ASE Systems Saves Boatyard Over $400,000 Using Little-Known, Air-Caster Technology
Houston, TX (PRWEB) May 22, 2006
Using the power of compressed air, workers at Kvichak Marine moved a 130-ton catamaran more than 100 yards out of their manufacturing facility and lined it up for its journey to the harbor. The catamarans builders began searching for an alternate load-moving technology when they encountered problems with clearance in the boat manufacturing facility: The catamaran had less then ten feet of space on either side. When ASE Systems presented their solution involving a series of air casters, air jacks, and smooth non-porous overlays (mats placed under the air casters to allow them to move over rough surfaces), Kvichak knew they had found the answer to their problem. Not only did the air-caster system work within their space limitations, the system cost $ 400,000 less than the proposed crane system.
ASE Systems, who proposed the catamaran-moving solution, is a materials handling equipment company that provides, among other things, a little-known product, the air caster load module system. In laymans terms, air casters work like a hovercraft, using the power of low-pressure air to float a heavy load from one place to another. Inflatable torus bags attached to a load bearing aluminum extrusion are inserted under the load and then inflated. When the bags are full and the pressure inside the air caster becomes greater than the weight on top of it, air begins to escape from the bottom of the bag, creating a frictionless cushion of air. This cushion of air, about the thickness of a business card, develops between the floor and the load and allows the load to be floated to its destination.
The technology is incredibly practical, affordable, and flexible, says Al Spencer, vice president of ASE Systems. The only reason most manufacturers dont take advantage of air-caster systems, is that only about 5 percent of the population is even aware they exist.
Air casters offer several advantages over traditional load-moving solutions. With air casters, loads are not constrained by the paths defined by overhead cranes or conveyor rollers and rails. Workers can push the load in any direction with incredible ease just one pound of force will move a 1,000-pound load set on air casters. That means one man can move a Ford Taurus with less pressure than it takes to push an elevator button. Air casters are also low maintenance and completely removable; so there is no need to install an expensive permanent transport or conveyance system. They also dont damage or mark floors. In fact, they protect floors by encouraging an even load distribution.
Their applications are endless, says Dale Spencer of ASE Systems, Take progressive assembly lines for example. If you need to move a heavy assembly off the production line, and it weighs a couple of tons or many times that, it can be a costly problem if your conveyance system does not allow for omni-directional control like air casters do. With air casters, though, you can move the piece anywhere in the facility in just a few minutes. That means almost no downtime.
ASE Systems also provides work station cranes for high cycle pick and place requirements; specialty wheels and casters designed to roll with low friction, last longer than traditional wheels and casters, and require virtually no maintenance; various lift assist devices; and vacuum lifters for repetitive lifting and motion activities. They specialize in load-moving and manipulating systems which increase worker productivity, reduce injury rates, and decrease material handling and labor costs. The company was founded more than 18 years ago by Al Spencer and his partners, and Al is still the primary contact for ASE Systems clients. To learn more about air casters or to discuss your particular load handling application, call 800-245-2163 or visit http://www.asesystems.com.