Pneumatic cylinders provide a simple and cost-effective method to provide a linear motion during the operating sequence in an application.
Let’s look at this innovative technology in detail and how it works.
The concept of pneumatics
Even though the functionality offered by pneumatic cylinders is beneficial in numerous critical applications, their concept is derived from the simple science of compressed air and the energy it provides.
The word pneumatics is derived from Greek terminology and means air. A Greek mathematician, Hero of Alexandria, considered air to have particles, which could fill any void when allowed to enter it. Today we call these particles air molecules that rush to fill in any vacuum or space, causing pressure.
The concept was further modified when a German physicist, Otto Guericke, developed a vacuum pump that derived energy from the air when a vessel was attached to it and generated motion.
How does pneumatics work?
Today, the concept of pneumatics has been deeply embedded into various industrial applications across the globe in multiple areas.
While they have a wide range of variants in terms of designs and style, here is how a basic pneumatic cylinder works.
The main function of a pneumatic cylinder is performed by compressed air, which applies pressure to a piston rod inside the barrel of the pneumatic cylinder. When the compressed air is forced inside the cylinder, it causes the piston to move.
A mechanism integrated into the piston converts the forced compressed air into mechanical energy, generating a motion that can be linear and rotary. The generated motion is useful for a variety of applications. The end device is specific to the application it is being used for. It could be a clamp, a gripper, a press or a vacuum cup.
Pneumatic cylinders classifications
Pneumatic cylinders are available in a variety of designs and styles that are mostly in compliance with international standards, so they have wide utility.
Based on their mechanism, siłowniki pneumatyczne are classified into two main categories.
Single-acting cylinders are one type. These cylinders have one port from which compressed air enters and forces the piston to move to perform the requisite function. A spring inside then causes the piston to return to its base. Single-acting cylinders are available in the push and pull type of cylinders.
Double-acting pneumatic cylinders have two ports instead of one and rely on compressed air for the forward and return action of the piston rod. Compressed air enters from one valve and causes the piston to move. A vacuum on the other side pulls back the rod and causes it to resume its normal position.
Pneumatic cylinders applications
There is a long list of how pneumatic cylinders are used. Today you may see them being used in the manufacturing factory settings in the assembly line for picking and placing things, for packaging and pressing etc.
You may also see pneumatic cylinders in ATVs and even airplanes’ landing gear suspension mechanisms. They are used to open and close heavy doors and valves. Even space shuttle door designs rely on technology.
They are cost-effective, customizable, lightweight and safe and clean. All these features make them an attractive choice for numerous applications the world over.