Float Heavy Loads on Air

Features of SOLVING Air Bearing Modules
  • Highest capacity-to-size/weight ratio in the industry! (See our capacities in the Air Bearing Module specifications sheet here.)
  • High-friction rubber, diamond-mat top surface for more secure footing beneath your heavy load.
  • Lightweight extruded aluminum construction for easy handling, storage, and positioning.
  • Ultra-low-profilecast aluminum Top Plates available in 8-inch and 12-inch sizes.
  • Assembled with just 4 nut/bolt/washers for reliable hold and simple, quick air bearing removal and replacement.
  • Unpainted natural aluminum finish maintains its appearance and is safe for use in applications where painted surfaces are not allowed.
  • Solving's unique dual air outlet design simultaneously inflates torus and plenum for maximum capacity range and effective performance on less-than-perfect floors.
  • Highest lifting heights in the industry without auxiliary lifting systems or additional hardware.
  • Double thickness (3mm) aluminum back-plates standard on 21-inch and larger models for better durability and reduced "sag".

A complete Air Bearing Module consists of the Air Bearing bolted to a structural aluminum Top Plate

SOLVING's Air Bearing Modules offer the highest capacity-to-size/weight ratio in the industry!

Stocked, Sold, Serviced and Shipped all from the same location in Brook Park, Ohio!

📄View and download the Air Bearing Module Technical Data Sheet

What is an Air Bearing?

The SOLVING Air Bearing is made of a circular rubber, inflatable torus bag (1) vulcanized to a thin (1.5mm or 3mm) aluminum back-plate (2). Depending on its specific application, an Air Bearing may or may not have optional center and corner landing pads (3,4) installed.

When the Air Bearing is bolted to a rigid, structural aluminum Top Plate (5), this complete assembly is called an Air Bearing Module (or Load Module). [See diagram below]

How does an Air Bearing Module work?

When deflated, the Air Bearing's landing pads (3,4) rest on the floor, supporting the full weight of the load. The Air Bearing Module is inflated (energized) when a source of regulated, compressed air is supplied through the hose adapter port (6) located on the edge of the Top Plate (5). The compressed air flows through channels within the Top Plate (5) and into the Air Bearing via the air outlet holes (7) located on the bottom surface of the Top Plate.  In SOLVING's design, the compressed air enters simultaneously into the torus bag (1) and the 'plenum chamber' . (The plenum chamber is the hollow area created in the center of the torus bag, as it inflates. If one pictures the inflated torus bag as a large doughnut shape, then the plenum chamber is the 'doughnut hole'.)  As the torus bag (1) inflates, the entire Air Bearing Module lifts, raising the landing pads (3,4) and load off the floor.  When the torus bag is fully inflated, and air pressure in the Air Bearing matches or exceeds the counter-pressure of the load, the continuous feed of compressed air escapes out from between the bottom of the inflated torus bag (1) and the floor surface, in all directions, creating a flowing film of compressed air on which the Air Bearing Module and its load float practically friction free.

An Air Bearing Module consists of the Air Bearing bolted to a structural aluminum Top Plate.

Operation of the Air Bearing Module summarized:

  1. The circular, rubber torus bag inflates and fills the gap between the mounting plate and the floor
  2. As air pressure increases, the mounting plate with landing pads lifts off the floor
  3. When air pressure in the air bearing is higher than the counter pressure of the load, the air flows out from the torus bag to form a thin air film on which the air bearing module and load floats, practically friction-free

Did you know? Air bearings may also be called air casters, air skates or air cushions.  These are all terms comonly used in the industry.

SMOOTH, SEALED, LEVEL floor surfaces are required. Contact American Solving for  floor requirements or a specifications brochure.

Advantages of Moving Heavy Loads on Air Bearings


Less Floor Damage
Compared to wheeled transports, an air bearing system spreads the load weight over a much larger floor surface area.  This minimizes, if not eliminates, point loading and floor damage.

Reduced Friction
Air bearings provide an extremely low coefficient of friction. In theory, there is no direct contact between the air bearing element and the floor beneath.  When the system is energized, the load glides solely on a film of air.  In many applications, loads weighing several tons can be moved easily by hand.

Unlimited Direction and Positioning
Riding on air, even the largest loads can be transported, turned, or rotated in any direction and then positioned precisely.  This is a great advantage when moves involve hallways, doorways, and tight spaces.

Reduced Vibrations
The inflated rubber torus bag of the air bearing provides a cushioning effect, dampening vibrations as seen by the load.  This is important when moving loads such as glass or sensitive machinery.

Especially as load weights increase, the cost benefits of an air bearing system are apparent.  Compare the cost of air bearings to that of forklifts, overhead cranes, or track systems.

Enhanced Safety
There is less risk of accidents when transporting on air bearings.  This is because the load weight is hovering only a fraction of a millimeter above the floor.  There are no chains, axels, wheels, or other rotating, wear-bearing parts.  The power being air, there are no exhaust emissions, combustible gases or oils, or electrical contacts.

Low Profile
Some air bearing systems require as little as 1-1/2 inches floor clearance for placement beneath a load.

Low Noise
When operating on a proper floor surface, air bearings are practically silent.

Low maintenance
The simplest air bearing systems can operate effectively for years with almost no required maintenance.

See all of Solving's products.