Kennards Hire Lift & Shift supplied two sets of air skates to factory relocation company KMB Group (Australia) to help them relocate a 15-tonne thermoforming food packaging machine without damaging a newly coated epoxy floor.

Air skates help move heavy loads across smooth surfaces on a cushion of air. The regulators allow heavy objects to be lifted in a very controlled manner, a precision that cannot be achieved when jacking with mechanical skates.

According to KMB Group Managing Director Darren Brown, the 15-tonne machine would have normally been moved in parts with the unit separated into several sections. However, this would have required electrical disconnection, moving the machine by forklift or mechanical skates, and reassembly, resulting in machine downtime of up to six days.

Kennards Hire Lift & Shift’s air skates eliminated the whole hassle of equipment downtime, enabling the client to resume production at full capacity within 24 hours. The easy move also helped the customer significantly reduce labour costs as well as avoid loss of production.

Following the successful application of air skates from Kennards Hire Lift & Shift, Darren plans to use them in future projects, especially when moving large machinery in areas where there is insufficient head room for a crane.

Having used air skates for the first time, Darren comments that the biggest advantage is the ease of multi-directional movement. On smooth floors, the machine can be moved singlehandedly while rough surfaces need a few people to place it precisely into position.