Pneumatic Tires in Heavy Duty Caster Applications
Pneumatic Tires are Wheels with an air filled tube or a foam filled tire. Air filled pneumatic tires are typically filled with air to a specific amount of pressure (PSI) to ensure the tire performs at its optimal level and performance. Pneumatic tires are wheels that typically have a one piece hub or a three piece hub with precision bearings. Pneumatic Tires can come with a few different bore sizes ranging from 1/2" diameter, 3/4" diameter, and 5/8" diameter depending on what these tires will be used on. These wheels are used in many outdoor applications on carts and equipment usually combined with swivel or fixed caster forks. Pneumatic tires can be air filled for a cushioned ride or filled with foam for a flat free ride. There are great benefits of using a pneumatic tire and also a few disadvantages. This article will discuss the benefits and disadvantages of using a pneumatic tire for heavy duty caster applications.
Pneumatic tires are made to provide one of the best shock absorbing rides to protect expensive cargo and equipment. These tires have a wider footprint than most caster wheels. The wider footprint allows the wheel to grip and rollover dirt, gravel, grass, mud, and many outdoor debris and obstacles with ease. The largest benefit of a pneumatic caster wheel would have to be it's ability to roll very quietly and effortlessly. You will almost always see pneumatic tires on football fields for band carts and band equipment. Bands need to protect their expensive instruments and also need the ability to move their band carts to and from the fields with little effort. Just about any piece of equipment including large fans such as port-a-cool fans also use pneumatic tires if they are being rolled onto fields and used in outdoor applications.
The only major disadvantages that a pneumatic tire has is the need to maintain the air pressure every so often. These tires need to be checked periodically to make sure they maintain the same amount of air pressure ( PSI) throughout. Pneumatic tires do not have the highest weight capacities compared to other types of caster wheels. In order to have the quality characteristics and benefits that a pneumatic tire offers you must sacrifice some weight capacity in return. These tires are lighter than most caster wheels and when rolled long distances at 3-4 MPH they will sometimes experience caster flutter. This is where the casters will shake or wobble back and forth as you are pushing the cart. This can be fixed by maintaining the swivel caster forks raceway or by buying a pneumatic caster with a longer swivel lead. Although caster flutter is not too common it can happen with older pneumatic casters. Pneumatic tires have a wider tread width / foot print. This sometimes makes turning and swiveling the casters slightly more difficult when compared to a standard caster wheel.
Pneumatic casters provide benefits that no other caster wheel can provide. If you're looking for a shock absorbing caster with off-road capabilities then a pneumatic caster is the best tire for your industrial caster applications. If you can sacrifice some ease of roll-ability and slight caster flutter at higher walking speeds then this tire is for you. Overall, the pneumatic pros far outweigh the cons in our opinion.
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