Time is money, and when your staff is rolling a utility cart around your facility, it needs to roll quickly where you need it. Want to avoid slow, hard-to-move carts? Then you need to speed up your casters. Take a look at these tips:
1. Choose the right type of caster for your environment.
Steel casters are great if you've got a flat, smooth surface to roll your carts on. However, if you're outside with lots of grooves, bumps and gravel or even inside on a carpeted floor, these unyielding wheels may get stuck and refuse to move. In these cases, it may be better to switch to pneumatic casters that feature a treaded tire or to a polyurethane caster with more give on its surface.
Alternatively, consider spring-loaded casters. These casters can be made of a range of materials, and they have built in shocks. As a result, they easily travel over cracks and dips in concrete and through debris on factory floors.
2. Don't overload your cart.
Whether you're using steel casters, pneumatic casters or something else, you need to respect their load limitations. If your staff overloads the utility cart, it puts extra pressure on the wheels, and that can damage them. Typically, they become misshapen and ultimately hard to roll.
Make sure that weight limits are posted on all carts. If possible, have scales throughout your facility for staff to weigh loads.
Alternatively, make lists of what can fit on the cart. To illustrate, you could have a sign that says something along the lines of "cart limit is 30 containers of x product". That tells your staff not to put more than 30 units of a particular item on the cart, and if you frequently move the same type of objects with your cart, that can be an easy way to respect load limitations without using scales.
3. Clean the casters.
Typically, casters consist of more than one part. There is a swivel element that allows the caster to turn, an axle that allows it to spin and bearings inside of it. If dirt or debris get stuck in or around these elements, the caster won't work correctly. Because of this, you should clean your casters on a regular basis.
Your cleaning schedule should vary based on how you are using your casters. For example, if you use them outside or in an environment where lots of substances get spilled and splashed around, you may want to hose them off on a regular basis. However, if you use your cart in a relatively clean warehouse, you may only need to clean your casters when they look visibly dirty.
4. Lubricate the bearings.
Cleaning can remove some of the grease your casters need to move, and after cleaning your casters, you should always lubricate them. On many casters, there is a zerk nipple near the swivel head mechanism of the caster. To lubricate, you just spray lubricant into this hole. The lubricant allows the bearings to move easily inside the roller, and this keeps the caster moving smoothly and as quickly as possible.
5. Tighten the caster regularly.
While cleaning and lubricating your casters, also look at their hardware. Is the face plate secured firmly to the cart? If not, tighten the screws. Unfortunately, if a caster is loose, it won't be even with the other casters on the cart, and that can cause uneven wear, which ultimately can cause the caster to not roll smoothly.
If you have brakes on your caster wheels, make sure that they are tight and functioning as intended. For example, you don't want the brakes to engage when you are rolling the cart and slow it down.
6. Tidy your path.
Finally, to help the casters roll faster, clean the path where you are using them. Keep it swept of debris, and if it's outside, grade it on a regular basis to keep it smooth. This reduces friction on your casters and helps to keep them clean.
For more tips on speeding up casters, contact a caster specialist or supplier from a company like Garland's, Inc.