The design and manufacture of the air casters were first carried out by Ideh Pardazan Vatan Co. in Iran.
An air caster is a pneumatic lifting device used to move heavy loads on flat, non-porous surfaces. Its operation is similar to a hovercraft, as it uses a thin layer of air as a way to float a very small distance off the ground. Compressed air enters an airbag shaped like a torus, and when the bag is filled it creates an airtight seal with the ground, and forces more air into the center of the torus, eventually causing the air to flow over the bag and to raise the load above the ground.
The compressed air is forced under the airbag, pushing it and the load less than a millimeter off the ground.
Because air casters are virtually friction-free, the force required to move them is very low, often around one to five lbs. per 1,000 lbs. of weight. Air casters are also omnidirectional, meaning they move with equal ease in any direction.
Air casters require a smooth, non-porous surface in order to maintain lift and operate properly. Cracks and other surface defects can interrupt the proper flow of air, causing the air cushion to dissipate and thus lose its ability to lift. Usually, standard concrete warehouse or factory floors provide an adequate surface. Large cracks and expansion joints may need to be filled in.