The science and technology of pressurised air, or the use of a compressed gas like nitrogen to produce force and energy, is known as pneumatics.
Pneumatics: How does it work?
Pneumatics is an easy and dependable way to make an object move, just by using clean, dry air. Pneumatic systems use this compressed air to produce mechanical motion & power applications to ‘do work’ in factory automation systems. Pneumatics are seen in a range of other applications too, from fairground rides and trucks, medical applications and food preparation through to air tools and blow moulding.
An air compressor is used in pneumatics to compress the air and raise its pressure. After passing through a filter and into pneumatic tubing, it is then regulated by valves before arriving at an actuator, which completes the process. That could be a cylinder or a tool that does a task, like lifting, moving, or gripping.
By driving linear & rotary motion applications, Pneumatic systems can be used as a substitute for electric actuators and motors. Because pneumatic systems exert less force than hydraulic systems and can easily absorb excessive stress, they are typically employed with fewer weights.
As manufacturing makes advances, and with developments in seals such as corrosion resistance, the environments in which pneumatic systems can be used have increased, with pneumatics comparable to some electric automated systems. Pneumatics is such a versatile way to power tools and machinery, it remains an important technology in several sectors.
When choosing a pneumatics system for industrial applications, take into account the operating sequence you need. It is easy to actuate an output motion or apply a force using pneumatics, which operates in both linear and rotating motion.
For optimum performance, you must take the pressure and flow needs into account when selecting a pneumatics system. The pneumatics system might not function properly if the wrong components are used.
Since flow and pressure are two distinct phenomena, each should be managed separately. Compressed air systems’ pressure regulation does not provide exact flow control, which could raise energy expenses.
Whereas pressure is a force applied across a given area, the flow is the volume of compressed air moved in a given time. Greater pressure over a small area can be the same as lower pressure over a larger area. Flow control works by restricting the orifice through which air can flow – as it closes, less air can flow, at a given pressure, in a given time.
Pneumatics and pneumatics systems normally require little maintenance, however, leaks and corrosion should be carefully watched for. The pneumatics system will also operate properly if a filtering system is used and the air supply is monitored.
Typical applications of pneumatics
Pneumatics is prevalent in commercial vehicles, ranging from usage in cab and chassis through to engines; the energy sector, including the oil & gas and power generation industries, and food & beverage where pneumatics is present in everything from blow moulding bottles through to process automation and packaging.
The energy sector, which includes the oil and gas and power generation industries, as well as the food and beverage industry, where pneumatics is used in everything from blow moulding bottles to process automation and packaging, are all areas where pneumatics is widely used in commercial vehicles.
Pneumatics are also at work in life sciences, such as medical equipment, and the global rail industry where it’s used in applications like door control and suspension.
Pneumatics are also used across manufacturing to power factory automation systems and is typically seen in sectors like materials handling and packaging.
Some types of industrial machinery, including paint sprayers, also employ pneumatics. It is also frequently heard and seen in power equipment like road drills, which use compressed air to push a metal chisel into the pavement through a pipe.