In a pneumatic cylinder, compressed air is used to exert force on a cylinder piston and thus move it in a specific direction. The motion of the piston is transmitted to the parts to be moved via the piston rod or magnetic friction closure. A pneumatic cylinder is an actuator operated with compressed air usually up to a maximum of 12 bar to generate a linear or rotary motion. A distinction must be made between single-acting and double-acting cylinders (work is performed only in one direction or in both directions). Typical applications for pneumatic actuators are tensioning, lifting, countersinking, pushing, pulling, feeding, turning, gripping, clamping and holding, joining, stopping, stamping, embossing and others. Pneumatic actuators are characterized by high acceleration and deceleration. The achievable speeds range between 10 mm/s and up to 3 m/s. Pneumatic drives are robust and flexible due to the compressibility of the air.
ISO cylinders are pneumatic cylinders with standardized dimensions and mounting interfaces. With regard to these dimensions, ISO cylinders of the same standard are identical. There are standards for piston rod cylinders in round design (ISO 6432), in compact design (ISO 21287) and for large cylinders (ISO 15552).