Isolators from Air Springs Supply are now being used in industrial applications after having proven their effectiveness in a defence situation.
Firestone Airmounts from Air Springs Supply were used in Australia under a giant military sonar testing tank to keep out noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The Airmount isolators were used to suspend the towering sonar test tank containing nearly 500 tonnes of water for more than 15 years at Plessey in Sydney before passing into honourable retirement, having continuously achieved an isolation efficiency of 99.7 per cent at 1500 CPM (cycles per minute).
Airmount industrial isolators can be used in applications as diverse as suspending tanks, pressure vessels and liquid containers in which delicate processes are undertaken, through to suspension of process control technology including mixing tanks, and computer and production automation equipment, either permanently inflated or adjusted by standard factory 7 bar (100 psi) compressed air.
Firestone Airmounts can also be used to isolate the source of the NVH, suspending compressors, vibrating screens, bin hoppers, packers, blowers and stamping equipment that pass disruptive impacts into the surrounding area.
Engineered from tough fabric-reinforced rubber, Airmounts are identical in construction to the Air-ride air springs used in the suspensions of heavy trucks seen every day on Australian roads as well as the ubiquitous Airstrike actuators used in applications such as industrial metal stamping presses and conveyors.
Air Springs Supply National Sales and Marketing Manager Mr James Maslin picks out simplicity, durability and sustained high performance as the great virtues of Airmounts, explaining that not one of the Plessey air bags ever needed to be replaced as there was no wear, unexpected leakage or maintenance required beyond the need to keep the air levels at the correct level.
Containing no internal moving parts to break or wear, Airmount isolators range from the tiny palm-sized 1M1A model, which features a 35mm stroke, minimum (collapsed) height of fewer than 50mm and isolation efficiency of 97.8 per cent at 1500 cycles a minute, to huge triple- convoluted Model 348-3 isolators, measuring a metre in diameter, supporting nearly 40,000kg and achieving isolation efficiencies of 99.3 per cent.
The enormously strong Airmounts have been used to permanently suspend an entire swimming pool in a luxury Sydney hotel so the paying guests downstairs would not be startled by the sounds of people jumping into the pool. They have also been used to suspend four 16-tonne 2000kV diesel emergency generators only metres above the heads of top-level executives working in the highest floors of the 65-level Governor Phillip Tower. Big generators can produce up to 140dB in a confined space when they are being tested, so the Airmounts had to reduce this to a level of just 35-40dB in the floor immediately below.
According to Mr Maslin, nuisance sources of NVH can all be simply and permanently isolated to protect their surroundings, or delicate equipment can be isolated to protect it from the nuisances.