Air-Bearing Turntable Endures 28-year Torture Test
A heavy-duty turntable equipped with Airfloat air bearings is still going strong after 28 grueling years of operation. Located in Roanoke, W.V., the turntable was built in 1987 by Ingersoll-Rand with design input from Airfloat. The turntable is used to rotate 18-ton, 5’ x 5’ x 5’ stone blocks to facilitate the drilling of holes into the blocks.
The turntable top “floats” by means of six 30-in.-diameter air bearings, located beneath the operating surface. When the air is turned on, a block may be rotated by hand or with a small hydraulic motor.
The turntable sits atop a hollow sled. The sled, in turn, rests on a pair of rails which prevent the sled, turntable or block from moving as the holes are drilled.
Install It and Forget It!
This is how operators describe air-bearing turntables like those built by Airfloat partner company Axial Industrial Turntables. They are designed and constructed for simple, dependable operation. Having few moving parts, the units are virtually maintenance-free. Once installed, you won’t have to worry – they will perform day after day, year after year, and, in some cases, decade after decade.
Air-bearing turntables are used in a wide variety of manufacturing operations including product assembly, assembly carousels, rotating tooling and fixturing in and out of assembly lines for quick line changes, in welding stations, for bank storage of parts, and in paint booths.
How It Works
When the air supply is turned on, the turntable’s internal air bearings inflate, causing the top section to separate from the base and “float” on a film of continuous-flowing air. Because operation is nearly frictionless, 10,000 lbs. of load weight can be rotated with about 10 lbs. of force. When the air is turned off, the air bearings deflate, and the upper half of the turntable settles on its rest bars to provide an inherently stable platform.