Air Caster-A New Approach In Material Handling
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27-01-2009, 09:46 AM

Material handling plays an very important role in the industrial economy. Mass production depends mainly on conveying system and expansions is mass production invariably follow developments in method of handling the materials involved. The material handling is a system or combination of methods, facilities, labour and equipment for moving, packaging and storing of materials to meet specific objectives. Materials handling is increasingly being recognized as a primary tool for improving productivity. Nearly every activity in manufacturing involves some form of material handling. The productivity of any company will be increased if proper material handling equipment is installed to control the element of operation. The conventional material handling system suffer from many drawbacks and hence it is essential to develop the new system which is more convenient.
One of the most versatile system that based on creating thin film of air between the base of the load and the floor. This almost eliminates friction between load and floor, and the object can moved in any direction with very small effort. This innovative system is known as Air caster or Air Bearing.

There are two major categories of materials which are
1. Units
2. Bulk
2.1.1 UNITS
Units are separate, discrete items, ranging in size from a) nuts and bolts to b) pallet loads of bags c) car bodies d) ingots and castings .
Example of unit handling system includes automotive assembly lines, ware houses storage and retrieval system, wood conveying in timber mill, can convey in sugar mill, steel coils and plates transfer in steel mill, mould and core transfer in foundries, barrels filling and transfer in beverage industries.
Common elements of a unit handling system also includes lift trucks, overhead cranes, gantry cranes, jib crane, conveyors trucks, hoists, monorails, storage racks, positioning equipment.
2.1.2 BULK

Bulk material handling is characterized by continuous flow operations, involving materials in an aggregate form. Bulk material on the other hand are stored and handled in volume, often in unpacked form. Example of bulk handled includes dry powders, granules, coal, fertilizer, chemical, sugar, sulfur, salt, cement, sand, foodgrains, fly ash.
Common elements of a bulk handling system includes various mechanical conveyors for screw, belt, chain, bucket elevators and pneumatic conveyors

The traditional material handling system suffer from some drawbacks listed below.
1. It increase the cost of manufacturing product
2. Some of the system are not safe for the health of the workers.
3. Costly equipments are required such as over head cranes, truck.
4. Shocks and vibrations are transmitted to the load which is dangerous to the delicate load.
5. Omni directional movement of the load is not possible in small space with small effort.
6. Maintenance and running cost of the equipment is very high.
7. Damage the floor surface.

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