Protecting buildings by cushioning seismic vibrations

Protecting buildings by cushioning seismic vibrations

The friction springs in the portfolio of RINGFEDER POWER TRANSMISSION reliably protect architectural structures in earthquake-prone areas all around the globe

In the best case, earthquakes put the structure of buildings to the test; in the worst case resulting cracks and instabilities make them collapse like a house of cards. For this reason, scientists and engineers have joined forces to come up with ingenious technology to cushion nature’s tremendous forces and save lives as well as material. In the field of shock-absorbing technology RINGFEDER POWER TRANSMISSION has made a name for itself over the course of more than 90 years as one of the world’s leading experts. In addition to impact absorbers and high-performance buffers, the company offers a wide range of friction springs, too.

RINGFEDER’s friction springs consist of meticulously manufactured cups and cones which can be combined randomly according to the desired cushioning distance and the arising forces. This enables customers to pick the one solution that meets their specific requirements. In addition to a large number of standard sizes RINGFEDER keeps special solutions for individual cases available, too. In order to guarantee for absolute functional reliability, the friction springs have to successfully pass several stress tests before they are sent on their way to the customers.

When the acting forces are expected to be extraordinarily large, the spring rings can be arranged parallel or in rows, too. That way the spring material is exploited perfectly and the dimensions and weight of the cushioning element could be reduced to a minimum. Furthermore the friction springs boast freedom from maintenance; subsequent lubrication is dispensable in nine out of ten cases. In contrast to other shock-absorbing systems, the RINGFEDER product unfolds its maximum suspension qualities even when subject to low stress speeds.

In terms of earthquake protection, these elements are mainly used in industrial facilities. RINGFEDER POWER TRANSMISSION is currently developing an innovative solution to absorb seismic vibrations which could affect the switchgears in electrical substations across the North American continent. Switchgears are usually firmly connected to the floor slab with bolts and nuts – a fact which can have fatal consequences in the event of a tremor. To counteract this scenario, a two-way cushioning element equipped with a long and a short spring has been mounted to the foot of the switchgear to absorb upwards, downwards and sideways movements.

In addition to intelligent solutions for industrial plants, many successful projects in the housing sector have already been realised, too. One example is the state-of-the-art student dormitory 'Te Puni Village' in Wellington, New Zealand. The objective was to compensate the ground acceleration during an earthquake. In cooperation with Aurecon Group, RINGFEDER opted for a combination of slip joints and its own friction springs. Thanks to this construction, the damages caused by a tremor can be reduced to a minimum. The friction springs absorb the shocks while the slip joints make sure that the building returns to its original position. That way the residential complex continues to be inhabitable and can serve as an emergency centre, too. The British Institution of Structural Engineers has honoured the innovative concept with the Healthcare Structure Award.

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RINGFEDER POWER TRANSMISSION GMBH is one of the leading manufacturers of premium components in the fields of shock-absorbing and keyless connection technologies. The diversified range of the global player can be divided into three segments: under its brand GERWAH, the company from Hessian Groß-Umstadt develops high-quality couplings for driving technology and conveying engineering. The product field RINGFEDER boasts innovative locking devices, damping elements and special solutions for individual power transmission needs. The brand ECOLOC includes cost-efficient alternatives from the premium range available for standard use. Thanks to international subsidiaries and representatives worldwide customers around the globe benefit from the know-how of the RINGFEDER group. CEO Thomas Moka runs the national and international business of the company.