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Pneumatic actuators are regularly used across a variety of industrial applications. Pneumatic actuators provide controlled and limited movements, or positioning of items, within an application with a push and pull function. With this in mind, actuators generally operate via one of two basic motions. These are linear and rotary actuator motions. 

Actuators come in various different types and can assist your production and positioning processes to ensure a smarter workflow. Read on to find out more about electro-pneumatic actuators and how they might be suited to your industrial application. 

How does an electric actuator work?

Put simply, an electric actuator is a device that creates movement of a load or generates an action that requires some form of force to take place. Using an electric motor enables the electric actuator to make the force necessary for this to take place. This electric motor creates a rotary or linear action that drives the actuator forward to create movement. 

In order to do this, the electric motor is controlled by an electric drive which allows for the speed at which the motion takes place to be controlled. Thus, controlling the linear or rotary speed of the actuator. A feedback system is put in place to provide feedback on the position of the actuator, which enables the actuator to move the item into position, stop and then move on or alternatively return to its resting position. 

With this in mind, electric actuators are quite intuitive and can be easily programmed to meet a variety of application requirements. 

What is a pneumatic actuator?

Pneumatic actuators are a highly reliable, efficient and safe way to control motion within an industrial application. Pneumatic actuators operate by using pressurised air or gas to convert energy into a rotary or linear motion. As a result of this, pneumatic actuators are often selected for use in the repeated opening and closing of valves or other industrial applications. 

One particular area in which pneumatic actuators excel is for use in areas with flammable or ignitable materials in which an electric actuator may cause a spark to ignite. 

In order to work, pneumatic actuators rely heavily on some form of pressurised air or gas, which enters a chamber and builds up in pressure. When it has built up enough pressure this results in a controlled kinetic movement of a device, such as a piston or a valve. The resulting movement can be directed through linear or rotary motions. 

What is an electro-pneumatic actuator?

Manufacturing environments of today demand precise movement and control. By implementing actuators into your manufacturing process, precise control of movement can be quite easily achieved. 

Electro-pneumatic actuators combine the best of both worlds and are often considered a cost-effective alternative to electromechanical and electrohydraulic actuators. This makes them best suited to lower-power applications. Electro-pneumatic actuators are widely used to automate a number of areas of industrial applications, from production to assembly and packaging systems. 

With electro-pneumatic actuators, the pneumatic components are controlled by electrical components including sensors, switches and industrial computer systems. The use of electric components replaces the manual control that was traditionally used in pneumatic systems. 

What are the benefits of using an electro-pneumatic actuator?

Implementing an electro-pneumatic actuator system into your production process can unveil a number of clear benefits. The primary one being that they offer greater reliability as the moving parts are generally subjected to less wear compared to mechanical control systems due to the electrical control of the actuator system. 

Furthermore, the electrical control system, including sensors and switches, can be easily changed and modified compared to replacing mechanical components. An additional benefit of electro-pneumatic actuators for position systems is that they enable dynamic positioning as a result of a quick parameter setting, with extreme accuracy. 

For applications that require high levels of control and the ability to make timely changes to the positioning system, electro-pneumatic actuation systems may be best-suited to your application. Why not speak to the team at Best Pneumatics to find out more about the range of electro-pneumatic actuation devices we can supply and how to select the most appropriate solution for your application? 

What applications do electro-pneumatic actuator systems suit?

Electro-pneumatic actuators offer an economical solution for a broad range of automation applications. As a result of their simple and straightforward installation and intuitive control solutions, electro-pneumatic actuator systems are well-suited to a variety of material handling systems, such as pick and place. 

Furthermore, electro-pneumatic actuators are ideal for use with gate control and damper control systems that require precise control. Put simply, electro-pneumatic actuator systems are the ideal solution to any application that requires force control in addition to accurate positioning. 

Buy electro-pneumatic actuators from Best Pneumatics

Here at Best Pneumatics, we have a wide range of electro-pneumatic actuators to suit a range of industrial application settings. If you need assistance selecting the most appropriate pneumatic actuator, electric actuator or electro-pneumatic actuator for your application, contact BEST Pneumatic’s helpful sales team at [email protected] or on +44 (0) 1254 390 555.

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Categories: Company News

Here at BEST Pneumatics, we pride ourselves on the quality of the products we supply to each and every one of our customers, including out ISO cylinders from SMC. Now, a new analysis on the pneumatic ISO cylinders market has confirmed our commitment to high-quality standards by revealing that the SMC ISO cylinders we supply are at the forefront of the list of key players within the market.

What does the new analysis mean?

The latest analysis report on the pneumatic iso cylinders market takes into account the key components and drivers influencing today’s market, in particular the performance of ISO cylinder devices.  This includes the integration of the latest technology, the widescale use globally and the demand and supply patterns within the industry as a whole.

With these factors in mind, the market for Pneumatic ISO Cylinders has been categorised into segments based on type, application and regional/country analysis. Visit Pneumatic ISO Cylinders Market Outlook to get a free sample of the report.

BEST Pneumatics ISO cylinders range

We offer a comprehensive range of ISO cylinders on behalf of SMC, covering pretty much every type with options available for pretty much every application. From single-acting to double-acting, we have you covered, with the capability to meet demands for a variety of specifications when it comes to bore sizes and stroke lengths.

Not only do we have standard ISO cylinders available within our range but we can also support applications that are required to operate within extreme or hazardous environments, with compact sizes available, ATEX approved. 

Some of our most popular ISO cylinders include the SMC C85 series, which is ISO 6432 certified. This range offers both single and double-acting cylinders, and such benefits include:  

  • A unique rod packing design that prevents the entry of dust.
  • Abrasion-resistant packings
  • Replaceable nose seals
  • Exceptional service life

We also offer the ISO cylinder C96 series which complies with ISO 15552 that benefits from reduced weight, improved cushioning function and shortened cycle time. It also reduces the impact noise at stroke end and is available in standard bore sizes as well as double-acting single rod cylinder configuration.

To learn more about there series’ and all of our available ISO devices, visit our Pneumatic ISO Cylinders page.

Leading suppliers of pneumatic actuators & cylinders

Here at Best Pneumatics, we have a comprehensive offering of pneumatic actuators to suit a range of industrial application settings. If you need assistance selecting the most appropriate pneumatic actuators or pneumatic ISO cylinders that are recognised as being industry-leading for your application, contact our helpful sales team at [email protected] or on +44 (0) 1254 390 555.

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Categories: Guides

Rodless cylinders are considered to be excellent for operation within automatic applications. In this article, we take a look at the options available for pneumatic actuators, their use in automatic applications, and exactly how a rodless cylinder does work. 

First, let’s get a quick refresh on Pneumatic actuators and how they are the unsung heroes of automatic applications. In recent times, electric actuators have taken the starring role due to their precision control and acceleration/deceleration rates, and hydraulic actuators still steal the show where loads are weighty. 

However, where an application needs clean operation, minimal financial investment and high force to speed ratios, pneumatic actuators remain the most effective equipment for the job. That is the reason you will find them throughout processing and manufacturing plants in a broad range of operations. 

How do pneumatic actuators work?

An actuator converts energy – usually electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic – into mechanical force to enable controlled movement. In the world of automation, actuators are used in robotic arms, in shifting loads between processes, for adjusting the height of equipment such as saw blades, or for jobs within the packaging process. Any process that requires movement is likely to involve an actuator of some kind. 

A pneumatic actuator uses pressurised air or gas to convert potential energy into rotary or linear motion. For the majority of pneumatic actuators in automatic applications, they have linear stroke setups with two or more piston stops. It is common to use air cushions or damping seals to minimise the stop times.

Why use a pneumatic actuator?

As well as being cost-effective and offering an excellent force-speed ratio, pneumatic actuators perform well in situations where sparking from an electric actuator could cause a potential fire hazard, such as with flammable materials or chemicals. They are also especially appropriate for the rapid operation of valves. 

Pneumatic cylinders are often the preferred option in industrial settings because compressed air is readily available. They can function between 15 and 110 psi and come in both single- and double-acting variants. 

Single-acting actuators will only move loads in one direction; they are of a straightforward design, which is an advantage where ruggedness and reliability are required. 

Double-acting actuators are more common within automated applications; they move loads both back and forward or up and down, providing an excellent level of control overload movements. 

What are the benefits of a rodless actuator?

Rodless actuators are extremely common in processing and manufacturing environments. Since the housing contains the entire actuator assembly, the overall footprint of the product for any given movement is smaller than a conventional linear actuator. This gives them greater structural strength and load-bearing characteristics. 

Rod-type cylinders carry restrictions in terms of the ability to offer long strokes; because the cylinder rod is unsupported, it tends to flex in the extended position, which can lead to premature wear and the need for more regular maintenance. Rodless cylinders, however, are held within a self-contained unit, which means fewer components and a longer lifecycle as well as more controlled, precise movement. 

Rodless pneumatic cylinders can be configured in endless ways to suit any number of production processes, and it is this versatility that makes them such a popular choice. 

How does a rodless cylinder work?

With rodless cylinders, an internal piston moves within the cylinder barrel where compressed air drives it. Depending on the air pressure on each port, the piston moves in either direction along the length of the cylinder. The piston is attached to a carrier that is attached to a load and moves with the piston. There are usually buffers at both ends of the barrel to prevent hard stops after full travel. This design gives the advantages of having a stroke length that is comparable to the assembly’s size, no rod buckling to worry about with high loads or long strokes, and it delivers the same force in both directions.

Clients often ask us questions such as how does a rodless cylinder work and what are the benefits of pneumatic rodless actuators in an automation environment? We hope to have offered some explanation in answer to those questions.

We have a complete range of rodless actuators in stock and the expertise to offer guidance on which one would be best suited to any given application. Contact Best Pneumatics on 01254 390555 or [email protected].

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Categories: Guides

Pneumatic actuators are fundamental to many processing plants and manufacturers, selected for their ability to work tirelessly on compressed air with high force to speed ratios and a relatively low financial investment upfront. However, there is a raft of pneumatic actuators, including single- and double-acting, rod and rodless, linear and rotary.


Not only that, but they can be configured in a whole variety of ways depending on the process that they are driving. So, if you are asking yourself the question: how do I choose a pneumatic actuator? You are not alone. We have put together 5 top tips to help when choosing your pneumatic actuator.

Consider the directional force required for your actuator

Whether you want your pneumatic actuator to work only in one direction, or to have the ability to use force either back and forth or up and down, will dictate whether you should opt for a single- or double-acting actuator. Single-acting cylinders use one airport to let compressed air enter the cylinder to move the piston to the desired position. There is an internal mechanism to return the piston to the rest position when the pressure is removed, usually a spring. This means a single action actuator can only do work in one direction. Double-acting cylinders have an air port at each end and will move the piston forward and back by alternating the port that receives the high-pressure air. These actuators can do a full load in both directions. So, your first question is: Do you want your actuator to travel in both directions? 

Think about the load that you need the actuator to move

How much work do you need the actuator to do? Pneumatic cylinders have no fine-grained control. All the force of the piston is supplied until the extent of the cylinder is reached. The theoretical force available in a pneumatic actuator is the piston surface area multiplied by the supplied air pressure. In single-action cylinders the return mechanism force must be subtracted. Your second question, therefore, is: how much load should my pneumatic actuator carry? 

What is the required distance of travel for the load on your actuator?

The required distance for the load to move determines stroke length of the actuator. Actuators with rods tend to be better for extension of loads whereas rodless actuators have a stroke length roughly equal to that of the overall assembly but can carry a higher load. You need to think about how far you need your pneumatic actuator to travel each time. 

Consider the working space available for the actuator

The amount of space available for the actuator to operate in defines either the cylinder and piston length or a rodless actuator’s physical dimensions. Rodless actuators have a smaller overall footprint and are therefore often favoured within processing environments where space can be limited. The question here, then, is: how much room do I have for my pneumatic actuator to work within?

What level of control do you need from your pneumatic actuator?

Rodless cylinders tend to have greater precision compared to other linear actuators, which is vital if you are looking for accuracy and repeatability. However, if your key attribute is speed or force, this may not be the best option. 

When choosing your pneumatic actuator there are a whole variety of issues to consider. Space available and distance of travel, the precision required, the load type and weight and the directional force needed are just some of the factors you need to take into account. If you are still asking, how do I choose a pneumatic actuator? Why not speak to the experts? 

Best Pneumatics have a vast range of pneumatic actuators available to select from, as well as the expertise and know-how to guide you in your choice. Call Best Pneumatics for a discussion on which pneumatic actuator will best suit your application on 01254 39055 or email [email protected].

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