Swivel Wheels & Fixed Castors: What’s The Difference?

21 September 2021

Choosing the right castors for your warehouse is essential to maintain high levels of productivity, support the effective organisation of stock, and minimise the chance of workplace accidents. At Rolltek International, we offer castors suited to every warehouse and stock movement situation, with a comprehensive range of wheel sizes, designs, and materials.

Swivel Wheels/Fixed Castors: What’s The Difference?

Before thinking about the pros and cons of swivel wheels and fixed castors, it’s important to understand the difference between them.

Swivel Wheels

The traditional swivel castor features a raceway (the cylindrical section that contains the ball bearing track) that allows the wheel to turn through 360°, increasing manoeuvrability and changes of direction. A kingpin bolt holds the raceway together but may be subjected to a high degree of stress (for example, when equipment collides with obstacles during movement).

A kingpinless swivel castor is a more expensive alternative in which stress is distributed more evenly, so the castor tends to be durable in more demanding situations.
  • Designed to accommodate loads even when making 360° movements.
  • Supports effortless manoeuvring of loads in warehouses with restricted space and tight corners.
  • Available in a range of designs to accommodate each business’s unique needs.
  • High stress from turns may shorten the lifespan of some designs of swivel wheel.

Fixed Castors

A rigid castor, also known as a fixed castor, can only roll in two directions: forwards and backwards. This means they cannot rotate through 360°, so these wheels are more suited to journeys in straight lines. Fixed castors allow equipment to travel quickly and smoothly over a long period of time, with a minimal risk of stress caused by turns and collisions. Fixed castors may be attached to equipment with a stem, expanded mounting stem, or plate. They are normally used in conjunction with swivel castors to allow for better user control, and are rarely used on their own.
  • Ideal for movement in a straight line, such as along a single aisle in a warehouse.
  • Stronger than swivel wheels as they are not subjected to high stress during movement.
  • Can handle higher weight capacities than swivel wheels.
  • Unsuited to any movement that includes a turn, such as travel around corners.

Which Type Of Castor Should I Choose?

If you’re unsure whether you should choose swivel wheels or fixed castors, it’s worth considering these questions about your warehouse operation:
  • How heavy are the products or materials that I need to move?
  • How often will they need to be moved?
  • How much space do I have to manoeuvre equipment?
  • How far will products or materials need to be moved and will the route include sharp turns or changes of direction?
At Rolltek, we stock a comprehensive range of castors from 50mm to 250mm diameter, capable of carrying up to 2000kg per castor. For specialist advice about which castors will meet your business’s needs, please get in touch on 01788 229400.
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