How do pneumatic cylinders work?
In a pneumatic cylinder, the compressed air is used to exert force on a cylinder piston in order move it in a specific direction. The movement of the piston is transferred to the parts to be moved by a piston rod or a frictional connection. A pneumatic cylinder is a drive operated with compressed air usually up to a maximum of 12 bar in order to generate linear or rotary motion. A distinction should be made between single-acting and double-acting pneumatic cylinders (work is performed only in one direction or in both directions).
What is a single-acting pneumatic cylinder?
Pneumatic cylinders, also called air cylinders, pneumatic actuators, or pneumatic drives, are relatively simple mechanical devices that use the energy of compressed air and turn it into linear motion. Lightweight and low maintenance, pneumatic cylinders generally operate at lower speeds and less force than their hydraulic or electric counterparts, but are a clean and cost-effective option for reliable linear motion in many industrial environments. The most common design consists of a cylinder or tube that is sealed on both ends, with a cap at one end and head at the other end. The pneumatic cylinder contains a piston, which is attached to a rod. The rod moves in and out of one end of the tube, actuated by compressed air. Two main styles exist: single-acting and double-acting.
Where are single-acting pneumatic cylinders used?
Single-acting pneumatic cylinders are a great choice for applications with space constraints, as these tend to be smaller pneumatic cylinders than other designs due to their integrated springs that leave less room for compressed air. Analytical equipment, diagnostic instrumentation, bottling machinery, and commercial laundry and kitchen equipment are just a few examples of where these single-acting pneumatic cylinders are specified. They are typically used in applications where work is performed in one direction. These include tasks such as positioning, marking, clamping, and light assembly.
What is a double-acting pneumatic cylinder?
A double-acting pneumatic cylinder is a cylinder in which the working fluid acts alternately on both sides of the piston. In order to connect the piston in a double-acting pneumatic cylinder to an external mechanism, such as a crank shaft, a hole must be provided in one end of the cylinder for the piston rod, and this is fitted with a gland or "stuffing box" to prevent escape of the working fluid. Double-acting pneumatic cylinders are common in steam engines but unusual in other engine types. Many hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders use them where it is needed to produce a force in both directions. A double-acting hydraulic cylinder has a port at each end, supplied with hydraulic fluid for both the retraction and extension of the piston. A double-acting pneumatic cylinder is used where an external force is not available to retract the piston or it can be used where high force is required in both directions of travel.
Difference between double-acting and single-acting air cylinders
If you are looking for simple, easy-to-use and cheap linear drives, pneumatic cylinder is often the solution. They are sometimes also called air cylinders.
The term single-acting pneumatic cylinder refers to the compressed air that exerts a force on only one side of the piston. The compressed air pushes against one side of the piston which is set in motion because of the applied force. The stroke length of single-acting cylinders with integrated spring return is limited by the installed length of the spring. That is why single-acting cylinders are normally made with a maximum stroke length of 50 mm.
Double-acting air cylinders are used when a force has to be applied in both directions. Double-acting cylinders are used when larger stroke lengths are required. A force is generated both during the advancing as well as the retracting stroke of the piston. It is proportional to the compressed air supply pressure and the operational piston surface of the pneumatic cylinder.
In order to detect the piston position, sensors are used on the pneumatic cylinders. These are also called position indicators or cylinder sensors. These proximity sensors, which are often magnetic, detect the magnetic field of the piston and activate the switching output.
In addition to linear pneumatic cylinders, there are rotary cylinders for swivel applications. Most rotary cylinders are used for rotations of 90 to 270 degrees. Such as turning products around.
Ordering pneumatic cylinders
Ordering pneumatic cylinders starts with selecting and configuring the right type. The right type of double-acting or single-acting cylinder can be determined quickly and easily with digital engineering tools.
Web configurators for pneumatic cylinders help when having to choose the right options for the application in question or the industry requirements. Once your shopping cart is full, you can start ordering. Festo pneumatic cylinders and accessories as well as sensors are available worldwide.