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5 Guidelines for Selecting Pneumatic Cylinders

Pneumatic cylinders are the most accepted solution to create force and motion in OEM applications. The reasons for this is that they are simple in design, easy to install, economical in price, and durable in performance. Pneumatic cylinders are designed in a variety of sizes, styles, and configurations. OEMs need to choose the pneumatic cylinder carefully, so that it will support the application well. The easiest way to achieve this is to keep a few guidelines in mind.

Guidelines for Choosing Pneumatic Cylinders

The points given below will help OEMs understand the aspects to consider when selecting pneumatic cylinders for their applications. In this post, we will be looking at rod style cylinders.

Cylinder Arrangement:

Rod style cylinders can be designed in two ways – single, or double acting. Single acting cylinders supply compressed air to only one side of the piston, thus creating force and motion only in one direction. Double acting cylinders supply compressed air to create enough force to extend as well as retract strokes. Single acting cylinders have limited extension due to the presence of a compressed spring in the design. The stroke length for double acting cylinders is unlimited, but the piston rod can bend or buckle after consistent use over a period of time.

Cylinder Types:

Two primary types of pneumatic cylinders are compact, and guided. Compact cylinders are designed for light duty applications with less space and small stroke requirements. Guided cylinders provide precise motion solutions, and are used in heavy duty applications, where a guided, or large offset load is required.

Force Output:

The amount of force that a cylinder creates is also a guideline for selecting pneumatic cylinders. This can be established by examining the cylinder’s bore size, and air pressure. A general rule of thumb used here is, the force generated by the cylinder should twice as much as the load.

Cylinder Speed:

It is important to know the stroking speed of a cylinder. Factors that affect speed, such as port sizes, inlet and exhaust flow through control valves, and hose or tubing sizes should also be considered. Also, look at cylinders that have flow controls at the cylinder ports.

Cylinder Air Consumption:

Pneumatic cylinder air consumption takes place due to two factors. The first is the volume of air that the piston displaces during operation. The second is contaminated air volume that passes through the valves, ports, tubing, and end cover cavities. Customers should check whether the cylinder can supply air even in worst case conditions. If the pneumatic cylinder is able to meet all of these criteria, then you can be certain that the cylinder will perform well in your OEM application.