Cushioning lifting problems

Seamless inflatable lifting cushions can handle awkward lifts where there is very limited space in which to work. The Pronal lifting CLP cushions can delicately raise loads ranging from heavy vehicles, pipelines and plant through to machinery and resource development structures. French elastomer specialist Pronal developed the tough lifting tanks used to extract artifacts from the Titanic nearly 4 km down on the ocean floor.

Pronal's newest cushions range from ultra-thin bags (just 20m mm thick deflated) that can lift weights of more than 65 t each, to powerful spreading cushions that can exert hundreds of tonnes of force to part plant and machinery components for servicing, or to extract quarried material. Complementary low-pressure CPB Maxi-Lift cushions can be used on land and under water, offering greater strokes of up to 700 mm (or 1,400mm where a pair are employed).

Air Springs Supply is the distributor in Australia and National Sales Manager Simon Agar says the Pronal bags combine the advantages of high durability and power with gentle, precisely controlled lifting that can spread the load over broader surfaces of the object being lifted, rather than point loads. They are so delicate and progressive in operation that they have been employed in difficult emergency applications such as aircraft recovery. "Sometimes is it not necessary or desirable to use cranes, slings or cylinders for lifts that present particular technical challenges in terms of lifting surfaces or surfaces to which lifting force is to be applied. Where considerable investments may be contemplated in custom-engineering a conventional lifting platform, it may be well worth considering the simple principle of pneumatic actuation," he said. "This can be particularly so when working in confined spaces, such as mines, where there is little room beneath plant."

Features include:

  • As well as straight lifting, they can be used for pressing, clamping, tilting and guiding
  • In addition to standard sizes, specific sizes and shapes can be made to order to suit particular applications
  • Ease of use, with inflation either by compressor or simple air cylinders
  • Inflation pressures up to 8 bar, regardless of stroke (CLP models – CPB pressures vary from under one bar, depending on model)
  • Construction from threaded layers coated with chemical resistant elastomer, hot vulcanized under pressure in one operation
  • Non-slip surface providing maximum friction when stacking two cushions
  • Control systems tailored to particular uses.

Pronal equipment such as the PAC series of lifting cushions can be supplied with trailers, lifting bases and control systems developed to demanding standards.