Engineers at Zimmer GmbH in Germany decided to totally redesign the industrial shock absorber or damper from the ground up. The result? The Zimmer PowerStop.

Compared to conventional designs, PowerStop provides smooth, continuous deceleration over the entire stroke and absorbs more energy, up to 300% more at minimal power, according to the company. This lets engineers use smaller shocks, an important factor considering the space restrictions in many modern designs.

In current designs, oil forced through restricting orifices slows the piston. But if the force is high enough, the oil breaks down and the shock absorber vibrates, both of which shorten the life of the device. The new design has a progressively smaller channel spiraling up the outside surface of the piston, so damping oil can get from the lower reservoir to an exhaust channel. A uniform hydrostatic-slide bearing forms between the piston and tube, keeping mechanical strain on the oil low. The sliding film symmetrically separates moving parts and lets the shocks last longer.

The shocks have metric diameters ranging from M5 to M45, with the largest able to handle 3,000 Nm/stroke. The devices fall into one of three subgroups: Types S, M, and H for slow, medium, and high striking velocities. The shocks are available in North America from Intercon Automation Parts Inc., Barrie, Ontario, Canada (