If you use moving carts all throughout your industrial or manufacturing plant, then these carts are probably fitted with four steel casters and rolling wheels that help the cart move. Both the casters and the wheels are vital in making sure that the cart moves smoothly, especially if you commonly place heavy loads on them. Heavy loads can cause premature failure of the wheel assemblies if you are not careful. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to make sure this does not occur. 

Inspect Casters Often

Casters are made out of a variety of parts that include the top/mounting plate, stem, kingpin, swivel bearings, swivel yoke, rigid yoke, and the wheel assembly. All of these parts need to work together for the caster to work properly. To make sure this happens, inspect them every few months. Turn the moving cart upside down and use a socket wrench to remove the four bolts from each top plate. Look for rust or wear around these bolts. If you see damage, then it's time to replace them. A good option for replacement bolts is locking bolts or self-sealing bolts. These bolts are fitted with a silicone coating along the threaded part of the bolt. This helps to keep it in place so the hardware does not revolve or back up when the cart moves.

You should also look for bends across the top plate, yoke, and stem parts of the assembly. If you see bends, then replace these parts immediately. Also, turn the top swivel or raceway around to make sure it moves smoothly. If the swivel sticks, then add lubricant to both the upper and lower raceway bearings that sit just below the top plate.

A grease lubricant is best, because the thicker material will stay in place and lubricate for a longer period of time than an oil-based product. Choose an all-purpose lithium soap variety of lubricant for the raceways. Use a cotton swab, cotton cloth, or a grease applicator to add the lubricant to the open bearing raceways. You may want to add some grease to the wheel bearings at this time as well. Grease should also be used to lubricate wheel bearings. You will need a grease packing tool to secure it properly. 

Reduce Weight on Casters

Casters and wheels will be subjected to constant pressure on a daily basis if you typically store loads on the carts for long periods of time. The constant weight can cause both wheel and caster failure. To prevent this, there are two options. You can change the tires attached to the yolks to ones that are able to retain a great deal of shock and pressure. Solid heavy load rubber or resin varieties are a good choice. Make sure to stay away from pneumatic wheels, though. While these air filled tires are great at absorbing shock, they are likely to flatten if heavy loads bear down on them for a long period of time.

Another good way to reduce caster pressure and stress is to install braking systems on all of your carts. Not only will these systems help to keep your carts from rolling away from you, but they will also relieve some weight off the casters while the carts are sitting still. The best brake to reduce weight issues is a floor brake. This brake features a wide pad on the bottom that forces down against the floor when you press a lever on the side of the brake. A flat plate sits on the top so you can install the brake to your moving cart. Steel posts attach to the brake pad and the plate and these parts, along with the brake pads, hold some of the weight of the cart when they are activated. 

It is best to place the brake towards the middle of the cart so that weight can be relieved evenly from the casters and wheels. Make sure that your foot can reach both the activation and release pedals on the brake when you install it, though, so you can use it effectively.