Last week brought extreme weather to North America. Texas, with sustained single-digit temperatures (that’s Fahrenheit) and as much as 5” of snow, seemed to be the focus of attention. But, at the same time, the north-east saw multiple snowfalls exceeding 6” while western Canada saw temperatures dipping well below 40ºC (which coincidentally is -40ºF). At Algood, we got a call from a customer in Texas with a question that we usually get from customers in Wisconsin or North Dakota. “Will my casters work in freezing cold weather and how can I protect them?” he asked. We know that if there’s one person asking, others are thinking about the same thing. So, with that in mind, here’s a CasterU primer on casters and cold weather.
Here are a number of cold-weather considerations for casters.
Raceways & Grease
If the grease in the wheel and swivel raceways freezes, casters will seize. Make sure that casters are well greased and that you are using grease rated for the temperatures in which equipment is being used. The standard grease used at Algood will withstand -25ºC (-13ºF) but specialty greases with even lower temperature ratings are available. Raceways can also be protected by seals and thread guards.
Kingpinless casters are ideal for cold weather because the swivel raceway is concealed and protected from water and snow. They normally require no additional greasing bit if they do, the grease fitting is in a very convenient location. In addition, kingpinless casters have a larger swivel raceway, improving the maneuverability of equipment on cold, hard surfaces.
Wheels & Bearings
In freezing temperatures, surfaces get harder and mobility becomes an issue. Harder wheels, that make it easier to get equipment moving and keep it rolling, are the ideal choice. A wheel like our RollX™ has less surface friction and less resistance. In addition, RollX wheels are less likely to chip in cold temperatures. Obstacles on the ground like snow, ice or salt require additional grip, making a softer wheel like our Envirothane™ or Prothane™ a better choice.
Precision ball bearings are the best choice for cold weather. They are pipe sealed, protecting the balls, and rated for temperatures as low as -25ºC. There are bearings available that are rated for even colder temperatures.
Cold weather that includes snow and ice (and therefore salt) can create highly corrosive conditions. Casters manufactured using stainless steel and that include stainless steel components will fare much better in extreme cold.
Stay Inside – Duh!
This may be obvious, but keeping equipment with casters away from the outdoors in cold weather will increase its longevity. If you must take equipment outside, be sure that the casters, including all components and grease are rated for extreme cold temperatures.
Need help you with all your cold weather considerations, contact your Algood Sales Rep or reach out to our customer service team by email email@example.com or by phone at +1 (800) 254-6633.