Functionally, however, air springs perform the same type of actuation tasks. Their primary use is as a short stroke, high force, single acting pneumatic actuator. Its unique capabilities make it ideal for friction free, leak free, flexible force applications. 80% of Firestone air springs used in industrial applications are used as actuators, or cylinders.
Most engineers are familiar with the design of a traditional hydraulic cylinder or pneumatic cylinder. Traditionally, a cylinder contains a piston sliding within a housing of circular cross section, connected to the work by a rod passing through one end of the device.
This common design calls for guides and seals which function to align and seal the sliding surfaces. These allow a pressurized, contained column of fluid to apply a force to the piston.
A Firestone Airstroke actuator uses none of these components to contain and channel its column of fluid. The difference is the key to the air springs unique functionality, and the reason for its anonymity.
Firestone Airstroke actuators have long been used in the industrial market as pneumatic actuators incorporated into new and innovative machinery designs as well as replacement actuators for existing applications that had previously used traditional pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders.
These replacement markets are created by the advantages of a flexible walled pneumatic actuator that is durable, operates well in corrosive and abrasive industrial environments, easily accepts misalignment, and has a high ratio of stroke to collapsed height. Each of these features give Firestone Airstroke® actuators the advantage over traditional hydraulic cylinders or pneumatic cylinders.