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Welcome to the STIHL USA Blog

Friday, August 14, 2015

The STIHL Anti-Vibration System in Chainsaws

You start your chainsaw and go to work.  Its comfortable, with great control, and you make short work of that cord of firewood.  But have you ever wondered why it's comfortable?  You can thank the anti-vibration system. An anti-vibration system is a standard part of chainsaws today. But that hasn’t always been true. 

 Back in the old days, handles were attached directly to the engine, which meant every vibration was felt by the user.  This became significant when the first one-man saw, the legendary STIHL Contra, launched in 1959. The Contra revolutionized the forestry industry, allowing a single operator to feel trees, but it also meant the more operators were being subjected to vibration.

Patented system

At STIHL we always challenge ourselves to find a better way.  In 1964, a patent for an anti-vibration system for chainsaws was filed. The main features of this system were rubber elements to separate the handle from the engine.
STIHL Contra anti-vibration elements
This made it possible to cut the level of handle vibration in half. In 1965, series production started on a Contra equipped with the new feature now known as the anti-vibration (AV) system. While this was obviously an upgrade on the Contra, by 1967 the AV feature was standard on the MS 041. The rear handle was mounted on a cast magnesium component surrounding the carburetor and the air filter. This design, known as a frame-mounted anti-vibration system, was also used in later products.
Dr Rüdiger Stihl had this to say about the AV system.  “The anti-vibration system is a good example of my father’s inventiveness. He cared deeply about society and was always concerned about the well-being of others. His aim was to improve products in such a way as to make it easier for users to work with them. The anti-vibration system helped make the hard forestry work more comfortable.”

Steel springs and rubber buffers
STIHL MS 362 with professional anti-vibration system

In the early 1970s, to stay ahead of more stringent limits, we went back to the drawing board to come up with a more robust method to further reduce handle vibrations. For the MS 042, we developed the stable handle housing with built-in fuel tank that is used to this day. Still made of magnesium back in 1976, the first polymer version was featured on the MS 024 in 1982. In the late 1990s, further advances were made.  Although rubber buffers were sturdy, their material properties limited the amount of vibration that they alone could absorb.  So STIHL introduced steel springs. As a result, today’s STIHL chainsaws are all equipped with steel-spring elements combined with a complex shock-absorption system consisting of rubber and hard-foam buffers.

Making chainsaw use more comfortable

So the next time you are using your STIHL, take a look at your saw’s anti-vibration elements.  They are just another example of the innovation, engineering and dedication to the customer that is at the heart of all we do.