Polygon develops composite housings for Fontaine Fifth Wheel assemblies

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Updated Aug 25, 2020

Fontaine Polygon composite partPolygon Company has designed custom composite housings for pneumatic cylinders in fifth-wheel coupling assemblies by Fontaine Fifth Wheel.

Fontaine says it turned to Polygon for a composite pneumatic cylinder that would resist corrosion from salt, moisture, and debris on the roads, unlike metal components.

“The heavy-duty truck market is a rugged application that can expose air cylinders to excessive moisture and contaminants. Standard metallic cylinders can corrode over time and limit the ability of the air cylinder to function properly, shortening the useful life of a pneumatic cylinder,” says Shane Wolfe, engineering manager, Fontaine Fifth Wheel. “What’s more, in over-the-road and off-road applications, there are increased chances of foreign objects coming in contact with the cylinders and damaging the cylinder housing. When standard metallic housings become dented, it usually renders the cylinder inoperable.”

The companies say unlike metallic cylinders that can dent and thus prevent the piston’s mechanical action as a result of simple impacts like loose rocks in the road, composite cylinders are strong and hold their shape even under impact. Consequently, Polygon’s composite cylinder solution reduces maintenance needs overall, and especially reduces instances of emergency maintenance on the road. Finally, the composite cylinder reduces weight in the fifth-wheel assembly over fully metallic components, the company says.

“Polygon’s design team are professionals who understand their products and manufacturing processes well. Polygon has been very innovative and responsive in working in conjunction with Fontaine engineering to continually improve our product offerings,” adds Wolfe. “Now, the previous problems related to corrosion within air cylinders have been eliminated with the composite housing, stainless, and aluminum components. The composite housing of the Polygon pneumatic cylinder is more suitable to retain its shape when contacted by foreign objects and preserve operability, extending the product life of cylinders.

“Finally, in the competitive truck market where vehicle weight reduction is always a project on the table, composite cylinders reduce overall fifth wheel assembly weight. We can offer them to truck manufacturers as a weight reducing option.”

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