Air Springs supplier steps up to help break supply chain blockages and rocketing costs besetting mining, energy, and heavy transport operations.

Crushers, conveyors, belt sweepers, and vibratory equipment are areas where air springs are used in challenging applications where reliability and resistance to grime are critical. The same highly robust air springs go into the suspensions of big trucks working on the same mining, quarrying, materials handling, ports, and energy sites.

A company that has spent more than 40 years building up its national network to supply air springs used to process and transport goods is now helping the industry avoid the need to expensively import urgently needed components as they wear out and need replacement.

Air Springs Supply P/L supplies global quality brands of air spring actuators, isolators, and air suspension components including Firestone Airride™ airbags used as OEM equipment by major truck manufacturers, as well as original and crossover replacement actuators and isolators for conveying and processing equipment.

The company – which is Australia’s leading supplier of air springs for heavy transport and industrial use – has worked hand-in-hand with the industry over the past two years to help ensure supply in difficult times so Australian companies can maintain production in the face of surging container prices that have risen more than 500% in some cases.

These rises and other costs have hit the mining, quarrying, transport, ports and bulk handling industry and their contractors hard – “For the first time, the cost of shipping a container on the world’s busiest shipping routes, such as those from China to Europe, surpassed nearly $A14,000 over the last year, a rise of more than 500% on the year before,“ says Air Springs Supply Technical Product Manager James Maslin.

“High demand for physical goods – thanks to government stimulus, easing of coronavirus travel restrictions, consumer demand from people staying at home and a global shortage of cargo containers – has increased congestion and delays at the world’s ports and pushed up shipping costs to our customers.

“This is the last thing our industry customers needed because they have had it all in the last 12 months – COVID disruptions, labour shortages, road, rail, and port bottlenecks, floods, climate disruption, and international instability pushing up energy and transport costs,” says Maslin.

Firestone air spring types, including the rolling sleeve and convoluted models, left, and Air Springs Supply’s latest and expanded national headquarters in Sydney in which it invested to help ensure continuity of supply of OEM and replacement air springs. The company has nationwide service, supply, and technical backup network established for more than 40 years.

In response, Air Springs Supply has kept its supply lines open and operating as close to normal as possible, even during the severest covid lockdowns and in the face of ensuring the best-available levels of its own stock from the US and Europe. Despite the ongoing issues, the company has benefitted from strong investment in reinforcing its coast-to-coast supply chains in recent years, including a national headquarters twice as big as previously in which it has built up inventories and supply chain resilience.

OEM and crossover types

This in turn has benefited the company’s air springs supply network – the country’s biggest – in supplying the scores of types of actuators, isolators, and airbags used throughout the industry for applications ranging from conveyors, crushers, vibratory equipment, and processing plant, through to the Arride™ suspension isolators of a type that are used to keep the country’s biggest trucks rolling safety down the highway.

“Not only does Firestone technology naturally replace Firestone brand products in a wide range of OEM truck suspension and process machinery actuation and isolation equipment applications, but also premium quality Firestone parts often easily cross over with Goodyear, Conti, Rexroth, Norgren, and similar components incorporated globally by other OEM manufacturers,” says Maslin.

Firestone air springs also replace damaged or worn-out traditional actuators for motion and fluid control applications that previously used pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders involving internal moving parts that can break or wear, particularly in grimy or wet environments. Air springs have no such internal moving parts.

This product interchangeability helps companies adapt to changing circumstances without breaks in production – “We all need to be self-reliant in the industry because we know a lot of the current problems aren’t going to go away tomorrow: virus outbreaks are something we have to learn to live with, climate change is an ongoing challenge and international political disruption is something we are all too aware of.”

Maslin says simplicity is one of the many reasons why cost-efficient Firestone air springs, in individual load capacities from 40-40,000 kg, offer top reliability for fixed and mobile plant including:

  • Conveyors
  • Crushers
  • Processing plant
  • Belt scrapers
  • Lift tables
  • Vibrating packers and screens
  • Shaker tables
  • Isolating technology
  • Heavy vehicle and work vehicle suspensions

Maslin says that if the heavy industry wants to improve uptime performance – while also solving noise pollution issues in busy grimy plants – Air Springs Supply offers easily-installed alternatives to brittle, breakable and noisy metal springs.