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AirMount Isolators: Better Than Springs For Many Common Industrial Functions

Firestone’s AirMount isolators are a very unique form of gas spring, essentially strong rubberized outer walls capped on either end by metal caps. By filling the inner area with a mass of compressed air and shaping the outer wall correctly, the result is a compact device capable of up to nine inches of static deflection with spring rates lower than a coil spring and an installed height that would be impossibly small with any solid isolator.

The AirMount is also incredibly versatile compared to a coiled spring; by adjusting the pressure of the air within the isolator — which can be done on the fly — the device can easily adapt to loads from dozens to thousands of pounds without needing to be switched out or manually adjusted. No solid spring could hope to achieve the same kind of flexibility.

Furthermore, the ability to adjust the volume of air inside the AirMount on the fly gives you the ability to maintain a level surface: as the load shifts, the air springs can be adjusted to maintain a constant height and thus a level surface for the load. This variability also means the AirMount can be used across a wide variety of loads with constant efficiency — very much the opposite of a coil spring, which loses isolation efficiency if the supported load decreases even by a small amount.

Also, the AirMount is a remarkably compliant with vibratory motion. That means that you don’t need to add inertia mass to your loads. That means no expensive structural aluminum framing to cope with the added mass. The AirMount has a low natural frequency and a large travel range to boot, further reducing the need for inertia mass.

In fact, the already low natural frequency of the AirMount can be reduced even further with the addition of an auxiliary reservoir — below 1 Hz. To accomplish the same frequency with a coil spring, you’d have to have a real static deflection of nine inches; a spring offering that much deflection would have to be so long as to be nearly impossible to stabilize.

An AirStroke Actuator May Be Better Than Springs or Hydraulics For Your Needs

AirStroke actuators made by Firestone perform the same kinds of actuation tasks as the more commonly seen hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, but for short-stroke, high-force tasks, have several advantages over their peers. AirStroke actuators are friction-free, leak-free, single-acting pneumatic actuators that have been used in a huge variety of industrial environments in the place of hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders.

You’re probably familiar with the traditional design of one of those cylinders: a tube of steel with a piston of steel inside, filled with either gas or hydraulic fluid. As more gas or fluid is added, the piston is pushed outward by the increase in pressure. Because the piston must be sealed tightly enough that the gas or fluid cannot escape, they require both constant lubrication and an environment free of particulate that might degrade the seal.

Firestone’s AirStroke actuators don’t have moving parts or seals, so they neatly sidestep both of those problems. They need no maintenance or upkeep, because they consist of naught but a strong, flexible outer wall that forms a tube capped on both ends by metal. When it’s empty, the outer wall collapses perfectly downward so that the metal caps are almost resting on top of one another. The metal endcaps have ports that allow air or fluid in and out; as the medium of choice rushes in, the endcaps are forced apart and the walls expand upwards, doing the job of a pneumatic actuator but with dramatically increased flexibility — they can operate with the top cap up 30 degrees off of vertical without a noticeable loss of power or efficiency.

With diameters between 2.2 inches and 37 inches, stroke lengths of up to 14 inches, and workloads of up to one hundred thousand pounds, AirStroke actuators can do almost any short-stroke, single-action job you’ve got. At less than 60% of the up-front cost of a similarly-purposed pneumatic or hydraulic cylinder and zero maintenance and upkeep, from an economic standpoint, the AirStroke is practically a no-brainer.

If you’re not certain whether or not an AirStroke actuator is the right tool for your job, contact Peerless Engineering today. We’ll be happy to offer you a free consultation on the powers and properties of these amazing industrial implements.