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Airstrokes Air Spring Actuators Eliminate Friction and Grit in Conveyors

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Simon Agar of Air Springs Supply recommends Airstrokes air spring actuators to prevent material build-up on conveyor belts.  

Friction and grit can damage conveyors, especially in harsh environments such as those found in mines and mineral processing plants.  

Aggressive environments laden with dust, waste and water can speedily despatch the seals in traditional cylinders that actuate conveyor equipment components such as belt scrapers, belt tensioners and brakes, conveyor guides as well as hinged actuator gates.  

This is especially critical in environments where pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders can clog up and wear prematurely.  

Simon Agar, General Manager of Air Springs Supply says that a simple way to avoid this potential problem is to employ cylinders that totally lack such seals. Mr Agar is a pneumatic actuation and isolation specialist with more than 20 years of experience with Firestone air spring actuators known as Airstrokes.  

Airstrokes air spring actuators are flexible wall, bellows-type air cylinders, which are ideally suited for use in assemblies designed for high-repetition tasks, for which they are inflated and deflated rapidly to achieve their purpose.  

Simon Agar says that Airstrokes air springs contain their column of air in a fabric-reinforced rubber envelope or bellows. The ends are sealed by bead plates, which are crimped around the bead of the bellows. These plates contain the attachment hardware for the part, normally a blind tapped hole called a blind nut.  

An air fitting, generally in one bead plate allows fluid (air) to be introduced into the chamber. The fabric in the side wall of the bellows restricts radial expansion, so pressure is built up, causing axial extension.  

Air springs are available in a variety of styles, sporting differing components that control the shape and path of axial extension.  

Airstrokes actuators from Air Springs Supply offer 40-40,000kg of pushing or lifting power. Offering power strokes of up to 350mm, Airstrokes are powered by simple, basic compressor equipment found in nearly every factory.  

Airstrokes is particularly suitable for a key component of conveyor systems called belt scrapers. Their blades or brushes bear against the moving conveyor belt to remove material sticking to it.    

Using an effective, continuous method for cleaning conveyor belts prevents material build-up on the belt, helping to extend the life and productivity of the entire belt system.  

By preventing material build-up, the air springs help keep the belt from drifting off track, prevent erratic loads on the motor, eliminate uneven wear on pulley bearings and damage to return idlers as well as minimise belt stretching.  

While in some instances metal springs, flexible blocks or torsion bars will satisfactorily position the scraper adjacent to the belt surface, other applications increasingly require more sophisticated, flexible and continuously supple arrangements. These can be provided by flexible pneumatic actuators such as Airstroke air spring actuators.  

Since the amount of force the actuators exert against a surface varies in continuous proportion to the amount of air pressure contained within them, they can adjust to different load requirements simply by varying this pressure.  

Additionally, air springs apply force evenly over the surface upon which they are acting, rather than imposing sharp point loads. They will also undulate over irregular loads passing beneath them, flexing with the load profile to prevent jerking, jamming or strain on the production line.  

Key advantages of Airstrokes air springs 

  • Ability to rotate through an angle without a clevis
  • Ability to bend with the load makes them a superior choice over rigid alternatives that would break or wear
  • No internal moving parts to break or wear
  • Wide materials handling applications including conveyor direction gate actuation, lift sections, bumper stops, ram cylinders, die cushions, counterbalances, clamps, lifters, valve operators, flexible connectors, shock absorbers and isolators
  • Cost benefits over expensive hydraulic systems
  • Sizes are available from less than 80mm up to nearly 1000mm in diameter; larger sizes allow force up to 40,000 kg each using only 7 bar air pressure
  • Compact and easy to install

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