OEMs are using shock absorbers to increase machine life and productivity, reduce maintenance and ensure safer operations. Specifying the right shock absorber for a production line is therefore vital. Paul Mulvey, UK sales manager for norelem, comments
Although most commonly used in automotive vehicles, shock absorbers are increasingly being seen on production lines across the world. These industrial shock absorbers are used as hydraulic machine components for slowing down moving loads with minimal machine load.
Companies are striving to increase productivity by operating machinery at higher speeds. The result of this, however, is increased noise, damage to machinery and excessive vibration.
EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, has already called on the government to improve productivity, but raising productivity shouldn’t hinder the very machinery needed to achieve this.
This is where shock absorbers come in – they are designed to improve product handling applications through smooth deceleration and reduced maintenance. They work by providing controlled, predictable, deceleration through converting kinetic energy to thermal energy. The motion applied to the piston of a hydraulic shock absorber, for example, pressurises the fluid and forces it to flow through restricting orifices, thus causing the fluid to heat rapidly.
This thermal energy is transferred to the cylinder body and dissipated to the surrounding atmosphere. For extra assistance, some production lines choose to air cool the absorber.
The benefits to manufacturers
Industrial shock absorbers have many advantages, with the clearest being the ability to significantly reduce shock and vibration to machinery. Machinery damage is lessened, downtime is decreased, and maintenance costs come down – thus increasing machine life.
As these absorbers control or gently stop moving objects, machines can be operated at higher speeds. Production rates can therefore be increased without the worry of having to replace machines sooner than normal.
The shock absorbers protect machinery and equipment operators through controlled deceleration – helping them to ensure safety standards are met.
They can also improve the wellbeing of machine workers. With a recent study by the Health & Safety Executive stating that around 17,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, tinnitus or other ear conditions as a result of exposure to excessive noise in the workplace, noise control is a necessity for manufacturers. So, for people working around machinery, shock absorbers are welcome additions for their health and welfare. In fact thanks to shock absorbers, harmful side effects of working around industrial machinery – such as noise, vibration and damaging impacts – are moderated.
Overall, the machines become more valuable because of their longer life, lower maintenance costs and safer operation – giving businesses a competitive advantage and improving productivity.
Specifying the right shock absorber
Choosing the right shock absorber for a production line is vital. At norelem, we have 60 years’ experience as a standard components manufacturer, so we understand that choosing the perfect part can be a difficult choice. Our range covers over 38,000 parts, so sometimes the choice can be very overwhelming – but at norelem we can provide advice and help with the selection process.
Our industrial shock absorbers are maintenance-free, ready to install, hydraulic components. These adjustable products have an integrated fixed stop and the damping strength can be precisely set, allowing machinery operators to be completely adaptable and flexible to the job at hand. Manufactured from stainless steel, these have a steel and plastic collision head.
What is particularly useful about norelem’s shock absorbers is that, after installation, the equipment can be run a few times and the adjustment screw rotates until the optimal braking is achieved.
Shock absorbers are incredibly useful components to have on a production line and their advantages to productivity and machine life is clear. Understanding their benefits will ensure a greater grasp on just exactly how to plan for the future.