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Pneumatic linear actuator applications

Pneumatic linear actuator applications

Simple, safe and sustainable, pneumatic linear actuators – or pneumatic cylinders as they are better known – provide a reliable, low-cost means of generating linear motion. As such, these industrial workhorses are used far and wide across many industrial applications. 

In this article, Matara explores some common pneumatic linear actuator applications that leverage pneumatic cylinders to improve operational efficiencies. We will also touch on specific use cases for compact and rodless pneumatic cylinders.

Read on to find out more about pneumatic linear actuator applications.

The benefits of pneumatic linear actuators

If you are a manufacturer by trade, you will undoubtedly know the benefits of using linear actuators. These hard-working components are at the core of countless automation systems and production machinery, delivering a safe, clean, efficient and maintenance-free means of generating linear motion. The result is an array of possibilities for programming automated movements, like pushing, pulling and clamping.

Of course, compared to their electric and hydraulic counterparts, pneumatic actuators (or pneumatic cylinders) provide several distinct benefits. The key advantage of a pneumatic actuator lies in its simplicity. The simple, safe and sustainable use of compressed air makes them a low-cost option for generating a range of forces, especially where electricity would otherwise pose a fire hazard.

For more information about pneumatic actuators, check out this introduction to pneumatic cylinders

Pneumatic linear actuator applications

For the reasons we have mentioned above, pneumatic linear actuators are a popular choice of actuation method across a diverse range of industrial settings and applications. Here are just a few standout application areas that benefit from using pneumatic cylinders in their automated processes.

1. Bending and clamping

Compact pneumatic cylinders employ direct pressure to extend and retract a piston rod. This action is commonly used to impart bending and clamping functions in various automated manufacturing processes. In such cases, the benefit of using compact pneumatic cylinders is that they offer a lighter, space-saving, more configurable actuation method that doesn’t sacrifice control, power or efficiency.

2. Valve actuation

Pneumatic linear actuators are often used with rising-stem valves to modulate the opening mechanism. They are commonly employed to control diaphragm and piston valves. With a diaphragm valve, air pressure moves the diaphragm up or down depending on whether the valve is normally open or closed. Piston actuators use the available air pressure to deliver the appropriate actuating force for the valve.

3. Material handling

Rodless pneumatic cylinders provide an optimal solution for material handling applications, such as pick-and-place processes in the food and beverage industry. These space-saving pneumatic linear actuators feature a piston connected to an external carriage by a magnetic or mechanical coupling system. Characterised by their long stroke, rodless cylinders are perfect for quickly, efficiently and precisely moving loads on a linear path.

4. Injection moulding

Pneumatic injection moulding involves injecting a specified amount of molten thermoplastic material under pressure into a mould. Pneumatic injection moulding machines regularly employ a double-acting pneumatic actuator to inject the molten plastic. In such applications, a flow control valve controls the airflow into the cylinder, while a directional control valve controls the direction of the piston movement.

5. Punching and pressing

Pneumatic punching machines use high-pressure gas from a compressor to create the downward force needed for punching metal and non-metal pipes and plates. The compressed air is conveyed through a pipeline to a solenoid valve, which the operator controls using a foot pedal. This engages the cylinder to exert the ensuing punching motion. Using pneumatics makes the whole process simpler, safer and more efficient.

Buy pneumatic linear actuators at Matara

Matara offers a wide range of pneumatic linear actuators, including compact and rodless cylinders, from Mindman. This highly-regarded Taiwanese manufacturer has been supplying high-quality automation components for numerous industries since 1979. As well as pneumatic cylinders, their extensive product line-up includes solenoid valves, air treatment units, electric actuators and fluid power accessories.

Matara is proud to be an official UK distributor of Mindman pneumatic cylinders. All their high-performance products are built according to ISO 9001 standards, are 100% quality inspected, and come with a minimum one-year guarantee. With a large machine shop and factory complex, we can build many pneumatic actuators in-house within the UK, including ISO VDMA, rodless and compact pneumatic cylinders. Matara has the capability and know-how to design and manufacture a range of actuator system solutions, including pneumatic actuators, to suit the requirements of your application. To learn more about our complete range of linear actuators, including high-quality pneumatic actuators, visit our store or contact us today at +44 (0)1684 850 000 or email sales@matarauk.co.uk. One of our helpful team will be happy to help.

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