Hovair® Air Film Skates & Equipment
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Video: Hovair® Air Film Technology – Industrial Transporter (Model TPW4-40HP)

Omni-directional, innovative and cost effective solutions

Since its acquisition of Hovair Systems, Movetech UK has continued in-house design and manufacture of standard and bespoke air film movement solutions.

Hovair air film skates are robust, low profile, high capacity load-moving modules used in sets of four or more to enable large or heavy objects to be moved with ease.

Hovair air film skates are suitable for use in virtually any industry, they have no moving parts and are consequently very low maintenance.

Compressed air and a smooth operating surface are all that is required to enable air skates to virtually eliminate friction.

Unlike wheels, air skates provide omni-directional capabilities, meaning that a load can be moved in any direction without the need for complex turning manoeuvres.

How air film works

The air skates are connected with a hose manifold and supplied with compressed air. With the air turned on, the flow to each air skate is regulated to accommodate the load and floor conditions, allowing the load to be lifted clear of the floor.

A thin film of air can then escape from the periphery of a moulded diaphragm, creating a very small gap between it and the floor. This virtually eliminates friction, enabling the load to be moved with relatively little effort; a force of less than 5 kg can accelerate a 1000 kg load on air skates.

Available in a variety of sizes and capacities, a set of four air skates can carry anything from 2 to 60 tonnes working at a floor pressure of 1kg/cm2, and up to 240 tonnes working at higher floor pressures. Multiples of air skates can move thousands of tonnes.

Unlike wheels, friction-free omni-directional movement can be achieved, meaning that a load can be moved in any direction without the need for complex turning manoeuvres.

To find out more, download our product datasheets below.

Features and benefits:
  • Working load capacities of up to 100 tonnes and higher
  • Choice of skate modules – steel or aluminium
  • Move loads in restricted areas where forklifts/cranes cannot reach
  • Easy to set up with quick release couplings
  • Powered by a regular workshop air supply of 5 to 7 bar
  • Easy to use and cost effective
  • Low floor pressures
  • Modular capability giving ultimate versatility
  • Accurate and repeatable positioning with omni-directional capability
  • Low profile skate modules for ease of location underneath loads
How air skates work

The air skates are connected with a hose manifold and supplied with compressed air. With the air turned on, the flow to each air skate is regulated to accommodate the load and floor conditions, allowing the load to be lifted clear of the floor.

A thin film of air can then escape from the periphery of a moulded diaphragm, creating a very small gap between it and the floor. This virtually eliminates friction, enabling the load to be moved with relatively little effort; a force of less than 5 kg can accelerate a 1000 kg load on air skates.

Sizes and load capacity

Available in a variety of sizes and capacities, a set of four air skates can carry anything from 2 to 60 tonnes working at a floor pressure of 1kg/cm2, and up to 240 tonnes working at higher floor pressures. Multiples of air skates can move thousands of tonnes.

Servicing & maintenance

We understand reliability is key and critical to your businesses performance. So, we offer a servicing and maintenance service to check your everything is working just the way it should. For more information or to schedule a service, get in touch and our sales and technical teams will be more than happy to help.

Features and benefits:
  • Working load capacities of up to 100 tonnes and higher
  • Choice of skate modules – steel or aluminium
  • Move loads in restricted areas where forklifts/cranes cannot reach
  • Easy to set up with quick release couplings
  • Powered by a regular workshop air supply of 5 to 7 bar
  • Easy to use and cost effective
  • Low floor pressures
  • Modular capability giving ultimate versatility
  • Accurate and repeatable positioning with omni-directional capability
  • Low profile skate modules for ease of location underneath loads
Innovative and cost effective solution

Since its acquisition of Hovair® Systems, Movetech UK has continued in-house design and manufacture of standard and bespoke air film movement solutions.

Movetech UK air film transporters are the ultimate solution for moving heavy loads. They are versatile enough to be used as basic materials handling equipment – moving loads from A to B or in production flow lines where build stages are required. Hovair® transporters provide innovative and cost effective solutions for manufacturing environments.

Applications include:

  • The safe handling of nuclear material
  • The production of large aero-engines and wings
  • Moving electrical transformers
  • Refurbishing railway locomotives
  • Transporting steel or paper coils

Hovair® transporters allow loads to be moved in any direction, at any angle and can rotate on the spot like a turntable. They are ideal for hazardous environments as they are air powered and do not require an electrical supply. The air bearings are also an ideal alternative to wheels in clean environments, such as those required in a laboratory.

Hovair® transporters float heavy loads on a film of air. Options range from lightweight aluminium transporters with handlebars, to more sophisticated units using multi-circuit pneumatic systems and low air consumption/high torque drive units.

Typically the transporter is a structural steel low profile platform fitted with Hovair® air bearings and is designed to suit customer requirements.

Typical air film transporter layout

Four or more air bearings are fitted to the underside of the transporter, the number, size and arrangement being dependent on the load. Using compressed air, the abrasion resistant urethane diaphragm inflates to lift the transporter clear of the floor; air escapes from the perimeter of the air bearing, creating a thin film of air to virtually eliminate friction.

Supplied with compressed air from a standard factory air main (6bar/90psi) the transporter can be moved in any direction with very little effort. Typically 50 kg of horizontal force can move a 10,000 kg load.

In order to operate successfully, the transporter must have a paper-smooth floor to work on, free of steps and cracks. Typically, a smooth power-trowelled concrete floor or an epoxy resin screed is an ideal surface, allowing the transporter to move freely in any direction with minimum effort. Further information on floor specification is available on the Movetech UK data sheet ‘Air Film Technology’.

Features and options:

  • Bespoke design to customer requirements
  • Omni-directional movement including rotary
  • Air-powered integral or external drives
  • Guide wheels
  • Pneumatic stillage pick-up systems
  • Remote or hard-mounted controls

Typical loads range between 1 and 100 tonnes, however any size and weight of load can be accommodated. Maintenance is minimal and Hovair® air bearings have a normal working life of many years.

Simple and economic

Since its acquisition of Hovair Systems, Movetech UK has continued in-house design and manufacture of standard and bespoke air film movement solutions. Movetech UK offers a range of steerable air powered tuggers to move air film supported platforms or wheeled trailers with ease and in complete safety.

Designed for one-man operation, they offer a simple and economic method of motorising any number of air pallets or wheeled bogies.

Hovair air powered tuggers are currently used in a wide variety of industries including:

  • Aerospace – for moving components such as wings, fuselages, helicopter blades and aero-engines
  • Nuclear – for moving flasks, shielding and waste containers
  • Factories – for production line transportation, tooling relocation and product movement
  • Glass – for loading autoclaves, moving sheets and packs
  • Rail – for the refurbishment and production of coaches, light rail and trams
  • Offshore – in oil rig applications, cable drums and containers

Hovair tuggers operate from a normal workshop air supply with a minimum of 5.5 Bar (80 psi) pressure and are capable of moving, in standard form, up to 120 tonnes on air and 25 tonnes on wheels or rails.

Available in a range of models to suit different applications and power requirements, Hovair tuggers are portable and easy to move between workstations using the rear trundle wheels, allowing them to be moved independently of the air supply. When used with air film equipment, all controls can be grouped at the tugger handlebar.

Intrinsically safe characteristics

Pneumatically propelled and manually controlled, Hovair tuggers are ideal for use in areas that are unsuitable for electric or diesel powered units, such as hazardous or pollution control areas and offer:

  • Ease of use
  • Easy alignment
  • Intrinsically safe characteristics
  • Labour saving properties
  • High manoeuvrability with 180° of steering
  • Low maintenance costs – very few moving parts

Hovair steerable air powered tuggers feature:

  • Twist grip handlebar control for forward and reverse motion with variable speed
  • Robust attachment mechanism with swing down lock arms for positive docking
  • ‘Auto dock’ option where access is limited
  • Built-in water filter and oil reservoir to protect and lubricate air motor
  • Polyurethane drive wheel, with or without tread to suit application
Innovative and cost effective solution

Since its acquisition of Hovair Systems, Movetech UK has continued in-house design and manufacture of standard and bespoke air film movement solutions.

Fitting Hovair lightweight air bearings (LA Bearings) under your machine, heavy laboratory equipment, office machinery or even theatre seating, quickly facilitates access, maintenance, re-positioning or any other requirement.

Hovair tuggers operate from a normal workshop air supply with a minimum of 5.5 Bar (80 psi) pressure and are capable of moving, in standard form, up to 120 tonnes on air and 25 tonnes on wheels or rails. Available in a range of models to suit different applications and power requirements, Hovair tuggers are portable and easy to move between workstations using the rear trundle wheels, allowing them to be moved independently of the air supply. When used with air film equipment, all controls can be grouped at the tugger handlebar.

A thin film of air under the bearings ensures virtually frictionless and omni-directional movement, minimal effort by the operator and no damage to your floors. The LA series of air bearings is durable and efficient, featuring: rolled edge galvanized steel construction, built-in damping chamber and a tough urethane diaphragm. All products within this range are designed for permanent installation.

Best performance is obtained on a smooth sealed surface such as epoxy, floated concrete, vinyl, linoleum, etc. Air supply is from standard workshop compressed air, 5-6 bar (70-90 PSI), although air bottles and/or receivers can be used for short term operation where this is not available.

Hovair LA bearings are usually used in sets of four or six and can be bought as complete sets, including individual flow control valves, manifold kit and mains on/off valve.

A set of four LA14 bearings, for example, is rated at 2,400kg, and typically requires around 12kg force to move such a load. The manifold is usually supplied in kit form in order for you to cut the hose to the correct lengths for your load.

Optional accessories include remote control boxes with ‘dead-man’ on/off trigger and quick exhaust, LA spacer blocks, allowing the bearing to be mounted underneath a flat face without the air inlet being obstructed. There are also quick-release hoses and fittings for when speed of fitting is important.

Features and benefits

Hovair Lightweight Air Bearings offer the following features and benefits:

  • Working load capacities of up to 3.6 tonnes on just six bearings
  • Choice of size and capacity depending on your application
  • Move loads into restricted access areas where forklifts or cranes cannot reach
  • Easy to set up with optional quick release couplings
  • Powered by a regular workshop air supply of 5 to 7 bar
  • Easy to use and cost effective
  • No moving parts means low maintenance
  • Remote control or manually operated
  • Environmentally friendly – no grease, lubricants or exhaust emissions
  • Low floor pressures
  • Ideal for laboratory or clean room environments
  • Modular capability giving ultimate versatility
  • Accurate and repeatable positioning with omni-directional capability
  • Low profile for ease of location underneath loads

Hovair Lightweight Air Bearings offer the following features and benefits:

  • 250kg, 400kg or 600kg capacity bearings
  • Remote Control Units for quick, flexible and safe operation of bearings
  • Quick Release Couplings for quick set-up on non-permanent installations
  • Spacer blocks to allow LA Bearings to be placed fully under a flat surface without obstructing the air inlet