, and liquids such as oil and water. There are various types of industrial casters as they are used in numerous environments. Domestic casters are light duty casters which often have a semicircular or spherical profile.
Casters are manufactured from a wide array of materials ranging from stainless steel to fiber-reinforced plastics. Different types of tread can be specified for casters depending on the type of floor they will be rolling such as tiled, hardwood or carpeted. However, care must be taken while choosing casters for machinery and equipment to make sure they have adequate braking capabilities.