Friday, October 21, 2016

Stainless Steel vs. Zinc Plating for Casters and Wheels

Stainless Steel Medium Duty 4"x 2"" Swivel Caster TPR Grey Soft Rubber Wheel
Stainless Steel Caster, Rubber Wheel
In this edition we will discuss the differences between Stainless Steel and Zinc Plating for Casters and Wheels. In most cases zinc coating on a caster rig, (fork), is sufficient, but there are some applications where stainless steel is beneficial. First off lets go over the two products. Zinc coating is just that, a coating or plating covering traditional steel to resist corrosion or rust. While stainless steel is corrosion resistant on it own, some stainless products are coated as well, but the steel is naturally resistant to corrosion and rust. The stainless steel casters are definitely more expensive but with a cost analysis they may be cheaper in the long run.

Medium Duty 4"x 2" Swivel Caster Polyolefin Wheel
Zinc Plated Caster, Phenolic Wheel

Many food, medical and laboratories use stainless steel
casters on their carts, cages and dollies because they are washed down with chemicals regularly and often steam cleaned. These industries can also not afford to have the work place contaminated by the rust.  The stainless steel is much more resistant to chemicals and steam cleaning.
In cases like these, with excessive wash downs and heavy chemicals it may be simply cheaper to spend the extra money upfront, than to replace the rusted casters and wheels on a regular basis.

For most cases, zinc plated casters and wheels will be sufficient, even if they get wet on occasion, sit outdoors at times or are indoors. Some applications where stainless may be beneficial would be casters on carts that get cleaned often, or if they sit outside all of the time in inclement weather like snow or excessive rain. In industrial settings the casters and wheels are generally zinc coated for the equipment they use.