How do Air Casters Work?

In a nutshell, air casters are pneumatic tools that make it easy to move large and heavy equipment and machines without damaging the floor. Traditionally, facilities and warehouses have made use of roller equipment, lift trucks, and cranes to move heavy equipment. Not only are such measures impractical, but prove costly for the business and dangerous for nearby employees.

Air casters are slowly growing in popularity and becoming the standard means of moving heavy objects in facilities and warehouses. In this blog, we take a look at the science behind air casters and how they are able to move such heavy objects.

The Basics

Compressed air is used to inflate donut-shaped tubes found beneath square aluminum air caster plates that move heavy loads across smooth surfaces. When the tubes are completely inflated, air leaks through a small pocket that creates a very thin layer of air between the tubes and the ground. Similar to a hovercraft, air casters enable heavy loads to float across surfaces in any direction. The weight and size of the objects determine the size and number of air casters required.


Heavy objects on air casters can be navigated far more easily than those placed on wheeled casters. On an average floor, a 5000-pound load can be maneuvered on air casters with as little as 5 to 25 pounds of force. The same weight placed on traditional wheel casters will require a horizontal force of around 300 pounds to move.

Air casters carrying heavy weights do not require constant repositioning to maneuver due to their omni-directional movement capabilities. Wheel casters, on the other hand, require multiple redirects to proceed in the desired direction.

Additionally, air casters are able to smoothly glide across nonporous surfaces such as raised tiles, smooth concrete, vinyl, and linoleum all of which are commonly found in factories. They are also able to work on porous surfaces provided a plastic overlay or metal sheet is laid down first.

Safety and Ergonomics

equipmentsWith air casters, even a single person is capable of moving and controlling loads that weight as much as 5000-lb. heavier weights can also be managed by adding more air casters. It is important to consider the surface factor before using any sort of pneumatic lifting tools. The Surface factor is defined as the surface smoothness and levelness. The scale ranges from 0.001 to 0.005 with perfect surfaces being a 0.001.

Air casters are easier to maneuver and control compared to traditional load moving systems and are, therefore, much safer to operate.

Though are casters are not a complex technology by any means, the use of basic laws of physics allows them to deliver effective and convenient solutions. Hovair Systems Inc. manufactures pneumatic lifting equipment that makes heavy load handling and movement extremely easy. Contact us today for more information.

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