Friction and grit are factors often found inaggressive environments such as mines and mineral processing plants. Aggressive atmospheres laden with dust, waste and water can speedily despatch the seals in traditional cylinders that actuate the conveyor equipment involved, including belt scrapers, belt tensioners and brakes, conveyor guides and hinged actuator gates.
In order to avoid the potential clogging up of pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders, Firestone has developed the air spring actuators known as Airstrokes.
These extraordinarily rugged spring actuators, available from Air Springs Supply , are identical in construction and durability to the Firestone airbags used every day in the suspensions of heavy trucks and semis, so their reliability and suitability for the conditions has been proved over decades.
The Airstrokes air spring actuators also feature the ability to rotate through an angle without a clevis. In addition to making air springs easy to install in compact spaces, this ability to bend with load (and to tolerate high side loadings) means the air springs will perform where more rigid alternatives would break or wear.
Other advantages of these spring actuators (including no internal moving parts to break or wear) have been widely proven over a wide range of materials handling uses. These extend from conveyor direction gate actuation, lift sections and bumper stops, through to ram cylinders, die cushions, counterbalances, clamps, lifters, valve operators, flexible connectors, shock absorbers and isolators.
The highly engineered rubber and fabric Airstorkes are flexible-wall, bellows-type air cylinders which are ideally suited to engineering of assemblies for high-repetition tasks, for which they are inflated and deflated rapidly to achieve their purpose. Airstrokes do not use wear-vulnerable components to contain and channel their column of fluid. 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.
Each style is, in essence, a heavy-duty balloon. Air springs are available in a variety of styles, sporting differing components that control the shape and path of axial extension, but their basic design is the same.
Key reasons for using air springs include cost benefits, as they can be used instead of more expensive hydraulic systems when applying large forces.