How do Air casters work
Air caster transport
Moving heavy objects
How do Air casters work
Air casters (also known as Air skates, Air bearings) make it possible to move the heaviest of objects. They consist of a flexible rubber membrane inflated by compressed air. With a maximum operating pressure between 1 bar and 4 bar depending on the Air caster type, a controlled “leakage” of the compressed air creates a wafer-thin air film between the floor and the Air caster membrane.
Would you like to know more about how Air casters work?
The Air caster “floats” a few tenths of a millimeter from the floor (about the thickness of a human hair), resulting in virtually no friction and making it possible to move heavy objects with very little force (only 1 kg of force to move a weight of up to 1.000 kg). When working with Air casters (also known as Air skates, Air bearings) it is important that there is sufficient air and that the floor is suitable. Every transport method has advantages and disadvantages. We have written a detailed whitepaper about this, comparing different techniques side by side. There are two important pre-conditions for successful Air caster implementation: floor and air. Below we’ve outlined the details for success, but if you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out. We are ready to help in any way we can.
Which floor is suitable?
For Air casters (also known as Air skates, Air bearings) to function properly, it is important that the floor is airtight, smooth and flat. The air that comes out of the membrane lifts the mass and makes it float. If the floor is not airtight, air will escape into the floor and remove the pressure needed to create an air film. However, a lack of floor coating is not a problem. Any type of floor will work with Air casters as long as they are smooth, flat and airtight. When the object is floating, there is a wafer-thin film of air, which is only tenths of a millimeter thick (about the thickness of a human hair). A smooth floor ensures that the air film remains intact so that the mass continues to float. Small deviations in the floor can easily be absorbed by the caster, but the caster cannot go up or down steps. The better the floor, the better the air consumption. Less suitable floors can lead to higher air consumption, more friction and therefore more wear on the bladder of the caster.
In practice, no floor will be 100% flat. This is no problem. Although if the air film forms then the weight will tend to slide to the lowest point. Therefore, check the mass in time. When the weight starts to move on its own, the cushions are properly adjusted and the air film has been created.
How do I make my floor suitable?
If your floor is not suitable, it can be made suitable easily by temporarily adding a thin metal or EPDM sheets along the travel path. Any gaps between different plates can be covered with normal packing tape. Make sure that the plates overlap each other slightly and that the plate you are moving to is on the bottom. If you do have a floor in your factory that is suitable for Air caster transport, but you want to move between different floor sections or halls that are interrupted by an expansion joint, a silicone filler can cover small gaps or joints to get Air casters working without any problems. If this is not possible, our special Gap Crosser is the better solution for you.
Air is the magic mover of all Air caster transport. A thin layer of air created between the Air caster and floor provide an easy way to move extremely heavy objects. In order to achieve this, sufficient air pressure and flow are required. The air must be dry and clean, but a normal factory air dryer and filter in standard compressed air systems works. Normally the pressure that is present is often between 6 bar en 7 bar. This is then reduced at the control box to the required pressure in the caster. The working pressure in the caster will normally not exceed 4 bar. The amount of air needed (measured in CFM or cubit foot per minute) depends on the weight to be moved, the floor, type of Air caster and other variables. Pressure gauges are mounted on almost all installations to monitor the current pressure. Insufficient air supply results in higher friction, more wear and eventually system failure. Do you want to know whether you have enough air available for your planned relocation or support in choosing a compressor? Please contact us. We’re happy to answer any and all questions.
How do Air casters work? If you would like to know more about this, please contact us for more information? Contact us for more information.