Pneumatic systems apply pressurized gas in the creation of energy. In the fluid power field, these systems provide not only benefits in the reduction of manufacturing costs, but pneumatic automation can also be adapted for use in countless automation processes.
A pneumatic actuator is the part of the system that takes the compressed air and converts it into motion. Depending on the different types of actuators, the motion produced can be either linear or rotary. This allows for a greater range of application in the manufacturing industry.A pneumatic system also provides the benefit of being cleaner, quieter, and more compact, as they do not require large amounts of space for the storage of fluids.The pneumatic actuator is composed of a variety of parts including a piston, a cylinder and valves or ports. Similar to its hydraulic counterpart, which use the stored potential energy of a fluid, pneumatic cylinders use the stored potential energy of compressed air.
As the air expands it is converted into kinetic energy. The expansion of this air causes the piston to move in a desired direction.Covering the piston is a diaphragm. The diaphragm acts as a seal to trap the air in the upper section of the cylinder. When the air pressure forces the diaphragm downward, the piston underneath moves, which will in turn move the valve stem. The valve controls the airflow and links to the internal parts of the actuator.The output pressure is directly related to the size of the piston.
There are a numerous types of pneumatic cylinders available, varying in both size and function. Each style is designed to fulfill specialized and specific functions. Single-acting cylinders utilize the pressure of the compressed air to create force moving in one direction. Typically it will drive the force out and a spring will return the piston to the starting position. Single acting cylinders work best in smaller applications, as they have a more limited extension. Double-acting cylinders use the force of air to move in both directions.
These cylinders have two ports, which allow the movement of air for both the outstroke and instroke. Since they do not rely on a spring, the extension is not limited. While these are two of the most common types of pneumatic cylinders, there is a vast variety available to fulfill endless functions. The use of standard cylinders in pneumatics adds to the simplicity of design and control in these systems. The machines generally have an easy design and operate with simple controls. Additionally, pneumatic systems require little maintenance and have long operating lives. Pneumatic systems provide reliable, safe energy for an assortment of practical applications.