AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, AND FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

What Are Pneumatic Cylinders

Pneumatic cylinders are mechanical devices that may be found in a wide variety of industries and machinery, serving to generate force through the use of pressurized air. To harness such energy, pneumatic cylinders consist of a piston, piston rod, and cylinder. As air enters one side of the cylinder, pressure will rise, and this will cause the adjustment of the piston in a specific direction. As force continues to develop while the piston adjusts, the piston rod will transmit force to an external object to move it. This explanation of pneumatic cylinders is fairly simple, as there are many other parts that may be present in an assembly, and there are multiple variations of cylinders that one can choose from. As such, we will offer a brief overview of pneumatic cylinders so that you may become more familiar with them.

The pneumatic cylinder bore is an important element of the wider assembly, serving to protect and house all internal components. On both sides, caps will be present with ports for pressurized air to move through. Within the housing, one may find the movable piston, piston rod, and other various elements that make operations possible. To ensure that pistons are able to transmit force without causing major vibration, noise, and shock with each stroke, piston cushioning is implemented to lower the piston and rod assembly speed as it reaches the end gap. Additionally, tie rods are also used to secure the end caps to the pneumatic cylinder bore to further protect against impact and shock. To keep an airtight sealing between the piston and rod, piston seal products are implemented, and seals are also present between the piston and chamber. Beyond such components, many cylinders will also feature sensors to determine the linear position of the piston for positioning applications.

While there may be a number of pneumatic cylinder variations, most fall under the umbrella of being either a single- or double-acting cylinder. With a single-acting cylinder, a spring will be situated around the piston rod to assist in the process of piston and rod assembly retraction. Any compressed air that enters the cylinder will remain within one side of the chamber, causing the piston and rod assembly to adjust linearly as they extend in a single direction. This causes the spring to compress or stretch, and once the piston rod has achieved maximum thrust, the force of the spring will cause the assembly to return to its original position. These pneumatic cylinders are push- or pull-type devices, the difference being how the piston rod moves in response to air pressure.

With double-acting cylinders, compressed air will actually enter both sides of the piston, causing the piston and rod to adjust toward the side of the chamber where internal pressure is lower. Because of this, double-acting cylinders may conduct extension and retraction strokes. To have the piston and rod assembly return to a resting state, air pressure will have to be introduced to the other side of the cylinder. Generally, double-acting cylinders are relied on for opening and closing gates and valves, useful for their high speed and force. Additionally, their output force is more constant and stronger than single-acting types, at the cost of increased prices and air consumption.

While single- and double-acting cylinders act as the most common categories, cylinders can be procured in various types such as rodless, band, cable, magnetically coupled, air hydraulic, multi-force multiplying, rotary, and tandem cylinders. If you know what type of pneumatic cylinder you need for your operations and are in the market for a reputable supplier, look no further than Nascent Aero. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we offer customers access to over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts that trace back to top global manufacturers that we trust. With our online RFQ service, customers can easily request quotes for their comparisons and receive customized solutions in just a matter of minutes. Get connected with a team member today and see how we can serve you as your strategic sourcing partner!


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