How To Select Air Cylinders   Rectangular air cylinder | Tie rod air cylinder | Air cylinder Image Credit: Taiwan Chelic Corp. | Peninsular Cylinder Co. | Grainger Air cylinders are pneumatic linear actuators driven by pressure differential in the cylinder chambers. Compressed gas (typically air) acts as the power to impart a force and cause actuation. The compressed gas is allowed to expand due to the pressure gradient, and forces a piston to move in the desired...
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Q & A on Air Cylinders

We asked our users for their input on Air Cylinders. Here are the results of 167 users familiar with Air Cylinders.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing air cylinder design?
25 answers
Answers:
Material. Because of the Chinese ability to manufacture really cheap cylinders, it is becoming very difficult for manufacturers to compete. Hence, manufacturers are constantly cutting down on material costs.
~Nicolas Fleuriot, Technical Sales Representative, Durban, South Africa
I have yet to try a cylinder with a proportional valve and a LVDT in it that will move to a programmable position, but when the time comes, I'll try one.
~Carl B, Engineer, Greensboro, NC
Different Industries (Li-Ion Battery Industry), Electric Actuators, Clean Room applications and Food Contact Applications.
~Raymond Baker, Applications Engineer, La Mirad, CA
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative air cylinders?
27 answers
Answers:
The big names in Air cylinders have always been the following, again horses for courses: 1. Bosch Rexroth 2. Parker 3. Marton Air ( Norgren) 4. SMC 5. Festo
~Nicolas Fleuriot, Technical Sales Representative, Durban, South Africa
We had come across few manufacturers like, Parker, Festo, SMC, and a few competent companies of India like Electro Pneumatics, Mercury, Rotex etc...
~Narendra Jog, Engineer, Ahmedabad, India
SMC, Bimba, Numatics
~Juan H, Electrical Mechanical Tech II, Fort Lauderdale, FL
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used air cylinders for?
44 answers
Answers:
Pressing connectors in housings. Clamping connectors in insertion heads, Pass/ reject stations at vision systems. Lifting heavy guards on assembly machines, Lifting very heavy spools of metal into dereelers. Escapements from feed bowls into assembly equipment. Various grippers on robots. etc...
~Carl B, Engineer, Greensboro, NC
1. Operation of gate valves in baghouse 2. Automation processes in packaging industry 3. Maintenance of packing machines for the cement industry 4. Various replacement across all industries
~Nicolas Fleuriot, Technical Sales Representative, Durban, South Africa
Packaging machinery, Pick and place robots, case packers, case sealers, winding machines, pushers, wrappers, strappers, conveyors, upenders, turn-tables, presses, choppers, slitters......
~Engineering, Design, Gatineau, Canada
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that air cylinders have been used for.
11 answers
Answers:
Used Position Sensor BIMBA Position Feed Back cylinder on Mining equipment steering unit to give accurate position of the Hydraulic Steering Cylinders. Rodless Cylinders used in Pocket Doors of Entertainer Tour Bus interior Doors.
~Terry K, President (Owner), Roanoke, VA
The 20 bore 400 stroke cylinder makes a nice meat marinator after some small mods with a big needle on the front.
~Piet F, Engineer, Kempton Park, South Africa
I don't think air springs are "non-standard," but I've used a lot of single action cylinders for springs. Most other applications have been done many times before.
~Carl B, Engineer, Greensboro, NC
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of air cylinders?
9 answers
Answers:
I have seen a small cylinder with a "finger" on its rod end used as a "stop" on a track that was loaded by a powerful linear ball screw housing feed. When things got out of sync, the cylinder had a right angle rod and didn't move any more. More dumb than disastrous.
~Carl B, Engineer, Greensboro, NC
Pneumatic seal systems are not designed to be used hydraulically. There is a reason why hydraulic cylinders are much more expensive then pneumatic cylinders.
~Mark R, Engineering Manager, Wadsworth, OH
Yes. People have lost hands and fingers operating presses without the proper Anti- Tie Down circuit.
~Terry K, President (Owner), Roanoke, VA
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
21 answers
Answers:
I need to learn how to interface "smart" cylinders with PLC's so I can get jobs done without getting our electronics crew involved. I can handle the usual solenoid valve operated systems, but the "smart" stuff has left me a little dumb.
~Carl B, Engineer, Greensboro, NC
1.Replaceable seals at all times. Even though they cost only 25$, I don't like to throw away a cylinder in good shape because of a bad seal. 2.sensor mounts on all cylinders.
~General Management, Mosfellsbaer, Iceland
1. Well, the obvious is design according to ISO standards 2. Complete with all accessories 3. Reliable 4. Repair kits easily available 5. Cost effective 6. Available in Imperial and Metric
~Nicolas Fleuriot, Technical Sales Representative, Durban, South Africa
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Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of air cylinders?
16 answers
Answers:
Don't drastically oversize the bore selection. If you expect to have control over the motion, stay away from bores less than 1.25 inches. Small bore cylinders are difficult to control with flow controls. Be aware of options that add length to the body.
~Design Engineer, Cincinnati, OH
Proper air line connection with proper fitting & valves will not only reduce leakages, but over a period of time, will reflect on your profitability simply by avoiding leakages & over size selection of pneumatic system.
~Narendra Jog, Engineer, Ahmedabad, India
Please use a sizing software that will help you determine the correct cylinders to use for the applications. SMC has a Sizing Selection software that helps very nicely with this.
~Raymond Baker, Applications Engineer, La Mirad, CA
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using air cylinders?
14 answers
Answers:
Yes, Be precise in selection of cylinder as per your application & need, interact as much as possible with manufacturer to get the best product for your application, and always have confidence in your supplier and the suggestion given by their technical staff.
~Narendra Jog, Engineer, Ahmedabad, India
One cannot really go wrong when it comes to replacement. When designing a new app, it is critical to get the correct unit in, but then again, air cylinders are relatively cheap and hence forgiving.
~Nicolas Fleuriot, Technical Sales Representative, Durban, South Africa
Buy better quality as they will last longer and always pick one bore bigger than what is advised. You are going to lose pressure in your airlines sometime in the future.
~Piet F, Engineer, Kempton Park, South Africa
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