Know Your Pneumatics: Selecting a Pneumatic Cylinder | Operating Environments

Selecting a Pneumatic Cylinder-Operating Environments-GettyImages-558949165 - clean operating environment-pneumatic cylinders-Pneumatic Division Europe-Parker Hannifin CorporationWhen selecting a pneumatic cylinder, it’s important to consider all aspects of the operating environment to ensure you make the correct choice. Environmental factors can sometimes be overlooked when selecting a pneumatic cylinder, but they are important if design engineers want to optimize operation, maximize working life and ensure reliability.

The factors to consider include ambient temperature, operating media/chemicals and other fluids or materials present.

Operating temperature

For a standard cylinder, fundamental performance characteristics are often specified for an operating temperature range of -20°C to 80°C. However, if your application operates beyond this limit then it’s important to opt for a variant designed to cope with more challenging applications.

There are some pneumatic cylinder product variants that, with the help of specific higher performance lubricants and special sealing materials, can operate effectively in either extreme low temperature environments (down to -40°C) or in higher temperature environments (up to 150°C).

Selecting a Pneumatic Cylinder - Operating Environments - P1D-X-Extreme Termperature Cylinders - Pneumatic Division Europe - Parker Hannifin Corporation

Our P1D-X, an ISO 15552 profile cylinder for high and low temperature applications with corrosion resistant body for harsh conditions, is one such cylinder.

Corrosive environments

When operating in a potentially corrosive environment, you need to consider a final product selection specially designed for the challenge. In a dry and ‘non-aggressive’ environment, a cylinder with a chromium steel piston rod will normally suffice.

However, in humid operating environments such as those with risk of salt spray, all external cylinder surfaces will need to be coated, and the piston rod should be made of stainless steel.

In other applications, deposits on the piston rod can cause issues, e.g., sugar sediment in food equipment or resins, asphalts and even cement in other applications. To alleviate this problem, options exist to install metal scraper rings as opposed to plastic or rubber versions with the piston rod seal to remove the residue before it can cause damage to the cylinder assembly.

Clean environments

In food and beverage production, where specific technology of the pneumatic cylinder may be required, you need to choose a variant with special ‘clean’ design features that reduce the amount of entrapment points for bacteria.

A further challenge in food production environments is the frequent washing of the work area, which can lead to damage to static and dynamic gaskets and seals. As a result, engineers may need to select a cylinder with a self-lubricating piston  and therefore designed for dry rod operation, such as our P1D-C Ultra Clean series, an ISO 15552 profile cylinder.

Selecting a Pneumatic Cylinder - Operating Environments - P1D-S-ISO-Standard Cylinders - Pneumatic Division Europe - Parker Hannifin Corporation

Explosive environments

An atmosphere with the potential to become explosive during operating conditions (or under the influence of those surroundings) requires a pneumatic cylinder that is ATEX-rated. These environments usually include chemical plants, mines and flour mills. Products covered by directive 94/9/EC are defined as intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

Our P1S series of stainless steel pneumatic cylinders are ISO 6431 that can be supplied ATEX certified for use in these types of explosive environments.

Learn more

The challenges for pneumatic cylinders are as numerous as the sectors in which they are needed to operate. Downtime costs money and lost production must be avoided for anything other than routine maintenance. Hence careful selection based on operating requirements and prevailing environmental factors must be given proper attention from the outset.

Compare features of Parker pneumatic cylinders to find the best one for your application environment

Selecting a Pneumatic Cylinder - Operating Environments - Rebecca Hammes - Pneumatic Division Europe - Parker Hannifin CorporationArticle contributed by Rebecca Hammes, Business Unit Manager for Actuators, Pneumatic Division Europe, Parker Hannifin Corporation.  





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