Pneumatic cylinders, also referred to as air cylinders, are actuators that use compressed air and transform its force into mechanical energy. The resulting motion, whether linear or rotary, results in the performance of a specific task or application in automated systems.
Let’s look in detail at how the components in a pneumatic system work together to facilitate the application to perform.
The internal mechanism and working – single-acting and double-acting cylinders
A typical pneumatic cylinder has various parts, including a piston and a piston rod, a barrel, a tie rod, a cap-end port and a rod-end port.
The compressed air is forced to enter the cylinder for the pneumatic cylinder to work, causing the piston inside to move. A mechanism integrated into the piston causes the piston to transform the forced compressed air into mechanical energy.
Air enters the cavity from one end from a valve attached, and at the end of the cylinder, a device or component is attached, which is according to the function of the application. So, the resulting energy from the movement of the piston can be used in various automated processes like pushing or pulling parts or objects, pressing, picking and placing parts or goods for packaging etc.
Pneumatic cylinders come in single-acting and double-acting designs. There is also a third type, the telescopic pneumatic cylinders. However, they are rarely used. The double-acting siłowniki pneumatyczne are most commonly used as almost 95% of industrial applications use these.
The double-acting cylinders have two ends, both of which receive equivalent compressed air pressure on an alternate basis to provide the push and pull action (forward and backward piston rod movements).
On the other hand, single-acting cylinders feature only one port and air is forced to move the piston in a single direction. A spring causes the retraction of the piston rod to return it to its original position.
The benefits of pneumatic cylinders
Pneumatic cylinders are quite cost-effective compared to hydraulics and electric system. Since they mostly use air (in some cases, inert gas is also used), they do not pose a risk of leakage or contamination in strictly hygienic conditions. In hydraulic systems, there is a risk of leakage as well as contamination.
Pneumatic cylinders are available in varying sizes and designs. The use of a specific design depends on the application, the type of motion, the amount of force, the space and the operating environment. Some examples include tie-rod and profile cylinders, round body cylinders, rod-less and compact cylinders etc.
Pneumatic cylinders have designs that are clean with smooth surfaces and can be used in the processing and packaging of food materials and beverages, as they are safe for use in hygienic environments. They are smaller designs that can be used in places having restricted spaces.
Pneumatic cylinders are customizable and can be tailored to cater to the application requirements. They are quite efficient and get the job done, thereby facilitating convenience and enhanced productivity.