How To Use Pneumatic Cylinders

First of all, what are pneumatic cylinders? Pneumatic cylinders are devices that produce energy by turning the potential energy of compressed air into kinetic energy. They are used in many applications in many industries such as hydraulics, electronics, transportation, and many more. They are also used to power many common household appliances, such as in vacuum and ventilation systems. Their main components include a solenoid valve, cushions, tubing (usually colored grey) and pistons.

  1. Know of the safety guidelines. When you purchase pneumatic cylinders be sure to read up on the safety guidelines first. Though it’s relatively easy to use them, they also have the potential to cause much damage and injury if the cylinder rod activates suddenly and with much force. One of the precautionary measures you could take includes wearing safety goggles when handling high-pressure pneumatic cylinders. It is also important to install fail safe mechanisms to ensure that system locks would be initiated in case there are some malfunctions in the pneumatic cylinder system.
  2. Know which type of pneumatic cylinder to use. There are many different available types and sizes of pneumatic cylinders. For example, there are single acting cylinders (wherein the piston moves in only one direction, and a spring mechanism is used to move it to the other, opposite direction); double-acting cylinders (which has two different ports on the tubing to allow air pressure to both extend and retract the cylinder piston); rotary air cylinders, and rodless air cylinders. Sizes also vary, from as small as 2.5 millimeters to 400 millimeters – the sizes would affect the pressure that the cylinder would exert, even though other factors would need to be taken into consideration, namely the force exerted, the radius of the cylinder, and the value of pi.
  3. Use the right voltage. Though this is a very basic tip, this is also one of the most important to remember. Using higher voltage than necessary would cause accidents such as electrocution or mechanism failures, while using a lower voltage than required would mean less efficiency. For example, if you would need to put the device in a wet environment, 12 to 24 volts would probably be enough (of course it would also depend on other factors, such as the size and the required pressure: make sure that you consult a qualified electrician to help you in this regard).
  4. Practice proper maintenance. To keep your cylinder in sterling condition, as well as to avoid accidents, make sure that you know how to practice proper maintenance. It is highly important that you repair air leaks right away. Never let pneumatic cylinders freeze. Also, don’t replace fittings with non-rated parts – as much as possible, try to replace them with parts that are of the same brand as the original.
  5. Know of your options. There are some pneumatic cylinders offered that are more energy-efficient and more simple mechanisms that make it easier to operate. Try out the “green solutions” offered at Look up cylinder catalogs at,, and Be guided by the how-to-order chart available at

Do comparisons between different types of pneumatic cylinders by going to such websites as, Read up on the most recent innovations and breakthroughs on pneumatics technology at

There you have it! Though using pneumatic cylinders aren’t that complicated, just remember that the important thing is to follow proper safety guidelines and maintenance practices. Good luck!


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