What are pneumatic actuators?
Pneumatic actuators are devices that convert energy, usually as compressed air, into a mechanical motion. They are also often referred to as cylinders.
They are used to automate a system and remove the need for human operation.
What are the advantages of pneumatic actuators?
There are numerous benefits of using pneumatic actuators
What are the different types of pneumatic actuators?
Pneumatic actuators are categorised into either linear or rotary, referring to their type of movement.
Linear actuators move something in a straight line, generally back and forth. Whereas rotary actuators move something in a circular motion, which can range from several degrees, to complete rotations.
From here, there are a great variety of different types and models of linear and rotary actuators.
Let’s start off by having a look at linear actuators.
Linear actuators move something in a straight line, generally back and forth.
In the example below, we can see in the first image, air enters the cylinder from the left. This forces the piston within to move to the right which retracts the piston rod.
In the second image, the air enters the cylinder from the right which pushes the piston within to move to the left, extending the piston rod out.
The piston rod is designed to clamp, push, pull, move, or reposition an object.
Rotary actuators move something in a circular motion, which can range from several degrees, to complete rotations. Given the greater variety of options involved with them, there are a number of different constructions of rotary actuators. Each come with their own advantages depending on your requirements.
Two common types are the “rack and pinion” style, and the “vane” style.
We’ll start off by looking at a pneumatic rack and pinion rotary actuator.
Rack and Pinion Actuators
Typically, these offer a great torque range, and can provide a large range of rotation.
The example below demonstrates one of many different types of rack and pinion rotary actuators. It is known as a double rack actuator, the benefits of which include a reduced risk of backlash, which is when rack and pinion gears are not completely aligned, causing them to wear faster. Another advantage includes the high amount of torque.
In the first image, the air is fed into the middle of the actuator, pushing the pistons out which causes the racks to move, turning the pinion and thus the shaft – which protrudes out of the actuator causing an anti-clockwise rotation.
In the second image, the air is fed to the outer chambers of the actuator, which push the pistons inwards, moving the racks, turning the pinion and shaft, and causing a clockwise rotation.
Vane actuators have the benefit of providing a constant torque output throughout the entire rotation of the shaft. They can be wedge or circular shaped.
In the below example, the first image demonstrates compressed air pushing against one side of the vane which is attached to a central shaft. The vane then moves to the right, rotating the clockwise.
The second image then demonstrates the return, with compressed air filling the right chamber, pushing the vane to the left and causing the shaft to rotate anti-clockwise.
Ready to buy?
With the help of actuators, your possibilities are endless.
We have partnered with Norgren who produce some state of the art actuators
From the ISOLine™ Profile & Tie-rod cylinders the most popular cylinder found within the industry today to the rodless Lintra™ and even the Classic heavy duty, impact ranges.
Spring extend or spring return single acting to double acting suitable for all industry applications. We are sure to have your covered.
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