A major Australian primary product manufacturer has more than halved the time taken for a heavy lifting task while making the job safer and easier.
The Burnie Paper Mill of the Paperlinx manufacturing group uses a single-convolute model 113 Firestone Airstroke actuator on B10 breast roll machinery to lift a seven tonne roll assembly instead of using a 1.5 meter long spanner to manually wind up two large (2.1/4 in, 57mm) diameter nuts some 25mm.
The simple pneumatic Airstroke actuator from Air Springs Supply is part of a range of Airstrokes that are, in concept, essentially massively strong fabric and rubber balloons with shapes especially engineered for particular tasks throughout industry.
Airstrokes contain no rods, seals or shafts associated with traditional pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders. This means they are simple and quick to operate with far fewer parts to break or wear out in a wide variety of industrial lifting, pressing, forming and stamping applications.
“Air springs were chosen for this application because of the very wet and occasional caustic (during monthly wash-up) environment,” says Peter Schnackenberg Senior Mechanical Engineer of the Burnie Paper Mill in north-west Tasmania.
“The Airstrokes work well in such environments. The application was such that a large force over a short stroke was required to lift the roll the last 75mm – an ideal application for the air spring.
“We did consider using hydraulics for this application, but it would have involved a lot more kit in the form of a hydraulic unit (pump, tank, filters, relief and directional control valves) together with wiring and stainless steel cylinders and hydraulic lines for the application. The hydraulic unit would always be prone to water ingress and require more electrics.
“It’s the simplicity of the design that appeals, with only a directional control valve needed to operate the actuator, remotely located in a waterproof box. This translated into cost savings over and above what a hydraulic unit would have been” says Schnackenberg.
Airstrokes are ideal for short stroke, high force, single-acting pneumatic actuation. Available in individual capacities from a few kilogrammes to more than 40,000 kg, their unique capabilities make them ideal for friction- free, leak free, flexible force applications.
Airstroke actuators are able to work with either gas (air or other gases) or liquid mediums and possess the unique angular capability of stroking through an arc without a clevis.
Airstrokes also have a side loading capability throughout a range of compact starting heights, from under 30mm up to 140mm for a triple convoluted model 348-3 Airstroke with a stroke of 350mm and capacity of 40,000kg.
Airstroke actuators have long been used in the industrial market as OEM equipment as well as replacement actuators for existing applications that had previously used traditional pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders.
“The Airstroke has greatly reduced the time taken for our job, from 15 minutes to just a few minutes, without any manual effort, and with much improved safety” says Schnackenberg.
PaperlinX is the world's leading international fine paper merchant and distributor, and a unique Australian manufacturer of high performance communication paper and packaging paper.