Air caster history
Air casters are sometimes referred to as “air bearings”, “air cushions”, “air-skates”, “air lift casters”, or “air bearing casters”. There are several stories about where this technology comes from. However, it was initially introduced decades ago as a tool for moving heavy loads in the aviation industry.
Air casters and their different names
“Air casters”, “air bearings”, “air cushions” or “air-skates” are all different names for the same product. But how could one product have multiple names? These names come from the fact that they are powered by compressed air, and they have the characteristics of a wheel, a bearing, and a cushion. This mix is probably the cause for the variety in names. They all convey essentially the same meaning and refer to the exact same product.
At Aerofilm Systems we mainly call them Air casters. Air casters are the most suitable solution when it comes to moving and positioning heavy loads in any industry. With a wide range of casters and sizes to choose from, we offer the best standardized and customized heavy material handling solutions, no matter what name you refer to them as!
The technology behind Air casters
Despite the fact that air caster technology was created decades ago, it has continued to gain popularity in the industrial sector for the transportation of delicate machinery, heavy-duty equipment, and difficult-to-handle objects.
- What: Air lift casters are the ideal material handling solution when it comes to transporting heavy, large, or special objects ergonomically. This form of transportation uses multiple air casters to float objects on a wafer-thin layer of air. Making it possible to move heavy loads with very little force, as only 5 kg of force is needed to move a weight of up to 5.000 kg.
- How: Air bearing casters follow the same working principles as a hovercraft. When the caster is completely inflated, it forms a seal against the floor. When the pressure in the cushion is adequate to lift the object, excess air is channeled between the floor and cushion, creating a wafer-thin layer of air on which the object can move smoothly for precise positioning.
Depending on the size and weight of the load, movement of objects can be securely maneuvered by only a few employees. This permanently eliminates devices that could eventually take up unnecessary space in the facility. Hence, the heavy machinery can be carefully moved into place without disrupting the facility’s assembly process.
Air casters can be used separately or integrated into automated transporters (which include drive subsystems) to float even the heaviest machines, engines or transformers. Thus, these can be customized to meet specific application requirements.
- Where: Air caster systems operate in a variety of environments/industries such as modular building, semiconductor, entertainment, cleanroom, food and pharma, shipbuilding, transformer manufacturing, and automotive. Throughout our thorough knowledge of the diverse applications within these industries, our air casters have been successfully used by well-known companies (e.g., KLM, Ford, Canon, Unilever, Voith, SIEMENS, RWE).
Elements to consider
When deciding on the best heavy material handling system for your industry, there are several elements that must be considered, including productivity, maneuverability, price, safety, and space usage. So then, what would be the best internal transport system to provide the most flexible, user-friendly, and cost-effective solution? Air casters.
Aerofilm air casters are designed to compete on performance and reliability. We can transform a time-consuming procedure into one that’s time-saving and risk-free! Based on our years of experience, our application specialists can help you get more out of your air casters.
Over the past 40 years, Aerofilm Systems has supplied air bearings to companies who were experiencing problems with internal transport and the handling of heavy equipment, without losing productivity time.
We love solving difficult challenges for our customers!
Benefits of advanced air caster technology
• Safety and ergonomic benefits: In the production environment, air casters allow a single person to move and position (heavy and sensitive) objects in a safe and easy way.
• Budget-friendly: Aerofilm Systems offers competitive prices for high-quality Air casters. In addition, the technology is often more cost-efficient than other solutions.
• Maneuverability and downtime reduction: Air casters allow (heavy and sensitive) objects to float on a thin layer of air, so they can move almost frictionless in any horizontal direction quickly. This will minimize the amount of downtime in your facility, reducing the risk of production schedule interruptions and the resulting lost revenue.
• Low maintenance: Air casters require extremely low maintenance. If they get dirty, they can easily be cleaned using soap and water.
• Prevents floor damage: Significantly less risk of floor damage in comparison to traditional material handling equipment.
For precise positioning, Air casters require a flat and airtight surface so that the cushion can settle against the floor before an air film is created. If your floor is not suitable, floor irregularities (cracks, and joints) can be corrected by temporarily adding thin metal or PS-plates (polystyrene) sheets along the travel path. Any gaps between different plates can be covered with normal packing tape.
Gap Crossers can also be a suitable solution for moves in unknown environments that may have floors with imperfections (small cracks, crevices, and joints).
Sufficient compressed air is also necessary for the air caster to operate effectively. Thus, the amount of air needed will be determined by the weight to be moved, the floor, and the type of Air caster.
Aerofilm air casters are made from the finest quality materials and designed for years of trouble-free usage. Due to technological advancements in materials and design, each specific caster is produced to handle very specific moving requirements.
There are casters available for every situation!
Our specialists will be pleased to help you on your way to the best solution. Do not wait any longer! Contacts us!
Do not wait any longer! Contacts us!