Far-sighted Air Springs supplier steps up to help break supply chain blockages and rocketing costs besetting mining, energy and heavy transport operations

A company that has spent more than 40 years building up its national network to supply air springs used to process and transport goods is now helping industry avoid the need to expensively import urgently needed components as they wear out and need replacement.

Air Springs Supply Pty Ltd supplies global quality brands of air spring actuators, isolators and air suspension components including Firestone Airride™ airbags used as OEM equipment by major truck manufacturers, as well as original and crossover replacement actuators and isolators for conveying and processing equipment.  

The company – which is Australia’s leading supplier of air springs for heavy transport and industrial use – has worked hand-in-hand with industry over the past two years to help ensure supply in difficult times so Australian  companies can maintain production in the face of surging container prices that have risen more than 500 per cent in some cases.

These rises and other costs have hit the mining, quarrying, transport, ports and bulk handling industry and their contractors hard – “For the first time, the cost of shipping a container on the world’s busiest shipping routes, such as those from China to Europe, surpassed $US10,000 (nearly $A14,000) over the last year, a rise of more than 500 per cent on the year before, “ says Air Springs Supply Pty Ltd Technical Product Manager James Maslin.

“High demand for physical goods – thanks to government stimulus, easing of coronavirus travel restrictions, consumer demand from people staying at home and a global shortage of cargo containers – has increased congestion and delays at the world’s ports and pushed up shipping costs to our customers.

“This is the last thing our industry customers needed, because they have had it all in the last 12 months – covid disruptions, labour shortages, road, rail and port bottlenecks, floods, climate disruption and international instability pushing up energy and transport costs,” says Mr Maslin.

In response, Air Springs Supply has kept its supply lines open and operating as closely to normal as possible, even during the severest covid lockdowns and in the face of ensuring the best-available levels of its own stock from the US and Europe. Despite the ongoing issues, the company has benefitted from strong investment in reinforcing its coast-to-coast supply chains in recent years, including a national headquarters twice as big as previously in which it has built up inventories and supply chain resilience.

OEM and crossover types

This in turn has benefited the company’s air springs supply network – the country’s biggest – in supplying the scores of types of actuators, isolators and airbags used throughout the industry for applications ranging from conveyors, crushers, vibratory equipment and processing plant, through to the Arride™ suspension isolators of a type that that are used to keep the country’s biggest trucks rolling safety down the highway.

“Not only does Firestone technology naturally replace Firestone brand products in a wide range of OEM truck suspension and process machinery actuation and isolation equipment applications, but also premium quality Firestone parts often easily cross over with Goodyear, Conti, Rexroth, Norgren and similar components incorporated globally by other OEM manufacturers,” says James Maslin.

Firestone air springs also replace damaged or worn out traditional actuators for motion and fluid control applications that previously used pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders involving internal moving parts that can break or wear, particularly in grimy or wet environments. Air springs have no such internal moving parts.

This product interchangeability helps companies adapt to changing circumstances without breaks in production – “We all need to be self-reliant in industry because we know a lot of the current problems aren’t going to go away tomorrow: virus outbreaks are something we have to learn to live with, climate change is an ongoing challenge and international political disruption is something we are all too aware of.” air springs

No Internal moving parts

James Maslin says simplicity is one of the many reasons why cost-efficient Firestone air springs, in individual load capacities from 40-40,000 kg, offer top reliability for fixed and mobile plant including:

  • Conveyors
  • Crushers
  • Processing plant
  • Belt scrapers
  • Lift tables
  • Vibrating packers and screens
  • Shaker tables
  • Isolating technology
  • Heavy vehicle and work vehicle suspensions

Mr Maslin says that if heavy industry wants to improve uptime performance – while also solving noise pollution issues in busy grimy plant – Air Springs Supply offers easily-installed alternatives to brittle, breakable and noisy metal springs.