When it comes to choosing a material for your caster wheels, the question that often comes up is whether to go with phenolic or polyurethane wheels. Phenolic is a very durable and sturdy material that has been used across many industries, including the medical field, and has been proven to be a reliable choice for numerous applications.
Phenolic caster wheels thrive under punishing loads, harsh impacts, chemical spills, slippery floors, and non-stop use. Their unmatched durability and customizability make them a top choice when failure is not an option. If your facility deals with challenging conditions, keep reading to learn why phenolic casters should be your number one consideration.
High Weight Capacities
The dense structure and hardness of phenolic resin enable casters made from this material to withstand high static and dynamic weights. Phenolic resin’s compressive strength allows it to resist deformation under heavy loads compared to casters made from softer materials. This makes phenolic resin an ideal choice for heavy-duty carts, workbenches, and storage racks that must bear substantial weight. The high load capacity of properly rated phenolic casters can prevent wheel failures that lead to accidents or downtime in industrial settings.
Phenolic resin casters should be considered in situations where cost-effectiveness is a priority. This resin is an affordable material that provides good durability and is advantageous when used in material handling equipment, industrial carts and trucks, and warehouse shelving units. The cost savings from using affordable phenolic resin casters may allow you to purchase more units or higher-quality wheels for the same overall budget.
Ideal for Stationary Loads
A hallmark of quality phenolic wheel casters is their robust build that handles up to 3,000 lbs per caster when stationary. Many plastic and rubber wheels can permanently flatten, deform, or even crack under a fraction of that weight. Yet properly engineered phenolic possesses the hardness, density, and compressive strength needed for holding enormous tonnage day after day.
A great example of this capability is how phenolic casters are used in the auto industry. Auto manufacturers use heavy-duty phenolic casters on their engine assembly skids to support thousand-pound machinery and components. These skids endure tremendous stationary loads from fixtures clamping down on engines during production. Lesser casters flex and fail. However, thanks to their resilience, auto plants can often use the same phenolic wheel casters on their engine skids for years.
Medical equipment companies rely on phenolic caster wheels, too, to transport bulky MRI machines weighing 2,500 pounds each. MRI units undergoing final assembly and calibration testing remain stationary on the casters for 8+ hour stretches. Only hardened phenolic provides the solid foundation to withstand this long-term static load without damage.
With their exceptional hardness, around 65 on the Rockwell Scale, phenolic casters withstand lifetimes of jarring impacts, drops, and blows that cause catastrophic failure in normal wheels. Preventing breakage and downtime makes them the ideal choice for abusive environments.
For instance, commercial 3D printing companies use large oven-like machines mounted on phenolic casters to melt and extrude specialized printing filaments. Opening and closing the heavy doors on these units generates intense slamming. The scale of the machines also leads to accidental drops of hand tools and parts inside. Typically, the casters stand up to years of this constant physical abuse, allowing these companies to save money by not having to replace them as often.
The lightness of phenolic wheels makes them easier to attach and transport compared to bulkier metal caster alternatives. It also reduces the starting inertia when initially moving carts or equipment. If your application involves frequent lifting, pivoting, or short-distance travel of wheeled objects, the minimal weight of properly designed casters can provide noticeable benefits through reduced strain and fatigue over a full shift.
Recommended for Use on Clean, Solid Concrete
Despite carrying massive stationary loads, properly equipped phenolic wheels retain their smooth-rolling mobility when loads need repositioning. Precision ball bearings, lightweight construction, and expert engineering enable easy transport of even the heaviest equipment.
These caster wheels work well on clean, solid concrete like a retail store or hospital floor. In these environments, phenolic casters are a great choice for rolling heavy equipment or for stationary use.
Retail companies often prefer phenolic wheels for their floor merchandising units since cheaper plastic wheels can freeze under typical product loads. Relocating heavy displays fully stocked with merchandise around the sales floor is easier with units fitted with phenolic caster wheels. Customers can then enjoy a frequently rearranged store with new product selections and layouts.
In hospitals, these casters excel at providing responsive steering and maneuverability for patient beds, crash carts, and diagnostic imaging equipment weighing hundreds of pounds each. Even under significant load, smooth mobility allows nurses and doctors to transport and reposition patients and equipment safely and quickly during emergencies.
Resistance to Oil, Grease, and Some Liquids
Phenolic casters’ non-porous resin construction stands up to caustic chemicals, steam, sanitation sprayers, and prolonged liquid exposure that quickly corrode metal wheels. Preventing rust buildup and contamination makes phenolic the product of choice across food processing, healthcare, and industrial washing applications. Plant managers credit this wheel’s durability with lowering maintenance costs and minimizing health code violations.
The impervious phenolic wheels maintain their integrity despite constant steam, chemicals, and bleach baths. Standard phenolic wheels may slide on certain floors. However, tread options like ribbed dual wheels provide positive traction to avoid mishaps. This grip assures safe handling and steering around grease, water, and slick surfaces.
To maximize the lifespan of phenolic resin casters, periodically clean them to remove dirt, debris, and grease. Check for cracks or wheel damage, and replace damaged casters promptly. Lubricate wheel bearings if needed and avoid excessive loads beyond their rated capacity to prevent premature failure. Proper maintenance keeps phenolic casters rolling smoothly.
Potential Issues to Consider
Even though these wheels might not work the best on delicate surfaces or when exposed to water, the majority of applications where phenolic caster wheels are used provide a multitude of benefits overall. If your operation relies on smooth-rolling wheels that can withstand the toughest real-world punishment while providing years of service, look no further than phenolic.
Phenolic Wheel Casters: An Optimal Choice for Wide-Ranging Applications
With diverse tread types, load capacities, wheel sizes, and accessories, phenolic casters deliver customized solutions for almost all applications. Select wheel hardness, tread textures, rotational resistance, and aesthetics for your specific needs.
Their optimal durability, strength, and customizability make these casters a top choice when failure is unacceptable. They thrive where other casters quickly falter, and their affordable price adds to their appeal. Compared to metal wheels, phenolic wheels can be significantly less expensive, making them a budget-friendly choice even for companies with tight budgets or high-volume wheel needs.
Find the Phenolic Casters and Wheels You Need at Apollo Caster
Apollo Caster is your go-to source for phenolic casters and wheels. We invite you to review our catalog for the products you need and read additional blog posts for inspiration and interesting stories from our customers. We have what you need to get your operation rolling.
Apollo Caster is here to help with your personal or business caster applications. We look forward to speaking with you when you call us at 888.344.3036, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5 p.m. Eastern Time.