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Air Caster Technology Makes Loads As Light As Air Terry Pitsch, Engineering Manager

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Air Caster Technology Makes Loads As Light As Air Terry Pitsch, Engineering Manager. How It Works. Captures air inside a bag (air caster) to lift and move objects, like a puck moves on an air hockey table. How It Works.

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slide1

Air Caster Technology Makes Loads As Light As Air

Terry Pitsch, Engineering Manager

how it works
How It Works
  • Captures air inside a bag

(air caster) to lift and move

objects, like a puck moves

on an air hockey table

how it works1
How It Works
  • Supports up to 5000 tons of weight by moving pressurized air under an object
    • The air is inside a thin ‘fluid film’ air caster
  • The fluid film (caster) bends and flows over the surface like a Hovercraft
  • Increased air pressure over a larger area makes it possible to lift a heavier load
slide4

History of Fluid Film

Technology

  • 1950 - General Motors
    • “GM Style Bearing”
  • 1960 - Boeing Aircraft

“AeroGo Torus Style Bearing”

  • 1967 - AeroGo founded
slide6

When air is applied to the Aero-Caster, the torus bag inflates, creating a seal against the floor surface and raising the load.

slide7

When the pressure within the chamber is sufficient to offset the load’s weight, air evenly escapes between the flexible torus bag and the floor. The load is literally floated on a thin, nearly frictionless cushion of air,

.003 to .005 inches (.08 to .13mm) thick.

why use fluid film technology
Why Use Fluid Film Technology?
  • Extremely low friction
  • Typical friction factor 0.001-0.003 vs. 0.06 for typical wheel
  • Allows medium weights (500-5000 pounds) to be moved by a single person
  • Allows heavy weights (10,000 – 6,600,000 pounds) to be moved with greatly reduced drive systems
why use fluid film technology1
Why Use Fluid Film Technology?
  • Omni-directional movement
  • Unlike wheels, movement in all directions is easy
  • Provides means to precisely align equipment - whether 500 or 5,000,000 pounds - without constant repositioning
  • 360° rotation
why use fluid film technology2
Why Use Fluid Film Technology?
  • Low surface loading
  • Typical maximum surface loading of 50 psi
  • Allows extremely heavy loads to be transported over standard floors
  • Will not damage floors or coatings
  • Built-in lift feature
  • Can be used with or without other lift mechanisms
  • Greatly reduces cost and complexity
air caster benefits
Air Caster Benefits
  • Low surface loading
  • Built-in lift
    • Low profile
    • Low friction; no floor damage
    • Economical and reliable
    • Flexible for a variety of applications
    • Easy omnidirectional multi-positioning
    • Precise positioning without floor damage compared to traditional material handling equipment methods
    • Ergonomic - reduces lift hazards
    • Utilizes existing compressed air
    • Aero-Casters meet ASME specifications
asme b30 1 2009
ASME B30.1-2009
  • Applies to Jacks, Industrial Rollers, Air Casters and Hydraulic Gantries
  • 1-3 Air Lifting Bags
  • 1-5 Air Casters
    • Design:
      • Design and Proof Tested 2X Rated Load.
      • Air Pressure Regulation.
    • Periodic Inspection:
      • Inspect Prior to Each Move
      • Do Not Attempt to Repair Torus Bags
    • Operating Practices:
      • Safety First – Have a Plan
      • Maintain Control of the Load
      • Maintain Visibility and Communication
slide17

Operating Surfaces

Optimum: Smooth, flat and nonporous

* Don’t worry! It is possible to put a temporary overlay over ‘bad’

surfaces, so you can still use air casters to move heavy loads.

slide18

Surface Specifications

    • What can I do if my surface is bad?
issue high center of gravity
Issue: High Center of Gravity

Recommended 2:1 or less.

issue overhanging load
Issue: Overhanging Load

Recommended 4:1 or less.

issue rough seams or transitions
Issue: Rough Seams or Transitions

Smooth and seamless transitions.

issue unevenly distributed load
Issue: Unevenly Distributed Load

Air bearings require a minimum load.

issue small load footprint
Issue: Small Load Footprint

Air bearings require a rigid support structure..

issue ramps and slopes
Issue: Ramps and Slopes

Air bearings require a smooth transition.

issue changing loads
Issue: Changing Loads

Pressure and flow must change with the load.

issue insufficient air flow or pressure
Issue: Insufficient Air Flow or Pressure

Look for leaks, pressure drops, poor floors.

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