Blog: 5 Key Features of Stainless Steel Swivel Casters for Wash Down Applications
Many applications require a stainless steel swivel and rigid caster for wash down industrial applications. Typically this happens in food processing facilities, pharmaceutical production, marine equipment, bakeries, and other clean or corrosive environments. Different cleaners, steam, water, and even salt water can destroy mild steel casters and certain types of wheel material in a matter of months. So we employ 5 key features on the stainless steel casters to keep your operation running and might I say……. Rolling!
(1) Use a high quality #304 stainless steel swivel and rigid rig that is machined and polished if possible. A typical medium to heavy duty stainless steel caster will have a double ball raceway with a 5/8” kingpin. The plate is typically a 4” x 4.5” top plate with slotted 3” x 3” bolt hole spacing and ¼” thick. All the ball bearings in the swivel race to be stainless steel also to disallow corrosion in the swivel race.
(2) Have raceway seals installed on the upper and lower swivel raceways. The rubber raceway seals help keep debris from lodging into the raceway bearings and creating drag when swiveling. Also when washing with a high power sprayer they can help prevent direct blasting of the water or detergent from spraying directly into the race. The seals also help keep food grade grease or high temp grease packed into the bearings and not as likely to be washed out.
(3) Grease fittings should always be in the swivel race. This allows maintenance to provide preventative maintenance on the casters and keep them properly lubed from the wash down sprays and detergents or salty environment.
(4) Wheel selection is probably the second most important feature to address. When selecting a wheel for a stainless steel caster application you need to take into account the wash down protocol. Will detergent be used? Will there be grease, oils, chemicals, cleaners, salt, brine, blood or steam? All of this is good information to know before selecting the wheel. Wheels can range in a wide price range. For some applications a phenolic wheel with stainless steel roller bearings will work for around $70.00 but in other applications you will need a much more durable wheel that will withstand more chemicals and cleaners. In this case a solid elastomer polyurethane wheel with stainless steel precision ball bearings will be better and they run about $120.00 per swivel caster. Also always make sure you have a stainless steel or delrin or bronze bearing in these wheels. Delrin is a solid plastic bearing that withstands just about every chemical and wash down application. The provide good rollability but not the best. Stainless steel roller bearings make for a good ergonomic roll but after time can give out due to long use. Stainless steel precision ball bearings are a great option because they are sealed and do not let debris or chemical or water into the actual bearings. These can provide long lasting use and are very ergonomic to push.
(5) Accessories for the stainless steel casters are important also. If you want a brake for the wheel then the brake mechanism also needs to be stainless steel so it too will withstand the wash down environment. Same goes for swivel locks or other accessories.
Let me know if you have an application for stainless steel casters in your industrial or commercial material handling applications. We can help and we keep the very best in stock!