ARIEL WORK PLATFORMS / CASTERS IN DETAIL
Today’s work platforms, be it Platform Lifts, Aerial Work Platforms or Scaffolding and when I say scaffolding I’m talking about Aluminum Scaffolding. Now steel Scaffold use casters as well but not as often, the reason is that steel Scaffolding for the most part is stationary. What am I talking about? Well at the bottom of every Platform Lift, Aerial Work Platform or Aluminum Scaffolding there is something they both have in conman and that is Non Marking Wheels. Throughout the years and many customer complaints all Aerial Work Platforms went to the non marking tires for the simple reason not to mark up the customers floors.
This brings me back now to the Scaffolding aspect of this Blog and that is to show you the non-marking caster. Below I am going to break down the caster and show you the different features it possess along with pictures to represent what I am explaining.
The Aluminum Scaffolding Casters comes in two sizes 5” and 8”. The reason for the two different sizes is simple; the 5” caster is used primarily in doors because it gives the base section of either the single wide or double wide scaffolding a height of 6’ 6” just low enough to go under a standard doorway. The 8” caster is used mostly in open areas or outdoors. The larger caster gives you the ability to roll over cords and small pebbles that are often found in those work environments.
Caster Stem & Installing Caster
Next is the stem of the caster that has a detente pin that gets depressed when shoved into the adjustable leg of your scaffolding. There are two ways to install the caster. One turn the end frame upside down with the adjustable leg facing up and put the stem of the caster into the adjustable scaffolding leg and pull straight down on the caster while slightly moving it back and forth and it will go in. It is not easy and we don’t want it to be so is the reason for the tight stem fit and the detente pin. Because the caster is tough to install there was invented another way of putting it into the adjustable leg and that is to turn the scaffolding frame on its side and put the stem of the caster in on the horizontal plan and hit the bottom of the caster with a rubber mallet or sand filled one. If you need to use a regular hammer put a piece of wood between the hammer and the caster wheel this will protect the non-marking wheel from damage.
Caster Braking Mechanism
The braking mechanism has two positions, on or off. When the braking lever is pointing up it is in the unlock position. Notice in the picture how the hub of the caster is off set from the vertical member of the caster stem which is put into the bottom of the scaffolding frame. This gives the caster the ease of casting and swiveling when turning. This off set hub also prevents the wobbling you get when the hub is in line with the vertical member. A good example is when you push a shopping cart fast the front caster wobbles from side to side.
When the brake is put on you need to push it all the way down till you feel it click. You will see in the picture that the hub is now off center of the vertical caster stem just slightly in the opposite direction. So the more weight you put on the scaffold the more that wheel wants to be pushed back into the braking systems. As I tried to show in the picture the aggressive looking metal teeth that come into contact with the none marking wheel when it is move back under the vertical member of the scaffolding and then the hub or center of the wheel going just past the center of the vertical member and into the metal teeth which stop the rolling of the wheel. At the same time the wheel is going back another set of teeth come up and make contact with a set of teeth that are connected to the swivel portion of the caster as shown in the attached photo. This stops the swivel action of the caster. At this point your scaffolding may flex as you climb it but it will not move side to side or front to back at the base.
These casters are field replaceable if lost, stolen or damaged. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me either by phone or email.
Again be safe and remember,”IF YOU NEED TO GET UP, GET UPRIGHT WITH UPRIGHT SCAFFOLD NORTH AMERICA”