Continental’s smart air springs talk to operators

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Continental has announced it has developed a smart air spring system that provides real-time status updates.

Set to enhance construction and mining applications, the new system includes integral sensor technology allowing for continuous operational information for operators.

By communicating with the human, the air springs offer valuable assistance in minimizing problems and maximizing productivity.

“The purpose of the integrated-sensor air spring system is to make a globally established system such as the air spring even safer, simpler and more efficient for customers – and thus also all the associated operations and processes, particularly in the fields of control and monitoring,” said Carsten Klages, sales manager for industrial applications at Continental.

With dust, mud and dirt being a common sight on any given construction or mining worksite, machine component performance can be as negatively affected as humans. The thinking behind this new smart system is to provide operators with status information that conventional air springs typically have not been capable of providing.

Up till now, users received almost no operational status information. They had to rely simply on what they could see from the outside or on their subjective perception. Changing that was one of the Continental engineers’ aims when working on the air spring with integral sensor technology.

“This development is a milestone in air spring technology. We’re ushering in the next stage in digitalization. The air spring has been made smart, enabling it therefore to communicate with the user,” said Continental’s manager for air spring systems, Herwig Peters.

The biggest challenge for engineers when incorporating the sensor system was integrating the fine wiring of the electronics without damaging them or altering the air spring’s properties. This was resolved by using a specially developed adapter for a reliable connection between the air spring and the sensors.

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James joined the Industrial Vehicle Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter who keeps him busy.

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