Floor Surface Specifications
MINIMAL FLOOR CONDITIONS FOR YOUR AIR CASTER SYSTEM ARE:
Air caster systems require a smooth non-porous surface such as hand or machined trawled concrete that has been sealed or equal to operate properly.
Most commercial & industrial facilities built in the last 50 years in the United States will have a hand or machined trawled concrete slab. To determine if the trawled concrete surface is sealed look closely for a clear or transparent shine on the floor. If the floor is chalky in nature it is most likely not sealed. For our purposes of floating heavy loads on air casters a sealant prevents the expelled air from being absorbed into the concrete. Air caster systems require a non-porous surface to deflect off of to achieve and maintain flight. Industrial sealants are available at any construction or builders supply house and can easily be applied over a weekend. Be sure to follow the manufactures application instructions.
Another good way to seal your concrete floor is to apply a thick coat of latex enamel paint. Like the concrete sealant, latex enamel paint will seal the floor and fill in all the little undulations found in most trawled concrete surfaces. Be sure to degrease and clean the floor surface prior to applying the paint.
EXPANSION JOINTS require some special attention but can easily be brought up to proper air caster standards.
For a temporary fix or to begin using your air caster system immediately over concrete floor expansion joints consider using a good quality carton sealing tape and apply it over and along the gap to create a bridge for your air casters to float over. Be sure to degrease and clean the area before you apply the tape, this will allow the temporary fix to last an unusually long time. If your expansion joint gap is more then ½” lay down a piece of 24 gauge metal flashing 3″-4″ wide by however long over the gap, tape the leading edge of the metal flashing to allow the air casters climb onto it thus allowing your air caster systems to cross over the gap.
For a permanent solution to your expansion joints we offer a self leveling, non-porous, filler (DC-Flex) that is able to expand and contract with the change in temperatures throughout the year.
OVERVIEW OF COMPLIANT FLUID FILM FLOOR SURFACES
All load-moving systems depend upon operating surfaces for their performance: cranes and trines use rails, cars and trucks use roadways. The condition and quality of the rail and roadway surfaces is important. So also is the condition and quality on which fluid film (air or water) operate successfully. The remarkable load lifting, free floating and easy moving qualities of fluid film relate to the undulations, slopes and textures of the surfaces on which they operate. On proper surfaces fluid film systems virtually never wear out since they hover above the floor, not roll or slide on the floor.
It is necessary to understand something of how fluid film systems work to see why certain floor surfaces qualities are important.
Basically fluid casters work as a flexible interface between a load and the floor. Perfectly flat floors are simply not practical even in laboratories, much less in the industrial and commercial environments. So, fluid film casters must extend and retract like springs to carry a load evenly over an uneven surface.