How Air Castors Benefit the
Cost effectiveness, safety, and time management among the main benefits of using
By John Massenburg, President and CEO of AeroGo Inc.
For more, visit: NewEquipment.com/21122018
Manufacturers are always looking for ways to save time and money to gain a competitive edge. One of the simplest, yet most impactful, ways to do this in manufacturing is by using air casters..
An air caster system uses compressed air to lift and
float heavy machines and tooling, even allowing them to be
turned 360-deg. within their own footprint. The technology
can be likened to a puck floating on an air hockey table—the
equipment literally floats on a bed of compressed air and
floats off the floor. It’s this low friction flotation that makes it
possible for one person to effortlessly move up to over 2,200
kilos of equipment.
Downtime is the death of productivity, and when a manufacturing line is held up to remove a part or reconfigure
the line, lots of money is being lost. The flexibility of movement with an air caster system is unparalleled. If a problem
is found with something on the assembly line and you need
to move it via a crane or forklift, operations will cease, a
certified operator must be found and then the equipment
must be maneuvered into place. With an air caster system
the problem piece can be removed quickly by anyone on the
line. This can save hours of time and thousands of dollars.
Since air casters eliminate the need for a conveyer belt or
rail system, and work alongside or sometimes replace cranes
and forklifts, a plant is able to optimize its floor space. With
commonly used solutions, extra space around the line is
needed for maneuverability, which ultimately results in
wasted space. An air caster system requires no extra space
to maneuver. Equipment with air casters can be turned 360-
deg. within their own footprint, optimizing the workspace
and improving the productivity of the plant.
For manufacturers that make calibrated equipment, the
inherent suspension of an air caster system ensures that
there is no vibration when something needs to be moved.
Equipment like cranes, forklifts and anything on wheeled
casters causes a lot of wear and tear on the flooring of the
plant. That type of damage is eliminated with an air caster
system. In some plants, like the Agie Charmilles plant in
Illinois that had recently installed a million dollar epoxy
floor, the idea of having it damaged immediately by equip-
ment was naturally not appealing.
“Prior to us going with air casters we were using forklifts
to move machines in and out of this room, but we didn’t
want to scratch it up using forklifts and walkies. So we needed to go with a different system. Thankfully someone recommended air casters,” said Jesus Ledesma Jr., the plant’s
Because most plant floors aren’t perfectly flat, moving
equipment, especially on wheels and casters can be precarious. Air casters are able to compensate for small floor undulations and in the case of larger gaps an overlay can be laid.
For employees, air caster’s biggest benefit is the safety of
the system. A person’s feet can’t get stuck under the load
and, because nothing is ever suspended in the air the way it
is with a crane or forklift, risk is greatly reduced.
An air caster system is easy to use, requiring no formal
certification to operate the system.
“How effective was air casters at solving our problem?
We don’t have to use forklifts anymore. It’s especially effective because it doesn’t take many people to move machines
around. It’s very safe. It’s very fast. And it doesn’t disturb
other people in the room,” said Ledesma.
Despite all the benefits of an air caster system, the cost to
implement it is far less expensive than the alternatives. For
example a 100T air cushion system might cost approximately 135,961 euros versus more than 900,000 euros for a crane.
With the lower cost of acquisition, coupled with the benefits and cost savings throughout the lifetime of the product,
an air caster system is a smart solution for any manufacturer
of heavy equipment.