Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - 14

B UY AMERICAN

A LFAB INC.

of air casters, traction-drives and
PLCs provides for heavy industry.
By integrating all three into a single
package, a product that weighs several hundred or thousand tons can
be easily and safely moved into position on the factory floor, a vast improvement over conventional load
movers. Advanced composites for
air caster fabrics have opened even
more applications. Among them is
a high-performance urethane that
maintains its functionality despite
extremely high temperatures for use
in vapor phase ovens or autoclaves,
the transformer industry and satellite cycle testing.
Cost comparisons among the load
moving alternatives have generally
favored air casters. In the current
market, four-wheeled casters to
move 100,000 pounds cost around
$25,000 each, more than double the
cost of the air casters, according to
their manufacturers. They also cite
figures showing that an air caster
transfer cart for moving 100 tons is
half the cost of a wheeled moving
cart for the same tonnage.

L EGAL

N EWS

T ECHNOLOGY

COLUMN BY | JOHN MASSENBURG

Industry's Experience With
Air Casters
Forrest Ramey of Hawaiian Dredging
can attest to the time savings and cost
efficiencies of air casters, which is why
his company decided to implement
the technology for moving larger
loads. "We recently moved a 30-foot
long drum weighing 22 tons on air
casters," Ramey says. "Our time spent
preparing the floor was relatively
minimal, and we put down a path of
sheet metal to travel across. Once the
drum was on the air casters, we moved
it approximately 100 feet in less than
five minutes."
Among the most important attributes for air casters is that a minimum
14

manufacturing-today.com AUGUST 2017

of force, only five to 25 pounds, is required to move a 5,000-pound load.
Wheel casters may require up to 300
pounds of force for the same load. Because air casters are omnidirectional,
very little force is required to change
their direction. Industries that have
relied on wheeled casters or rollers
concede that directional change is
time consuming, can gouge or tear
floors, and is anything but flexible.
Ramey agrees.
"I have a situation which requires
fine movements to work around existing obstacles," he says. "I would have
needed to reposition the rollers and adjust my pulling points numerous times,
so the longer this takes, the more the
process would have cost the company."

In an era when complex technologies are viewed as the next industrial solution, the simplicity of the
technologically improved air caster system stands in sharp contrast.
Its maneuverability and versatility
along with the safety of its process
have rendered it a cost efficient option for industrial product and load
movement. A technology in its infancy in the 1950s has proven to be more
adaptable, relevant and viable for today's heavy industry applications. mt
John Massenburg is president and CEO of AeroGo

Inc. of Seattle. AeroGo manufactures heavy load
equipment utilizing hovercraft technology for moving
heavy, awkward or delicate loads in factories. For
more information, please visit www.aerogo.com or call
866-537-0153.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - August 2017

Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - 1
Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - Table of Contents
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Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - Cover3
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