As Australian industry turns to proven local suppliers to maintain production in the face of supply chain disruption, national air spring supplier Air Springs Supply is expanding the range of pneumatic actuator and isolator options available here.
The company – which is national distributor for Firestone Industrial products – stocks the country’s largest range of Airstroke™ actuators and Airmount™ isolators for existing machinery using these simple and rugged devices, including conveyor, stamping, vibrating, production automation and packaging applications.
“These long-life actuators and isolators – based on more than a century of Firestone quality engineering – are also thoroughly suited to incorporation into new machinery, where they are compact, cost-efficient and safe because they cannot break like metal springs and are quiet in operation, reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) hazards,” he says.
The world-class Airstroke and Airmount ranges – distributed across the US, Europe, Asia and Australia – may also cross over with other air spring actuators incorporated globally by OEM manufacturers of equipment used in industries such as food and beverage, agricultural processing, metal forming, materials handling and process and resources engineering.
“Compatibility with a wide range of OEM brands is important now, because many process lines originally imported into Australia complete with actuators and isolators installed, are approaching the stage in their lifestyle when actuators and isolators may need replacing.” says James Maslin, Technical Product Manager for Air Springs Supply Pty Ltd.
“If users of imported and locally manufactured process lines are facing spare parts disruption because of such issues, we have 40 years of experience backed by a national network geared to assisting them source alternatives to minimise disruption.”
Capacity to 40,000kg
Unlike typical pneumatic actuators used in high-speed or automated production lines, Airstroke actuators do not contain rods to break or wear, reducing maintenance and servicing hazards within machinery. Firestone’s equally strong and simple rubber-and-fabric Airmount® isolators cannot rust or break like metal springs used in vibrating screens, conveyors, sorters and materials handling equipment. Both Airstrokes and Airmounts are also easy to wash down and highly resistant to grime, enhancing hygiene and reducing maintenance in process engineering and food and beverage applications.
“Most process and production engineers will agree the simplest solution to a problem is often the best. Fewer moving parts and reduced complexity usually equate to less wear and more reliability,” says James Maslin.
Airstroke sizes are available from about 31 mm diameter (2.2 in) to 940mm (37 in). These offer compact starting heights of 30.48mm and 139.7mm respectively (with the tiny plastic moulded Airomatic polyactuator – a different design – having a starting height of just 16mm.
The smaller sizes provide a wide range of forces required for conveyor and processing operations, while the largest sizes allow force up to 40,000 kg each using only 7 bar (100psi) air pressure.
Yet the capital cost of an air spring is normally less than half that of an hydraulic or pneumatic cylinder with equivalent capabilities. Firestone air springs are identical in construction to the airbags used in the suspension of many of Australia’s biggest trucks, providing durability of millions of cycles.