Heavy-duty gas springs are often used to replace or supplement human power when lifting or lowering heavy loads such as lids, hoods, and flaps in construction and industrial applications. In medical settings, gas springs can be found on a variety of equipment, from operating tables and hospital beds to mobility systems for people with disabilities. In all these cases, precisely controlled motion is vital for the safety and comfort of both patients and caregivers.

Customization to Meet Client’s Needs

Fig. 1 – Rifton's successful Hygiene and Toileting System now features unique Tilt-In-Space functions thanks to the use of customized locking gas springs.

Recently, Rifton Equipment, New York, NY, which specializes in adaptive devices for children and adults with disabilities, wanted to design its latest generation of personal hygiene chairs to allow tilting forward and back for tasks such as hair washing, bathing, and using the toilet. Gas springs were required, but they needed to easily lock and release at the push of a button and also stand up to environmental challenges such as moisture, spraying water, and harsh cleaning agents.

Application engineers from ACE Controls, Farmington Hills, MI, worked with Rifton’s product designers to develop a customized gas spring to meet the company’s specifications and budget constraints.

Standard industrial gas springs were modified to include a locking function, which stops the chair from moving and locks it securely into place at a 15° angle in either direction. To withstand the moist and wet bathroom environments the chair is designed for, engineers used stainless steel bodies to prevent corrosion and safeguard springs from cleaning agents such as bleach. The mobility system is now available in three sizes, with each chair featuring two customized gas springs to securely lock the system into the desired position. (See Figure 1)

Fig. 2 – Stainless steel gas springs can prevent corrosion in damp environments.

Springs are filled with pressurized nitrogen. At the push of a button, the piston valve opens and gas streams in. The piston rod can then be extended or pushed in. When the button is released, the gas spring valve automatically closes and the rod stays locked into position. There are several styles of locking gas springs available to meet the requirements of different applications. Choices in clude elastic or rigid locking designs, in addition to completely rigid, free-moving lock ing and double locking versions. Material choices include traditional steel as well as 304 and 316 stainless steels. (See Figure 2)

Due to the locking gas springs, the newly flexible hygiene system has become a welcome addition to the mobility equipment available to people with disabilities and their caregivers. Engineers were able to help tailor the locking gas springs to the exact specifications required by the medical equipment company.

This article was written by Ron Legawiec, Regional Sales Manager, Ace Controls, Farmington Hills, MI. For more information, Click Here " target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">http://info.hotims.com/55596-167.