Conveyor tray apparatus with air bearing and air curtain and methods of use are disclosed herein for use in manufacturing technical ceramics. The apparatus includes a tray body comprising a cradle having an outer surface disposed between opposing first and second sides, the cradle configured to receive a cylindrical object and having a plurality of air bearing holes. The tray body includes first and second support portions disposed at the respective first and second sides of the cradle. First and second air curtain housings are disposed on the respective first and second support portions. The air curtain housings each define an air plenum and an air exit opening that faces generally toward the outer surface of the cradle.