Back in 1961, General Motors was in need of an alternative to the standard overhead crane to increase available floor space within the factory while not losing lifting capacity for handling automobile components weighing hundreds of pounds. Company engineer Harry A. Mackie’s solution to this problem was to devise a moveable load supporting device running on rails over the assembly line and supported by air bearings for easy, friction-free movement. This became the basic form of what is known today as the air caster.
What Air Casters Do
Adapted for ground use, air casters are pneumatic lifting devices utilized in warehouses to move very heavy loads. Air casters work by filling a torus-shaped reservoir bag with compressed air. Once filled and having made an airtight seal with the ground as a result, air is subsequently forced through the center of the torus and flowing over the bag to create a hovercraft effect. This lifts the entire load the air caster is supporting off the ground by at least a millimeter and allows friction-free movement of very large loads.
The hover effect generated by the air caster translates into very little force required to move a very large load. Five pounds of force by an ordinary human being is enough to move a thousand pound load in any direction. This makes air casters far superior to conventional wheels or casters for moving heavy freight containers from one end of the warehouse floor to the other.
One limitation on the usage of air casters is the requirement for a completely smooth floor for proper lifting airflow. Also, there has to be a nearby power source for the air caster to be connected to. However, within the environment of the warehouse or the factory floor, both are readily available, and even a cracked floor can be covered by an overlay material to provide a smooth surface.
Consider Hudson Air Casters As The Best Model
Air casters are manufactured by a number of companies, including Airfloat and Air Caster Corp among others. Hudson Bearings has become the latest manufacturer of air casters to add to their line of air bearing haulers and air decks, all of which have proven to be high-quality units in a number of applications. Consider purchasing Air Casters by Hudson Bearings for heavy-lift and movement equipment.