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Explaining the Basic Principles of Pneumatic Systems

Pneumatic System in Use for Food Processing

Pneumatic power systems are used for an ever increasing variety of applications.

The Basics of Fluid Power Systems

Fluid power is a way to move big stuff, move it fast, and do it in a really small package. Fluid power uses a gas or liquid under pressure to move a piston or shaft to do work.

Pneumatic and hydraulic systems, otherwise referred to as fluid power systems, function based on interplay between competing forces. Fluid power means transmitting power, converting power to a usable form and transferring the power to where it’s needed. Fluid power systems use liquids (hydraulic systems) and gases (pneumatic systems) to transmit power. AIA manufactures precisions hydraulic and pneumatic components and has been a proud partner to numerous companies in the fluid power industry.

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Why Choose Fluid Power Systems over Electrical or Mechanical Systems?

Fluid power produces linear motion using pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders as opposed to electrical and mechanical methods. You don’t need electrical power for fluid power systems, eliminating the risk of shocks, fire, sparks, or even explosions. They do not use electricity to operate, meaning a large and expensive explosion-proof case is not needed.

Pneumatic systems will simply stall when broken instead of possibly exploding like electrical motors. Medical facilities also use pneumatics in place of hydraulics for the same reason as food manufacturers. They are much safer and cause almost no contamination if they break.

Pneumatics are also favored for their resistance to heat; electric motors are prone to overheating but with gas, pneumatic systems do not produce nearly as much heat due to the compressed air constantly carrying heat away.

Understanding the Difference Between Pneumatic and Hydraulic Systems

Heavy Equipment Utilizes Hydraulic Systems

Hydraulic systems are typically preferred in heavy equipment and machines requiring major power transmission.

The important principles of pneumatics are essentially the same as hydraulic systems, but there are several distinctions to keep in mind.

  1. Pneumatics utilizes gas instead of liquid to transfer power
  2. Because gas can be compressed, there is a delay in movement in pneumatic systems
  3. Pneumatics generates higher energy costs due to energy lost from heat production during compression
  4. Hydraulics handles greater force than pneumatics

Air is pumped into a receiver and compressed, ready to be used by the pneumatic system as needed. The air taken from the area around the compressor is filled with contaminants such as dirt, dust, and water vapor. To combat this, strong filters are installed to keep the air clean and dry.

Advantages of Pneumatics over Hydraulics

The use of gas offers pneumatics several advantages over hydraulics.

The use of pneumatics technology has led to advances in medical and industrial technology which were previously unheard of.

Applications of Pneumatic Systems

Custom Cast Cylinders for Fluid Power Systems

Versa-Bar's unique metallurgical makeup makes it perfect for custom parts for the fluid power industry.

Factory automation is the most common sector for pneumatics operations, most packaging and manufacturing require precise, repetitive movement and pneumatic systems are perfect for those applications. Pneumatics are capable of much more than just fast repetitive motion. The gas used in these systems allows for a cushioning effect. Knowing this, manufacturers have implemented pneumatics into squeezing and pressing functions as well.

Additionally, because pneumatic systems use lower pressure than hydraulics, they can be built using lighter and cheaper materials, making them an absolute favorite for industrial companies.

Common Examples of Pneumatic Systems

This is a tiny list. Pneumatics are used in almost every industry you can think of, from food and medicine to theme parks, aircraft, farm equipment and more. Pneumatic systems are present everywhere. There is always incentive to make more out of less, and that’s just what pneumatic power offers: more power in less space.

Versa-Bar Cast Iron Components Promote Efficiency and Longevity

Fluid power systems utilizing Versa-Bar continuous cast iron from American Iron & Alloys experience minimal loss of energy and maximize the efficiency of the work being done. Highly durable Versa-Bar cast iron components promote energy retention and maximum efficiency.

American Iron & Alloys provides unrivaled precision CNC machining services to create custom cast components built to your exact specifications. Our Versa-Bar continuous cast iron offers tremendous performance at tremendous prices, perfect for many different applications in pneumatic systems.

Contact American Iron & Alloys for CNC machined parts from high-quality continuous cast Versa-Bar.
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