Thermoplastic Rubber Casters: Are They Right for Me?

What are TPR Casters?

Thermoplastic rubber, also referred to as TPR, is an injection molded copolymer that is essentially a synthetic rubber–providing excellent mobility value at a budget-friendly price. It combines characteristics of both rubber and plastic to create a wheel material that provides non-marking and floor-protective mobility, along with resistance to most chemicals, oils, and water. TPR wheel casters roll with the smoothness and durability of a harder wheel while taking advantage of the softer, quieter, and floor-protective properties of rubber. TPR casters thrive in a wide range of environments, including retail, janitorial, medical, and warehouse applications. TPR wheels can be manufactured to different durometers, feature chemical bonds for a strong tread-to-core lock, and can even be embedded with antimicrobial properties. 

Are They Right for Me? 

When considering casters for hospital equipment, TPR casters have a significant leg up on many of the other wheel options due to their ability to absorb shock. This means that whether you are transporting a patient to surgery, rushing a piece of delicate lifesaving equipment, or even rolling a cart through the maternity ward, your cargo will glide smoothly and quietly. This means less disruption to your patients, less impact on your equipment, and an overall quieter environment for your medical facility. Some TPR casters can even be embedded with antimicrobial defense baked into the rubber, adding an additional layer of

protection that will give you and your patients peace of mind. If antimicrobial wheels are of interest for your OEM product, please contact us for additional information. 

TPR casters can be used in commercial settings where quiet movement of equipment is desired to create a more peaceful shopping environment. Nothing creates a more stressful shopping environment than the clanging clamor of noisy carts. Thermoplastic rubber casters offer a durable solution to this nuisance by providing added cushioning in the caster wheel, minimizing the rattle of items on the cart. Our advanced, performance rubber wheel casters provide even greater cushioning, so be sure to check them out as well. These solutions also provide the added benefit of reducing how much movement items on a cart experience, increasing the likelihood that inventory remains on a cart and doesn’t fall off and break. 

Are TPR Casters good for Manufacturing?

But can a TPR caster hold its weight in a heavy-duty manufacturing environment? You may have thought that the grating sounds of rolling casters were just another noise that comes with the job, but by using the right Thermoplastic Rubber wheel caster, you can minimize the rumble of wheels in your facility and help keep the decibels down, protecting workers' ears. TPR casters are strong, with some casters rated to support up to 600 lbs. per wheel. That means you would only need 6 of these casters to quietly move a brand-new 2023 Toyota Camry off the manufacturing line. Some TPR casters (like our performance rubber solutions) also reject debris, meaning that manufacturing debris is less likely to get caught up in the caster, causing a sudden stop or damage. 

What are the positives of TPR wheel casters? 

  • Economical floor protective wheel 
  • Non-marking and available in multiple colors 
  • Provides an additional layer of shock absorption 
  • Quieter operation versus harder plastic or metal wheels 
  • Advanced TPR (or TPE) wheels can reject debris 
  • Chemically bonds to the core of the wheel to prevent tread separation 
  • Resistant to most chemicals, oils, and water 

What are the downsides of TPR wheel casters? 

  • Wears more quickly than a Polyurethane wheel 
  • Handles less capacity versus harder wheels, including polyurethane and metal (if you require the most capacity along with floor protection, please see our polyurethane and industrial nylon wheels) 
  • Common TPR wheels can be prone to gouging or chunking when hitting sharp debris or rough flooring 
  • Can flat spot under too heavy of loads

TPR casters come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, including flat or round tread profiles, and are most commonly available in 2” to 8” wheel diameters with tread widths from 13/16” to 2”Typical temperature operating ranges from -45°F to 180°F. 

Application solutions

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