New ranges of Pronal seamless inflatable lifting cushions are being introduced to Australia by Air Springs Supply , incorporating the strength of Kevlar textile, the same tough fibre used in body armour, racing tyres and racing sails.

The Pronal CLT cushions, the largest of which is capable of handling up to 65 tons, safely handle tricky lifts where there is limited space in which to work, delicately raising loads ranging from heavy vehicles, pipelines and plant through to beams, bridge components, building components, machinery and resource development structures.

Pneumatic actuation, isolation and suspension specialists Air Springs Supply are national distributors for the stock shape and custom-fabricated lifting cushions engineered by French elastomer specialists Pronal, the organisation that developed the tough lifting tanks used to pluck artifacts from the ocean liner Titanic nearly four kilometres down on the ocean floor.

Pronal’s new cushions, featured on their new Australian website, range from thin bags (just 20mm thick deflated) that can lift weights of up to 65 tonnes 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 700mm (or 1400mm where a pair are employed).

Air Springs Supply National Sales Manager Simon Agar says the Pronal CLT cushions are constructed of Kevlar textile coated by rubber, further increasing their safety co-efficient and resistance to penetration. Weight for weight, Kevlar is five times stronger than steel and suited for repetitive work in harsh environments, including construction, energy, industrial, resources and civil engineering sites, he says.

“The cushions 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 can be used in confined spaces underneath inaccessible loads ranging from engines and plant, through to foundations of bridges, buildings, machinery, pipeline structures and resource development rigs requiring lifting for inspection and repair.

“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 trenches and mines, where there is little room beneath pipelines and plant.”

Features of the product include:

  • Construction from thread layers coated with chemical-resistant elastomer, hot vulcanised, under pressure, in one operation.
  • Strokes from 85-500mm, with longer strokes provided by combinations of cushions
  • 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. Removable inflation connector
  • Inflation pressures up to eight bar, regardless of stroke (CLT models – CPB pressures vary from under one bar, depending on model)
  • Non-slip surface providing maximum friction when stacking two cushions
  • Cross-marked for easy centering of the cushion under load
  • As well as straight lifting, they can be used for pressing, clamping, tilting and guiding
  • Control systems tailored to particular uses. With a large selection of optional accessories designed for different applications
  • Basic safety rules inscribed on the cushions