Castors really are a truly remarkable invention, and they can make our lives easier in so many ways. Whether you are moving house and need to transport your possessions, moving heavy equipment around in a work environment, or simply moving your furniture around at home, castors are there to make your life simpler and more convenient. Castors are small and unobtrusive, yet they improve and simplify our lives in so many ways – sparing us back trouble from trying to lift heavy objects, and saving us the extra costs of hiring specialist equipment just to move things around.
For such a compact and barely-noticeable piece of equipment, the castor is a remarkable creation. Using a simple and elegant design – basically just a wheel or spherical shape connected to a fixed axle – the castor is combined with others into a set, usually of four. It is then able to bear the weight of large and cumbersome objects that would be extremely difficult to shift without their presence. Castor designs are modified according to their purpose (such as whether there needs to be shock-absorption or 360° movement), but most castor units consist of the following basic parts:
Mount – Castors connect to the equipment they support via a mount, usually bolted into place on the underside of each corner.
Swivel head – swivel heads are necessary for 360° movement, which gives you the convenience of being able to move your objects or furniture in any direction.
Yoke – the yoke is the part of a swivel castor that serves as a frame, and in conjunction with the swivel head holds the castor in place, while allowing it to move in any direction it is pushed.
Spring mechanism – when designed for supporting particularly heavy objects, castors will usually be fitted with a spring mechanism. This enables the castor to become a shock-absorber, and some kinds of castors even have hydraulic springs – particularly the ones used in heavy industry.
Wheel – the wheel is a fairly obvious component of castors and is what the design is built around. Wheel materials can vary according to purpose, and the terrain the castor will be used upon, and typical materials for castor wheels include rubber, elastomers and steel.
Wheel bearings – the wheel on a castor would be useless without the wheel bearing, and these can include roller-bearings, ball-bearings, and precision-made sleeves.
Axle bolt and nut – the axle bolt and nut are what keep the wheel firmly fixed to the yoke. Bolts and nuts are often stainless steel, or sometimes zinc plated for extra resistance to corrosion.
Castors in the home and in the office
Castors are extremely useful in and around the home and save us a great deal of time and effort every single day – almost without us even realising it. Whenever we want to move a piece of furniture around – such as a chair or sofa, or a settee – we simply push the item along the ground and turn it to face whichever way we want. Although we can’t see it, castors are busy doing most of the work for us; supporting the weight of the object we are pushing, and guiding it in the direction we want to go by reducing friction against the floor surface. Even large household objects like beds become easy to move, and castors can also be fitted onto the bottom of bulky appliances – such as washing machines, refrigerators and freezers. This makes moving house so much easier, when all of these things have to be transported from one place to another. In the office and workplace, castors make moving things like swivel chairs and PC desks effortless, and they can also be attached to the bottom of items like projectors and other electrical equipment, which often has to be transported from room to room.
Castors in industry
Castors also have many important uses in industry and commerce, and are essential for moving large, bulky items from one place to another. Warehouses and supply depots make effective use of trolleys on castors to transport large amounts of heavy and unwieldy items on a daily basis – and industries such as electronic equipment makers, food and beverage manufacturers, and garden product suppliers would struggle to function as effectively without the simple invention of the castor. Castors used in industry are often required to be hard wearing and corrosion resistant, and so they often make use of materials such as polyurethane to make them as durable as they need to be. So as you can see, castors really are an indispensable item – whether around the home or in the workplace.