Know Your Pneumatics: Basics of Air Bellows

Know Your Pneumatics Basics of Air Bellows-Air Bellows Products-Pneumatic Division Europe-Automation Group-Parker Hannifin CorporationPneumatic air bellows are most commonly used for raising and lowering functions. They are particularly suitable for applications that require short stroke (up to 410mm) and high load capability (up to 237,600N at 7 bar). When depressurized, air bellows are capable of fitting into small spaces, making them ideal for moving or clamping very heavy or awkwardly shaped loads.

They are usually specified instead of pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders due to their bigger available operating diameters. Air bellows are used like a single actuator, with the return stroke being provided in part by the natural spring action of the bellows or by the load itself, or for isolating against vibrations (like an isolator). Compared with other conventional pneumatic cylinders, air bellows provide a frictionless thrust as no reciprocating metal parts are incorporated within it.

Air bellows, such as Parker’s 9109 and SP series, are usually manufactured from fabric reinforced synthetic rubber, which can operate at one, two or three convolutions depending on the model and the stroke.

Know Your Pneumatics Basics of Air Bellows-Air Bellows Materials-Pneumatic Division Europe-Automation Group-Parker Hannifin Corporation   Know Your Pneumatics Basics of Air Bellows-Air Bellows Construction-Pneumatic Division Europe-Automation Group-Parker Hannifin Corporation

The simplicity of an air bellows construction means they provide extremely long and virtually maintenance-free service life, even under arduous operating conditions. They are also easy to install with no real precise alignment required as they usually feature just one air inlet port.


With a simplistic design, air bellows are very flexible and can be utilized in a variety of ways.

  • Actuating and conveying – With fast stroke movements and exact response, air bellows can be specified for transferring, oscillating or loading applications
  • Tensioning – Air bellows operate with angular movement and lateral flexibility so can be used to easily control tensioning force on applications such as roller tensioners, belt tensioners or pressure rollers

Know Your Pneumatics Basics of Air Bellows-Air Bellows Applications-Pneumatic Division Europe-Automation Group-Parker Hannifin Corporation

  • Lifting and leveraging – With high force and a range of tilting angles, air bellows are ideal for lifting or levering applications such as pantographs on rail applications
  • Clamping and locking – The exact responsiveness of air bellows makes them ideal for use on locking applications. With a simple design and construction from non-harmful material, air bellows deliver long service life in rough ambient conditions ensuring no escape of environmentally harmful media if the bellow actuator is damaged
  • Vibration isolation – With constant operating height and low frequency, air bellows can be used for load-independent vibration isolation as the operating height can be adjusted via air pressure

Learn more

You can download our catalog or use our configurator on our air bellows product page.

Watch our video on how to optimise results from your Parker Pneumatic Air Bellows.


Know Your Pneumatics - Basics of Air Bellows-Franck Roussillon EMEA Product Manager Automation Actuators-Pneumatic Division Europe-Parker Hannifin CorporationArticle contributed by Franck Roussillon, EMEA product manager -  Automation Actuators, Pneumatic Division Europe, Parker Hannifin Corporation.





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