ToThink Engineering is the sole supplier of rubber donut springs from Irish manufacturer AB Pneumatics. Director Darren Toth explores the benefits of using these springs for isolating vibrating equipment.
Rubber springs are an essential component in any plant that deals with vibrating machines, such as crushing and screening plants. In recent years, improvements in material design have led to the development of springs that incorporate both rubber and reinforced fabrics, allowing these springs to carry greater loads while isolating the vibration.
AB Pneumatics, with over 30 years’ experience in developing shock absorber sleeves and seat air springs for the automotive industry, has been developing its product, known as the Donut Rubber Spring, since 2009.
The Donut Rubber Spring has undergone a lengthy research and development process in Northern Ireland – a region with one of the largest concentration of crushing and screening manufacturers in the world.
In Australia, Melbourne-based business ToThink Engineering acts as the sole distributor of AB Pneumatics’ springs. Toth said the services of ToThink Engineering go beyond selling the product, with the company’s technical capabilities also coming into play.
Additionally, ToThink Engineering uses the Donut Rubber Spring in the vibrating screens and feeders that are supplied via ToThink Equipment – an arm of the business that caters directly to the manufacture and distribution of vibrating screens, pan feeders and apron feeders to quarrying and extractive industry operations.
“These vibration-isolation springs have fabric reinforcement to provide suitable load carrying capabilities. Their low natural frequencies provide excellent isolation of forced frequencies and make them highly suitable as a replacement to steel coil springs,” Toth said.
“The main market for this product is currently the materials handling industry, but because of its versatility it can be used as a vibration isolator in many applications.”
Custom made springs
According to Toth, product availability is a key concern when it comes to replacing the springs. As such, ToThink Engineering is in a good position to support its customers with stock available at its new premises in Knoxfield, Melbourne.
“Excluding physical inspections, which are time consuming and require the machinery to be off, there are currently no consistent ways to determine whether a spring needs to be replaced. Having springs readily accessible and able to be ordered in and in the customers’ hands in the shortest time possible is important when they potentially break,” Toth said.
For ToThink Engineering, the close relationship with the manufacturer means they always have a good stock of most commonly-used Donut Rubber Springs. Whatever is not in stock can be ordered within two days and shipped via air freight within a short timeframe.
AB Pneumatics’ springs are available in a variety of sizes, to match the common screen brands used in Australia. The relationship between the two companies also means that ToThink Engineering and AB Pneumatics can provide springs of a custom size, or springs with a higher grade of protection or reinforcement, if clients require them.
The hollow central part of the Donut Spring can be produced in a number of sizes that allows for a secure fit when attached to a mounting pin. The physical dimensions for this depend on the application and the required force it has to support.
The fabric reinforcement is made up of layers of bias material and gives the Donut its unique properties and advantages over steel coil springs. This supports the rubber core and allows the spring to support a higher force. The physical properties of the spring can be altered by the number of layers of fabric and angle that they are plied.
The outer material adds a layer of protection to the Donut’s fabric layers. This gives the rubber spring its outer diameter when unloaded and can be altered depending on the application. This layer can also have a logo or brand image attached.
“We have a technical advantage in that using ToThink Engineering’s expertise with vibrating equipment and with AB Pneumatics as the manufacturer, we can make custom-made springs within a couple of days,” Toth said.
This, as he explained, protects plant owners from having to use disproportionately sized springs for their screens.
“There’s been situations where an equipment supplier in Australia has supplied a screen or a feeder where the springs were not sized correctly. And I’ve been able to work with AB Pneumatics and develop a spring that does work correctly,” Toth said.
With resellers across almost every state in Australia, Toth said ToThink Engineering has made the Donut Rubber Spring available to customers across the country, at a competitive price.
“Apart from constantly working on improving our bespoke solutions, what we pride ourselves on is accessibility. We’ve already built a network to make sure our customers have access to our products during critical times. We strive to further improve the experience for the end-user. Moving to our new premises in Knoxfield is in line with streamlining our business and operations, allowing us to do just that.”
For more information, visit the ToThink website.