Glossary of Air Bearing and Caster Terms

Over time the air bearing has been referred to by many
different other names. Air Bearings are generally the most popular term
used throughout the material handling industry for these pneumatic
lifting devices.

Different parts of the world, however, often term these
air bearing units slightly differently and here you will find some other
titles – and descriptions where applicable.

Following is a list of terms and explanations, plus a
brief overview of some of our products.

Air Casters – also Aircasters
Air Casters – sometimes spelled aircasters or air castors – an alternate name for air bearings and are more usually referred to in Western European countries – mainly Great Britain and France. They are an identical product using the same technology. They are using in exactly the same way as air bearings: in set of 3 or more, housed in load modules to form an air bearing or air caster system. Same product – different

Air Cushions
Air Cushions – simply another name used for air bearings. But sometimes
described as the thin film of air that forms between the air bearing and
the floor when the bearing is inflated. Same product – different name.

Air Skates
Air Skates – generally used in conjunction with air bearings, but can also be used when describing air beams and transporters. Same products – different names.

Air Pallets Air Pallets – mostly referred to when talking about aluminum or steel air
beams and transporters.

Air Skids Air Skids – the same as air pallets above.

Air Film
Air Film is an industry term that describes the process of moving loads
using the air bearing principle, i.e. on a thin film of air between the
load and the floor. An air film is created when compressed air is forced
into a load module thus activating the air bearing. Similar to a
hovercraft, the bearing then floats on that film of air just above the
floor surface.

Air Beams
Air Beams are usually used in pairs. Beams are generally longer – up to
12 feet –  and thinner than the regular platform transporters and
can be used in offset positions if necessary.

Platform Transporters

Platform transporters usually incorporate four or more air bearings and a
manifold for balancing air pressure to each bearing. A great idea for
repetitive load movements of the same size.

Heavy Duty Transporters (Fabricated Steel Transporters)
A steel transporter that is capable of moving heavy loads of virtually
any size and weight. Our transporters can be customized so that the upper
structure can interface with specific shaped loads.

Load Modules

A Load Module is a welded structure that houses an individual air
bearing. An air bearing itself cannot hold any weight until set into a
load module. The load modules are usually welded or bolted to a load pad
which has the strength to allows load movements. An air intake valve is
fitted to the load module which causes the air bearing to inflate and the
load moving process to initialize.

Air Bearing Systems

An Air Bearing System is formed when a group of three or more load
modules are linked to each other via air hose and a remote control unit.
The remote control then control the air flow into each individual load

Remote Control Units

As described above, a remote control unit controls the air flow into
individual load modules. The modules are all connected to the RC unit via
pressurized air hose. Individual air gauges are set into the RC to ensure
correct air pressure is maintained to each module.

Hand Pendant
– sometimes called an Umbilical.
A Hand Pendant is a unit that extends from the remote control unit – by
way of a hose connection – that allows the operator to control the load
from the pendant instead of the remote control unit.

Specialty Turntables

Specialty Turntables are generally smaller diameter, or square footprint,
turntables that can be adapted to fit various types of load – possible
uses included component feed baskets, oil drum distribution and such

Car Turntables

As their name suggests, car turntables turn
cars, automobiles and other simialr vehicles. An ideal
facility for companies whose locations are in a dead end street and
therefore need to turn delivery vehicles ready for exit. However, the
most popular use for these devices is in the residential sector where
homeowners use them in cases of restricted turning space, or where you
may have to reverse into a busy street to gain exit.