Castor wheels are basically relatively small wheels (available in a range of sizes.) They are utilised to make all sorts of different objects more mobile. The wheels on your suitcase are castor wheels, as are the wheels on your sofa or computer desk. The construction of the wheels will vary from object to object, and larger, heavier wheels tend to be constructed from a combination of very durable materials.
Some castor wheels are made of plastic only. On a suitcase, you might find simple plastic trolley wheels, especially if the suitcase is small. Manufacturers have carefully balanced the relative affordability of these plastic wheels against their lack of durability. They are effective for smaller loads, however a plastic wheel would not be able to securely carry a photocopier, for example.
Stronger castor wheels, such as those that are used in industry, are constructed from tougher materials, such as a combination of plastic and metal. In the past, and still commonly, the wheel will be entirely made of metal, which is obviously most suitable for very heavy loads.
As well as the material of the wheel, there are a wide range of different configurations that the wheel can take. Some caster wheels are able to lock and break. This is helpful for larger objects, where you want a greater degree of control. Some casters only move forward or backwards, again ensuring larger object remain secure.
Modern castors are designed so that they add a degree of mobility to objects, without making them so mobile as to be insecure. This is why many castor wheels have additional features such as breaks or locks. Broken castor wheels can very easily be replaced, however modern castors, built to high standards, don’t break very often.
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