Casters & Water
Casters and wheels generally don’t play nicely with water. Unlike Bonnie and Clyde or Bert and Ernie, they are simply a bad match. So, if you’re planning to use casters in an unusually wet environment, you should read this short guide to protecting casters from moisture.
Moisture is like Kryptonite to steel. The chemical reaction that causes steel to corrode begins the moment it comes in contact with water and oxygen. And it’s downhill from there. Signs of rust may appear as quickly as a week or two. Given enough time, all iron in the steel material will oxidize and the metal will fail. That’s not good for casters.
As steel corrodes, it flakes. In casters, that creates debris in the raceway that will eventually cause it to seize. In wheels, the same process can occur in the bearing.
Here are some of the options available to you, depending on the level of moisture that your casters and wheels need to withstand.
Zinc Plating provides a basic level of protection form moisture and will protect casters from normal levels of dampness and humidity. Almost all Algood casters are zinc plated.
If casters are being used in more extreme wet environments and are for example being used outdoors or subjected to regular wash-downs, they need more protection.
Chrome Plating where the steel is nickel plated then chromium plated, provides about double the corrosion protection than zinc plating. The shininess of chrome plating also offers design benefits. Stainless steel, which is a mixture of steel and a minimum of 10.5% chromium, offers the greatest protection and is usually the standard for food preparation, pharmaceutical, and health care applications.
A more economical but less effective option is a Raceway Seal. It seals and protects the raceway from moisture. The drawback is that it can cause friction in the raceway, making the caster harder to turn.
Wheels formed from steel and iron, as well as those with a steel core, are clearly bad choices for wet environments. Aluminum, rubber and polyurethane wheels will withstand wet environments. A further option for wheels is a thread guard that fits over the core and keeps water from entering the wheel bearing.
If you want to avoid a bad match and need help choosing the right caster configuration for your wet environment, contact your Algood Sales Rep or reach out to our customer service team by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +1 (800) 254-6633.