Low maintenance Airstroke actuators from Firestone provide a compact and easily installed way to facilitate robust and reliable engineering of clean green renewable energy installations needing to continuously orient solar and wind power arrays towards their source of energy.
The simple pneumatic actuators can be installed in solar arrays and within wind power structures to continuously orient their generating surfaces in the most favourable position to optimise the amount of energy produced from natural sources.
In actuation capacities from just a few dozen kilograms to more than 40 tons a unit, and functioning reliably for millions of cycles, Airstrokes are proven worldwide in demanding covered and outdoor applications ranging from conveyors and vibrating screens though to splitting a giant Australian mining dragline for maintenance.
Their complementary fabric-and-rubber Airmount isolators deliver isolation efficiencies frequently exceeding 99 per cent to protect sensitive plant from damage from ambient noise vibration and harshness (NVH) and to reduce NVH emissions from installed plant.
The rubber and fabric actuators solve the problem of stationary solar collection panels becoming inefficient as the sun shifts from a 90-degree angle to the panels, or where wind generators must be smoothly re-oriented to harvest the maximum energy from changing winds.
Usually inflated or deflated by standard fixed or mobile compressed air (typically the ubiquitous 7 bar (100 psi) compressor equipment used throughout Australia), they can continuously reorient photovoltaic systems to minimise and angle of incidence between the incoming sunlight and a photovoltaic array, or to achieve the most favourable angle for Wind generation.
Airstrokes are particularly beneficial for installations where continuous focusing through single or dual-axis arrangements enhances energy returns.
Such installations – sometimes in remote locations and subject to climatic extremes over 24 hours – need extremely reliable actuators to continuously reposition payloads, including solar panels and reflectors.
Airstroke and Airmount bellows offered by for use by energy engineers and installers have been proven in widespread heavy duty industrial actuation throughout Australia, including providing millions of cycles of service on conveyors and mineral processing screens and vibrators, where they have to withstand dust, heat, moisture and extremes of Outback climate.
They are identical in construction to the airbags proven in truck and train suspension, so they are extraordinarily tough. In addition to having no internal rods of seals to wear – unlike conventional metal cylinders – they have the ability to rotate through an angle without a clevis.
In addition to making air springs easy to install in compact spaces, this ability to bend with load (and to tolerate high side loadings) means the air springs will perform where more rigid alternatives would break or wear.