What Is a Stainless Steel Pneumatic Cylinder?

Posted on Dec 31, 2020

Stainless Steel Pneumatic Cylinder

Stainless steel pneumatic cylinders are mechanical accessories that are used for converting energy of compressed air to rotary or reciprocating linear motion applications. Stainless steel pneumatic cylinder is preferred by operators since the process is quiet, clean, requires less space for fluid storage, reduces the risks of contamination because the working fluid in the system is gas. 

What Is a Stainless Steel Pneumatic Cylinder?

Stainless steel pneumatic cylinders are mechanical accessories that are used for converting energy of compressed air to rotary or reciprocating linear motion applications. Stainless steel pneumatic cylinder is preferred by operators since the process is quiet, clean, requires less space for fluid storage, reduces the risks of contamination because the working fluid in the system is gas. 

Pneumatic cylinders are also known as air cylinders, mostly worked as an actuator in a variety of systems, produce the force by utilizing compressed gas and move the piston in the commanded directions in the system. The function and operation is similar to hydraulic cylinders. The piston is a disc, and the piston rod is responsible for conveying the created forces to move the loads. Leakage from stainless steel pneumatic cylinders is not going to drip out or contaminate other components in the machines. This benefit is especially essential in some applications that require a clean environment. 


Actuator and Pneumatic Cylinder

Similar to hydraulic cylinders, stainless steel pneumatic cylinders act as the actuator or "motor" of the devices. What is an actuator? The actuator is a vital part which is responsible for driving and regulating the mechanisms in different industrial machines. For example, controlling the open and close of the valves and the direction of the flows. There are a wide variety of actuators, all of which  need signals and also the energy source in order to drive the system under control.

In general, the energy sources of actuators include but are not limited to pneumatic pressure, hydraulic pressure, and electric current. As for the commanding signals might come from human operation, hydraulic fluid pressure or pneumatic pressure or the computer software.

All types of actuators require signals or instructions and also the source of energy. Once the actuators receive the commanding signals, the energy will be converted into the driving force form to regulate the fixed mechanical or electronic operations in the machines. Different styles of machine systems that involve the actuators are considered automation or automatically controlled, which are common to see across industries. Some common applications are those used in drivers in manufacturing machines, printer drivers, and so on.

:: Read more : An Introduction to Air Cylinder Actuator


How Does a Stainless Steel Pneumatic Cylinder Work?

The basic elements of the stainless steel pneumatic cylinder include the extended port, the tie rod, the retract port, the piston, the piston rod and finally the barrel. The stainless steel pneumatic cylinder barrel is sealed with a head cap and end cap; in the enclosed system, the piston drives the piston rod radially. While the compressed air passes through the extended port and comes in the system, the piston will move and force the piston rod out. The operation is known as positive movement or plus movement. The chamber which is incorporated with the positive movement is known as the plus chamber. Another chamber is mounted on the opposite side, which moves back to the home position as the compressed air comes into the retract port.

Control valves are also needed to introduce the compressed air to pass through the extended port or open another port in stainless steel air cylinders. The pneumatic pressure differentials between two sides of the cylinder piston forms the force that multiplies the differentials due to the designed area of the piston. While the force is stronger over the loads that the air cylinder is going to move, the piston and rod can extend and successfully drive the mechanism of the machines.

The diameter of the stainless steel pneumatic cylinder refers to the inner diameter of the air cylinder or the diameter of the cylinder piston. The stroke lengths stand for the lengths that the piston and rod can move. The cylinder diameter and the stroke length are both significant to determine the functions and suitable use.


Different Types of Stainless Steel Pneumatic Cylinder


● Single Acting Pneumatic Cylinders:

Single acting pneumatic cylinders have only one working port. The single port guides compressed air into the cylinder and moves the piston to desired position. Since the compressed air is only provided to one side, when the pneumatic pressure is removed, the single acting style of cylinder retracts the piston back to the home position by utilizing inner spring or only gravity.

Single acting type of stainless steel pneumatic cylinder is only suitable for operations that work in one direction. Two common applications are lifting the loads and pressing. In some pressure loss or power loss cases, a single acting air cylinder is capable of returning the piston to original position, which is an advantage of this style. As for the disadvantages of the single acting type, the output of the driving force for the machine might be inconsistent due to the incorporation with opposing spring force. In addition, the stroke lengths of this type of air cylinder are limited due to the space that the mechanical spring occupied.


● Double Acting Pneumatic Cylinders:

Double acting style has two ports as mentioned in previous introduction in the cylinder structure. This is the typical construction and most common type of stainless steel pneumatic cylinder. The ports, the extend port and retract port or cap-end port and rod-end port, are respectively working at each end, receiving high pneumatic pressure and direct the position of the piston. Despite these components and arrangement consumes more energy than single acting type, double acting type is more versatile because it can be used for moving loads in multiple directions, providing the operators full and easier control of the system. One significant advantage of this type of air cylinder is the longer strokes, which can be up to several meters. The output force for driving the mechanisms is also consistent through the full strokes.

These features all make the air cylinder much more suitable for controlling the system at higher operation speed. As for the disadvantages of this style, since the double acting pneumatic cylinders require the compressed air supplied in different directions, if encountering the power or pressure failure, the cylinder lacks a position to accommodate the conditions.


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