The first successful application of airsprings for vibration isolation occurred during the late nineteen thirties. Airsprings were developed by Firestone to fill a need for a more efficient suspension system for highway trucks, trailers, and buses. Airide™ springs, as they were named, provided the means for a suspension that reduced the amount of road shock and vibration transmitted into the vehicle. Billions of miles of actual use have proven the dependability and effectiveness of the air suspension concept using Airide springs by Firestone.
Airmount isolators and Airstroke actuators are a further application and refinement of the Airide spring. They are basically the same product with the use of the product determining which name is applied to it.
Some parts, however, are designed for a particular application, and all parts are not necessarily compatible with all three applications. Airsprings are highly engineered elastomeric bellows with specially designed metal end closures.
The bellows itself is constructed from plies of cord-reinforced rubber with standard construction utilizing two plies of special cord fabric. High strength versions designed to handle greater loads and pressures are also available on many of the styles.
Airmount isolators and Airstroke actuators are capable of handling loads up to 100,000 pounds and can be designed into systems to utilize up to fourteen inches of stroke. The standard airspring will operate in temperatures from –35°F to 135°F and special compounds are available on some parts to extend this range.
A few of the typical applications currently include:
- Surface area presses
- Stamping presses
- Clamping devices
- Assembly equipment
- Irrigation equipment
- Automotive alignment equipment
- Paper and textile machinery
- Sawmill machinery
- Material handling
- Commercial laundry
Due to the unique capabilities of Airstroke and Airmount products, many applications are in use where the product is used for both actuation and isolation, or for a completely different purpose. Just a few of these applications include:
- Protective boots
- Flexible connectors
- Vacuum devices
- Shock absorbers
- Expansion chambers
- Drive couplings