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Air chucks or air shaft, which should you choose?

Air chucks are pneumatically operated devices that are easily slipped inside a core and then inflated to grip the ID of an unwind or rewind roll. Air chucks are standard length and design. They are supplied with thru bore to mount to a thru shaft. Most applications will use 2 air chucks one on each end of a wide roll of material. Advantages of choosing this method to support your roll are:

  1. Air chucks are cost effective and most of the time cost far less than a custom manufactured, full length air shaft.
  2. Air chuck / thru shaft designs can be lighter weight than some full length air shafts.
  3. Since air chucks are standard, repair parts are usually easily stocked, fast and easy to get and repair of the chucks is usually easy to do the field.

Some disadvantages to using air chucks:

  1. Inserting and removing from cores can be more cumbersome than compared to a full length air shaft.
  2. The torque output of 2 chucks can be far less than a full length air shaft. Be careful your web tension is not so great that the chucks slip inside your core.
Air shafts operate similar to air chucks, except they are usually custom manufactured to fit your roll width and machine. Some advantages to using air shafts:
  1. Since air shafts are usually manufactured to accommodate the full width of your roll, use of them takes advantage of full torque transmission to your core ID.
  2. Insertion and removal with cores is easy and efficient.
  3. Air shafts can be supplied with journals designed to fit your machine for turnkey implementation into your process.

Some disadvantages to using air shafts:

  1. Even though light weight designs are available, the weight of air shafts is always a concern, since machine operators must handle them.
  2. Initial high cost when compared to an air chucks system.
  3. Repair may be time consuming and expensive when compared to standard air chucks.

Bottom line air chucks may be an excellent choice for your operation. However, be very careful that two short air chucks will supply enough torque to your core so that the core will not slip on top of the chucks.

**DISCLAIMER - A great deal of time has been invested in the development of our weekly tech tips. To the best of our knowledge, they are accurate. It is up to the user to verify all results.


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