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Nblida Guidelines for Selecting Pneumatic Cylinders

  • Micro Pneumatic Cylinder come in thousands of variations. Here’s a look at different types, how to calculate force, speed, and air consumptions, available options, and when to consider special designs.

    Cylinder types

    Although there are many types of cylinders, their construction is fairly similar from one to another. Basically, a cylinder is a sealed tube. It contains a rod, attached to a piston, that extends through an opening at one end. Compressed air enters through a port at one end of the cylinder, causing the piston rod to move. At the other end, a second port lets air escape. Understanding the basics helps to show how different applications affect the cylinder and piston rod.

    To avoid excessively high system pressure, experts generally recommend large cylinders for heavy or fast-moving loads.

    The first step in choosing a cylinder is deciding whether to use the single- or double-acting version. As the name implies, single-acting cylinders use compressed air to move the load in one direction, such as lifting an object. With single-acting cylinders, air is supplied to only one side of the piston, while the other side vents the air to the environment. A spring (or, in some cases, gravity) returns the piston to its original position once air pressure is removed.

    A double-acting cylinder uses compressed air to power the rod in both directions and move a load, such as opening and closing a gate. This type of cylinder uses more energy, but it’s well suited for loads that require both pushing and pulling.

    However, force calculations can get complicated. In single-acting cylinders with a spring, the spring force opposing the push or pull increases as the stroke progresses. And in double-acting cylinders, push and pull forces are not equal, as designers must account for the rod area in making force calculations. Manufacturers’ catalogs often list push and pull values for both double-acting and single-acting cylinders, with and without springs, simplifying calculations for users.


    Speed affects productivity, longevity, and controllability. Calculate the stroking speed of a pneumatic cylinder from:

    s = 28.8q/A

    where s = speed, ips; q = airflow in standard cubic feet/minute; and A = piston area, in.2

    Other factors that might affect speed include port sizes, inlet and exhaust flow through control valves, and hose or tubing sizes — if they create bottlenecks that restrict air flow to or from the cylinder. Likewise, air pressure that is barely capable of moving the load will hamper speed.

    With any fixed combination of valve, cylinder, pressure, and load, it is usually necessary to have adjustable control over cylinder speed. Flow controls at the cylinder ports let users tune speed to their application.

    For most applications, unidirectional flow regulators installed to restrict flow out of the cylinder and permit free flow in give the best results. A regulator in the rod-end port controls extension speed, and one on the cap-end port controls retraction.

    Air consumption

    It's often necessary to calculate the cylinder’s air consumption carefully, to make sure enough air will be available, especially in fast-cycling applications. Make sure that the compressor has the capacity to supply your pneumatic equipment even in worst-case conditions, as air starvation at a crucial moment will adversely affect performance.


    Mounting configuration defines how a cylinder is attached to the equipment. Many mountings are produced as standard, both rigid and articulated, which makes it easier to fulfil specific movement requirements for your application. If the style of cylinder you want doesn't have the appropriate hardware to match your desired mounting position, it can be modified, but commissioning unique hardware will cause delays and add to the cost.


    Pneumatic cylinders are usually made of brass, steel, stainless steel, aluminium, engineered polymers or a combination of several materials. What material you choose will depend on its suitability for the operational environment. The same goes for seal materials, but alternatives can be specified for operation in hazardous environments.

    Custom actuators

    Sometimes standard components just won't do the job and you need a custom design. This may mean devising a new configuration for standard and/or modified components, or inventing a whole new unit. If you're looking for a high level of efficiency, complex motion control, or components that don't presently fit standard combinations, you might consider this option. These days, intelligent design is much more able to incorporate specialised configurations and will create custom products that precisely fit your requirements.

    That's all information, if you want to know more information please visit the professional Pneumatic Cylinder manufacturer https://www.nblida.com/product/actuators/lqw-series-micro-cylinder.html