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3 Types of Pneumatic Cylinders

Posted by SMC Pneumatics USA on 11/25/2019 to Pneumatics Products
3 Types of Pneumatic Cylinders

The right pneumatic cylinder will help your machine work. They convert the energy from compressing air into kinetic forces so that the other parts will function. Knowing the different types will help you choose one for managing your compressed air and helping it flow through the machine. You just need to know the right type of air cylinders, which are also called pneumatic actuators, and what you need for industrial or manufacturing purposes.

The cylinders that we mention operate with a linear motion. That means they go back and forth, rather than in various directions. A great benefit is that it means that the cylinder is less likely to damage the machine with a misplaced stroke, and you can identify improper placement if the movement is irregular. We also list rod cylinders, which are named for the tubes that they have inside their bodies.

Single-Acting Cylinders

In a single-acting cylinder, only one side of the piston has airflow. The compressed air moves the piston. An internal spring returns the piston to its original position after air leaves the cylinder. These cylinders have a compact, simple design and work well for when you want to use less air.

You can either get a push-type or pull-type single-acting cylinder, both of which use a thrust of air pressure to get the piston moving. Spring size matters in this case to get the desired output for daily operations. That can be a disadvantage when you want a stronger stroke or if you want a different size.

Double-Acting Cylinders

When you have a double-acting cylinder, then you have the means to extend and retract strokes at the same time, with optimal thrust for pushing and pulling. Both ends are open for airflow, with the ports alternating to maintain pressure. As a result, you get an out-stroke and an in-stroke. These are great for when you have to move your output in both directions.

Double-acting cylinders are highly versatile. They come with various bore sizes, as well as stroke sizes. If you need them for a larger application, then you can get different types of double-acting cylinders to ensure optimal output.

The piston rods need more guiding within long stroke models. You also cannot hold them mid-position and require a steady supply of air, thus using more while operating. They are best for heavier loads, depending on stroke length.

Telescoping Cylinders

A multi-stage telescoping cylinder has a more complex design, with a collapsed length. The air flows through tubes of varying diameters, with the piston rod serving as the smallest. These tubes are called stages. Many telescopic cylinders are designed with six at maximum, though certain models have more.

You can get single-acting and double-acting cylinders that are telescopic. Some even come with both types of thrust, combining the processes. They provide a very long stroke and require less mounting space. You will most likely see telescoping cylinders in the construction industry or for managing equipment.

Designs For Cylinder Types

You can get various designs with your cylinder types. They are designed based on their shelf life and needs of the machine. Some compact models are great for small spaces, which come as single-acting and double-acting. We recommend them for tiny machines.

A standard cylinder is a tube with a seal cap at each end and ports. One end has a piston rod and a tube that attaches to the rest of the machine. At the other end, a port allows air to flow through the cylinder. This flow determines if the rod is extending or retracting.

Cylinders with rods tend to be either repairable or disposable. In the case of a repairable cylinder, you can remove the rods from inside and make replacements or use them for a longer period of time. They last longer and require less replacement. With these benefits, a repairable cylinder accumulates fewer costs in the long run.

Disposable cylinders, in contrast, can’t be repaired, and both seals at the ends are crimped. While they cost less than repairable cylinders, they do need to be replaced more often. We recommend using them for lighter applications, and where the cost of repairing a cylinder costs more than replacement.

When you have a large load, then you want to choose a guided cylinder. They have either guide rods or dual piston rods, as a means of distributing the output and to reduce the wear on the rest of the parts. Due to this design, the cylinders have a longer shelf life. Conveyors often use guided cylinders to ensure that all of the products and air move smoothly.

You can also get rodless cylinders. They are good for large work demands. An extended carriage takes the place of a rod while moving back and forth.

Materials Used For Cylinders

You can get cylinders made of various metals; they include plastic, aluminum, stainless steel, regular steel, and nickel-plated brass. You can get some that combine different metals for optimal performance. Factors that determine such performance can include the amount of work expected, humidity and heat. You won’t want your cylinder to rust if working in the food processing industry, for example, which requires constant sanitation.

Stainless steel is the preferred material for pneumatic cylinders. It is waterproof, rustproof, and has a high heat threshold. This means that you can use it for industries that require large volumes of water and heat for their manufacturing. These cylinders require fewer replacements, will not corrode during production, and will give you more value.

Improve Your Airflow With SMC Pneumatics

SMC Pneumatics wants to keep your machines running for as long as possible. We keep up to date on the best parts for various applications, models and sizes. If one goes out of stock, we can recommend an appropriate alternative part, based on size and the output that you desire.

Contact us today to find your cylinder and other pieces. You can trust SMC Pneumatics to optimize your machine. Improve your air pressure with items from our website, and add years of life to pneumatic devices.

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