It is now widely recognised that operator comfort is of paramount importance if operators of cranes and construction vehicles are to work at optimum productivity. Bumps and vibrations that reach the driver result in fatigue which reduces performance. The choice of seating can be a crucial factor in shock absorbance and comfort, particularly when drivers are seated for long periods of time.

Air compressor manufacturer ASF Thomas has developed a new air suspension seat that massages operators of cranes and other vehicles. Its Active Seat uses rubber air springs instead of metal ones inside the seat. These air-filled springs are designed to isolate shock and vibration and prevent them from reaching the operator. The Active Seat contains fluid cushions which are filled and drained through a rotary vane pump, thereby creating the massaging action. The fluid is glycol and water and is rotated every eight seconds.

The massaging action makes the operator’s pelvis move repeatedly by a few millimetres and this movement passes on to the vertebrae, reducing muscle stiffness and fatigue, according to ASF Thomas.

A long and maintenance free working life for the pump is ensured by having as few moving parts as possible, according to the manufacturer. It is also silent to prevent operator distraction.

ASF Thomas has already started supplying the Active Seat to vehicle manufacturer BMW for whom it was originally designed.