Pneumatic System Components

Learn why each component plays an integral role in the performance of your system.

By definition, pneumatic movement means “the use of gas flowing under pressure to transmit power from one location to another”. Pneumatics is the use of pressurized gas that enables motion and that force or motion may be in the form of pushing, pulling, rotating, regulating or driving. A sustainable supply of compressed air can be made by compressing atmospheric air, which is why pneumatic components work so well in fixed installation, such as manufacturing facilities and factories.

Pneumatic systems use a variety of components to affect movement, as well as for control purposes.  For efficient movement and control, the following pneumatic equipment components are used:

Air Compressor

As an air exhausting mechanism, this pneumatic equipment component sucks in outside air, compresses it and harnesses the air for use in your process.

Pneumatic Cylinders

Cylinders are a mechanical device in a pneumatic system that produces force via compressed air.  Once pneumatic cylinders are actuated, compressed air enters into the tube at one end of the piston and imparts force on the piston, which causes the piston to move.

Pneumatic Fittings

This pneumatic equipment component provides control for your process by connecting to valves and providing leak-free pneumatic movement.

Pneumatic Tubing

The basic function of pneumatic tubing and hose is to convey pressurized air to actuators, valves, tools and other devices.

Pneumatic Valves

Controlling air flow in your pneumatic device is essential in ensuring that your process runs efficiently. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pneumatic Control Components

Advantages:      

  • Simplicity of design and control – Machines are easily designed using standard cylinders and other components and operate via simple on-off control.
  • Durable and reliable – Pneumatic components are extremely durable and cannot be damaged easily. Pneumatic systems generally have long operating lives and require little maintenance. Because gas is compressible, equipment is less subject to shock damage. Gas absorbs excessive force, whereas fluid in hydraulics directly transfers force. Compressed gas can be stored, so machines still run for a while if electrical power is lost.
  • Safety – Pneumatic systems are safe because they can work in inflammable environments without causing fire or explosion. Overloading pneumatic components results in sliding or cessation of operation instead of burning or overheating like electromotive components.  
  • Highly effective – Many factories have equipped their production lines with compressed air supplies and movable compressors. There is an unlimited supply of air in our atmosphere to produce compressed air. Moreover, the use of compressed air is not restricted by distance, as it can easily be transported through pipes. After use, compressed air can be released directly into the atmosphere without the need of processing.
  • High adaptability to harsh environments – Compared to the elements of other systems, compressed air is less affected by high temperature, dust, corrosion, etc.
  • Easy selection of speed and pressure – The speeds of rectilinear and oscillating movement of pneumatic systems are easy to adjust and subject to few limitations. The pressure and the volume of air can easily be adjusted by a pressure regulator.
  • Economical – As pneumatic components are not expensive, the costs of pneumatic systems are quite low. Moreover, as pneumatic systems are very durable, the cost of repair is significantly lower than that of other systems.

Disadvantages:

  • Relatively low accuracy – As pneumatic systems are powered by the force provided by compressed air, their operation is subject to the volume of the compressed air. As the volume of air may change when compressed or heated, the supply of air to the system may not be accurate, causing a decrease in the overall accuracy of the system.
  • Low loading – As the cylinders of pneumatic components are not very large, a pneumatic system cannot drive loads that are too heavy.
  • Processing required before use – Compressed air must be processed before use to ensure the absence of water vapor or dust. Otherwise, the moving parts of the pneumatic components may wear out quickly due to friction.

Choosing the right components can be challenging since some pneumatic systems are more complex than others. We help you choose the best solution for your application and make sure you’re running at peak performance. From system evaluation to engineering solutions, installing projects and integrating systems, to providing service and distributing parts and equipment, we manage the entire process from start to finish for you.

For details on our complete line of pneumatic system components, or for information on the importance of pneumatic equipment in today’s automated facilities, contact us at 800.582.5162, visit jhfoster.com or email us at solutions@jhfoster.com.