Industrial shock absorbers don't have it easy nowadays. Hydraulic and pneumatic actuators continue to pack more power in small packages. "Just because an actuator is small doesn't mean that the need for energy absorption goes away," says Mike Ferkany, engineering manager for Ace Controls. In fact, just the opposite is true. Small powerful actuators have actually created a big need for tiny shock absorbers.
Ace has responded with its smallest industrial shock absorber to date. The MC 5M measures just 5 mm in diameter and 30 mm long without its optional button. Yet it can take a punch. It offers an energy per cycle capability of 0.68 Nm and energy per hour rating of 2,040 Nm/hr. Different models accommodate three different effective weight ranges — 0.5 to 4.4 kg, 3.75 to 10.8 kg and 9.7 to 18.74 kg. The impact velocity range for the MC 5M is 0.58 to 3.53 m/sec.
Though tiny, this mini shock absorber doesn't come up short on features. Its tiny package contains an integral mechanical stop, hardened stainless-steel piston rod and internal accumulator. A Delrin button is available as an option.
The MC 5M targets a variety of assembly, packaging and robotic applications as well as some office and medical equipment. According to Ferkany, these kinds of applications increasingly use small slides, grippers, rotary actuators and other motion components. He's seen a few cases where the company's next smallest model, which measures just 9 mm across and 1.42 inch long, was too big in terms of its length, diameter or both.
And he expects to see more applications for even smaller shock absorbers. Ace Engineers have completed a new design that's about 20 percent smaller than the MC 5M.