It can be challenging to choose the proper pneumatic cylinder for your specific application. Pneumatic cylinders come in different types and are employed in a wide range of applications and industries. Each pneumatic cylinder type has its own features to accommodate a variety of working situations. The right selection of cylinders is essential for your pneumatic systems. Let’s dive into 5 tips that can help you make the right choice. 

  1. Design and Stroke Length

Since there are thousands of different pneumatic cylinders on the market, knowing your particular requirements is critical. First, choose the correct pneumatic cylinder design. A rod-style cylinder is the most common one among them. Single-acting and double-acting pneumatic cylinders are the two types available. Single-acting pneumatic cylinders deliver motion in only one direction, but double-acting pneumatic cylinders deliver motion in both directions. When deciding on the proper model, think about which of these two possibilities would be the most effective for your application. After deciding which one you need, you can dive into different types of rod-style cylinders:

  • Repairable cylinders – Generally used in heavy-duty applications. Seals and other internal components can be replaced by disassembling repairable cylinders. This enhances the life of a cylinder. 
  • Disposable cylinders – Are used in lighter-duty applications since they are less expensive to produce. However, because of their permanently sealed design, they need to be replaced more frequently.
  • Compact cylinders – This may be desirable in small places where short strokes are needed. Single-acting versions are the most common, but double-acting ones are also available.
  • Guided cylinders – Are recommended for applications that have sizeable offset loads or for loads that require accurate guidance. 
  • Rack and pinion style – Finally, quarter-turn valves are operated using rack and pinion style pneumatic cylinders, which are frequently required for applications in the process industry.

Although rod-style pneumatic cylinders are the most popular, rodless cylinders are also available for applications that demand a long stroke or a high moment load.

The type of cylinder required will be narrowed down once the stroke length is determined and stroke length varies per work. For instance, short strokes are as little as 1/16 for compact cylinders, intermediate ones are up to 36 inches for lighter-duty automation, etc. So, you must consider the design and stroke length that will suit your application. 

  1. Speed

The cylinder's stroking speed is essential to know. Inlet and exhaust flow through control valves, port sizes, hose or tubing sizes are all things that can affect speed. The cylinder's longevity and productivity are affected by its speed, as well as how effectively it can control your load. The following formula can be used to calculate the pneumatic cylinder’s stroke speed:

s = 28.8q/A

  • ‘s’ stands for speed.
  • ‘q’ stands for airflow in standard cubic feet per minute.
  • ‘A’ stands for the piston area. 
  1. Air Consumption

In fast-cycling applications, it's vital to carefully calculate the cylinder's air consumption to ensure that enough air is supplied. Make sure the compressor has enough capacity to serve your pneumatic equipment even in the worst-case scenario, as air deprivation at a critical time will hurt performance. 

  1. Force Output

Another important factor to consider when selecting a pneumatic cylinder is how much force the cylinder must generate to operate your application. Pneumatic cylinders’ bore size and air pressure can be used to calculate force output. When looking at force output, the usual guideline is that the generated force should be twice as much as the load. 

  1. Materials

You need to consider the material if the pneumatic cylinder will be used in extreme conditions, such as low or high temperatures, or will encounter corrosive media.

Pneumatic cylinders are commonly made of stainless steel, aluminum, steel, brass, engineered polymers, or a combination of materials. Similarly, the sealing materials used on your pneumatic cylinder must be suited for the working environment to protect the internal workings and extend the life of the equipment. So, you need to understand which material to choose to suit the operational environment. 

These were some of the factors you need to consider when choosing a pneumatic cylinder. If you look for quality pneumatic cylinders, we got your back. Browse the selection today!