Firestone air spring actuators Airstrokes from Air Springs Supply are highly engineered rubber and fabric air bags with flexible-wall, bellows-type air cylinders which are ideally suited to engineering of assemblies for high-repetition tasks. These air spring actuators are inflated and deflated rapidly to achieve their purpose.
Australian and international uses of the air spring actuators include:
- Conveyor line actuation (mining and manufacturing)
- Conveyor stops and gravity gates
- Pallet handling equipment
- Web tensioning
- Skate wheel right angle gravity transfer section on a conveyor
- High speed metal stamping
- Vibrating screens and compressor equipment in the mining and food industries
- Belt takeup and roller friction brake on conveyor equipment
Benefits of using air spring actuators include:
- Cost benefits- Air spring actuators can be used instead of more expensive hydraulic systems when applying large forces. Sizes are available from fewer than 80mm to more than nearly 1000mm (3in to 38in) in diameter. The larger sizes allow force up to 40,000 kg each using only 7 bar (100psi) air pressure. The capital cost of an air spring is normally less than half that of a pneumatic cylinder with equivalent capabilities
- Constant force- The lack of seals on the air spring actuators also means lack of friction. In many cases, a constant force needs to be applied to a moving object. With traditional cylinders, the sliding seals can stick, providing a jerky motion that can damage equipment.
- Side load flexibility- Because air spring actuators have a flexible, compliant bellows wall, instead of seals or guides, the bellows follows the path of least resistance. This means users don't have to worry about side loads caused by misalignment.
- Suitability for aggressive environments, including heavy industry and mining. Since there are no seals sliding against exposed surfaces, an air spring can often survive abrasive and corrosive environments that require special consideration when a conventional cylinder is used.
- Ease of attachment- Since the bellows bends, bead plates don't have to remain parallel, this significantly simplifies attachment, especially when linkage is at an angle. As long as the bellows' side walls aren't over-extended or over-compressed, users can stroke through an angle without clevises.
- Curtailed air and production losses- Air spring actuators contain no moving parts to break, wear, leak compressed air or to cause costly disruptions of production.
- Durability- Air Spring actuators outlast cylinders in most high-speed applications. They don't require lubrication and thus have a lower system cost.
- Compact installation- The way a flexible-wall air spring actuator operates is as follows: it is compressed to its minimum height then extends when pressure is applied. In most cases, the minimum height is considerably less than the available stroke. As a result, air springs can be put in a very compact space and extended to more than twice their starting height. This is a benefit in floor mounted lifting devices and conveyors, for example.