Lifting of heavy machinery or objects within an industrial environment or production facility can be a real nightmare. It’s quite difficult to work out the logistics of the move on how not to damage other equipment, tools or the capital-intensive and often delicate systems or goods itself, how to deal with limited space, how to position effectively and accurate, etc. And you also want to avoid doing it wrong, which can lead to serious injuries. However, you need to get the job done quickly and efficiently. In this blog, we tell you about how to move heavy objects and introduce a solution that’s easy to handle, safe and of course cost-effective. Keep on reading to learn more! A tip of the veil: you don’t need heavy machinery to move the heavy machinery.
Constant needs of heavy-duty wheels and casters
There are constant needs of heavy-duty wheels and casters, as there are constant needs to move and position objects, in a manufacturing setting. Whether it’s about exchanging molds in the production line, changing an assembly line setup, moving components to machines, moving or positioning fixed machinery or semi-manufactured products or modules, it’s obviously not a matter of getting a bunch of strong guys together and pushing really hard. There are numerous factors to take into account when it comes to selecting a solution for moving heavy objects, such as ergonomic standards for employees, floor load capacity, friction, and flexibility.
Based on these requirements for your specific situation it is relatively easy to select the best solution for your business. There are several solutions to move heavy machinery. For example, forklifts, machine skates, overhead and gantry cranes, rails, automated guided vehicles, and air cargo casters. The latter is a powerful, yet relatively unknown solution. Even though it has clear advantages over other solutions.
Solid rubber wheels with bearings for safely moving heavy machinery
Heavy-duty wheels and casters provide powerful solutions, but actually, operate under fairly simple principles. In short, air skates lift heavy loads and generates a nearly frictionless layer between the surface and load but we’ll explain the technique behind this solution in more detail.
Compressed air is inflated into the air cargo casters consisting of a flexible rubber membrane and a metal plate and a controlled ‘leakage’ of the compressed air generates a tinny midair film between the floor and the air caster. As a result, the air caster ‘floats’ above the floor, similar to that of a hovercraft. Heavy objects can now be moved with practically no friction and very little force. It requires only one kg of pulling force to move a weight of 1,000 kg.
Compared to traditional moving solutions air casters offer:
- 360 degrees of rotation, omnidirectional maneuverability in tight spaces and positioning in all horizontal directions
- Solid rubber wheels with bearings allow minimal friction which requires less drive force
- Robust product components parts that are virtually maintenance-free
- Easy placement under loads without additional load jacking due to low construction height of the air skates
- Low floor loading because the weight is distributed over a wide surface area instead of point or line contact
- Custom-made solutions for the specific objects that need to be transported from 100 kg to thousands of tons
On top of that air, cargo casters are commonly used in cleanrooms and explosion-proof rooms. However, and there’s a but, there are two requirements for the use of air casters: a suitable floor and compressed air. The right kind of floor for air caster movement is airtight, smooth and flat. However, an unsuitable floor can (temporarily) be improved. The principle of air casters is, obviously, based on air. Therefore, you need sufficient air pressure and flow available at all times.