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Pneumatic Cylinder Types

Yates is a leading supplier and manufacturer of air cylinders.

What Are Pneumatic Cylinders?

Another name for a pneumatic cylinder is an air cylinder. It can also be called a pneumatic actuator, as well. It is important to mention that, generally speaking, an actuator is a mechanical device that takes energy and then it converts that energy into some type of motion.

A pneumatic cylinder is a mechanical device that utilizes compressed air and this compressed air acts on a piston located inside the cylinder that moves a load across a specific linear path. One advantage of a pneumatic cylinder compared to a hydraulic cylinder is that it only uses air. Because of this, leakage will not be an issue, simply because no leakage exists in the first place.

There are many different types of pneumatic cylinders. A few of these pneumatic cylinder types are rodless cylinders, diaphragm cylinders, and telescoping cylinders. A through-rod cylinder is one more kind of pneumatic cylinder.

Basics Of Pneumatic Cylinders

A pneumatic cylinder utilizes the pressure of a gas in order to do work and this work is linear work. The Greeks first came up with the term ‘pneumatic’ and this term refers to air. Air is the most common variety and the most affordable type of gas that pneumatic cylinders use.

It is easy to refill a pneumatic system by putting air in and compressing the air. As we have learned over time, some gases are dangerous, but obviously, the air is not a dangerous gas. It is possible to use some types of inert gases instead of air. However, those inert gases aren’t as easily usable. Additionally, manufacturing or ordering inert gases that have already been pre-compressed in tanks is necessary to use them in pneumatic cylinders.

double acting hydraulic cylinder

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What Exactly Are The Different Types of Pneumatic Cylinders?

Inside the cylinder, there is a chamber that the compressed air can enter, in addition to a piston, a path for the compressed air to use to leave, and some sort of action system. The piston actually does the majority of the work and it is one part of the action system. Each kind of action system gives you a somewhat different sort of force.

Tie Rod Cylinders

Tie-rod cylinders are one type of pneumatic cylinder and one notable example of a tie-rod cylinder is the Yates A4 Heavy Duty Pneumatic Cylinder. This cylinder is built for any application where a pneumatic cylinder is a better choice than hydraulics. This cylinder is also quite durable. The bore diameter for standard large-bore Yates tie rod cylinders is up to 24 inches.

The Yates L4 Permanently Lubricated Pneumatic Cylinder is made for long-stroke and high-cycle applications. As the name suggests, a lack of lubrication isn’t a problem for this type of cylinder. Even with applications that do not have inline oilers, this cylinder works just fine.

The Yates A2 Light Duty Pneumatic cylinder works well for any kind of automation that needs a lightweight pneumatic cylinder or multiple lightweight pneumatic cylinders. Automation is increasingly common in many industries these days. That is why these cylinders can be quite useful.

WP Series Welded Pneumatic Cylinder

The WP series welded pneumatic cylinder from Yates is heavy-duty. It is a good option for both packaging and manufacturing applications. Yates also offers these cylinders with varying bore sizes, from cylinders with a 1.5-inch bore size to cylinders with a bore size of six inches.

NFPA Pneumatic Cylinders

Pneumatic cylinders that meet NFPA standards regarding common features such as rod diameter, bore diameter, and piston seal types are known as NFPA cylinders. The NFPA is formally known as the National Fire Protection Association. Yates incorporates NFPA standards into these cylinders. As a result of this standardization, the NFPA cylinders are interchangeable, even if they have different manufacturers.

Large-Bore Cylinders

Applications that are powered by air can use large-bore pneumatic cylinders. Yates manufactures large-bore pneumatic cylinders. Large-bore cylinders for pneumatic systems work well for heavy-duty settings.

Mill Duty Pneumatic Cylinders

We also offer our customers the MP series of heavy-duty pneumatic mill cylinders. These are specifically made for the majority of mill-duty pneumatic applications. The bore sizes range from two inches to eight inches and 250 PSI is the maximum operation for these cylinders.

Parts of Pneumatic Cylinders

The most important pneumatic cylinder parts are the cylinder cap, cylinder head, piston, and tube. The piston rod is one of the most crucial pneumatic cylinder parts, too. The most popular type is a pneumatic cylinder made up of a rod and a piston moving inside a cylinder that is closed. The tube is closed with a cylinder head and cylinder cap on both ends.

Single-Acting vs Double-Acting Cylinder

A single-acting cylinder only has one part where the compressed air enters in a single direction. The push-type cylinder and the pull-type cylinder are the two varieties of single-acting cylinders. The push-type cylinder is one where the air enters and pushes the piston out of the cylinder. The pull-type cylinder involves the air entering and pulling the piston back inside of the cylinder.

The primary difference between a single-acting cylinder and a double-acting cylinder is that a double-acting cylinder includes two ports that air can enter and exit. In a double-acting cylinder, air enters through one of these ports and moves the piston forward, then it applies compressed air into the other remaining port. This causes the piston to retract back into the cylinder.

How to Select A Pneumatic Cylinder

The first thing to ponder is the style of the pneumatic cylinder. It is important to consider choosing between piston rod actuation or rodless actuation. Choosing between a single-acting cylinder and a double-acting cylinder is crucial, too. Different types of rod-style cylinders exist, from compact cylinders that are mostly for a short-stroke operation to repairable cylinders that last longer and can handle heavy-duty work.

The stroke length also matters. The general categories of stroke lengths are the short stroke, intermediate stroke, long stroke, and specialty stroke. Short stroke is for compact cylinders and can be as small as 1/16th of an inch and intermediate stroke is for light-duty automation and is up to three feet. Long stroke is for different things, including automatic doors, and it is 40-99 inches. Specialty stroke involves a clamp and a cable pulling a piston and it is at least 15-25 feet, but possibly more.

Another factor that must be considered is the amount of force the cylinder has to generate in order to run a certain application. The amount of push force can be figured out if we calculate the air pressure and the bore size. We can calculate the pull force by taking the bore size and reducing it by the piston rod’s cross-section.

The stroke speed and air consumption are two more critical factors. Speed has a considerable effect on how well the user can control their load and it also affects the cylinder’s productivity and longevity. It is a good idea to carefully calculate a cylinder’s air consumption to ensure sufficient air will be available, even more so for fast-cycling applications.

Its mounting configuration is something to consider, too. Mounting configuration means how the pneumatic cylinder is attached to the relevant equipment. Thankfully, quite a few mountings are made as standard and this goes for both articulated and rigid mountings. We recommend that you check and see if your preferred cylinder style has the right hardware so you can mount your cylinder as you like.

Typically speaking, pneumatic cylinders are made of aluminum, stainless steel, engineered polymers, steel, or brass. Of course, pneumatic cylinders might also be made of a combination of a few materials, too. The ideal material for the pneumatic cylinder depends on how suitable it is for how you plan to use the cylinder.

Air Cylinder Manufacturers

Yates is a leading supplier and manufacturer of air cylinders. However, Yates offers more than just that. It’s possible that pneumatic cylinders can get damaged, but Yates can repair and even rebuild pneumatic cylinders. Sometimes, the damage is too severe to repair, but if so, getting a replacement pneumatic cylinder from Yates is an option in this case.

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