Do you find installing a pneumatic cylinder troublesome? When installing a pneumatic cylinder correctly, it is essential to consider its core design. If you fail to address this issue properly it can result in inaccurate operation, compromised reliability and premature failure of your pneumatic cylinder.
How to install pneumatic cylinders to maximize life and performance
There are different applications based on the particular company’s model and design. If the Pneumatic cylinder is of Parker’s P1F series, then either you can rigidly fix it to the structure of a machine bench, or allow it to pivot to form part of a linkage. The two fixing points in the pneumatic cylinder will be the cylinder body itself and its piston rod end. In many applications, the mechanism attached to the piston rod end will need to be attached in one or more places. Whereas, in fewer applications, the piston rod end is left free, just like in a simple pushing application.
The mechanics of cylinder installations significantly varies from one application type to another. A cylinder needs to be installed to reduce or eliminate side loads on the piston rod bearing. A side load is a side long force component across the axis of the bearing which can cause premature wear or failure.
Rigid mountings on body cylindersA cylinder can either be rigidly fixed by side mountings, or front or rear flange plates or, if the cylinder has a thread on the front or rear end cover, it can be clamped to a structure with a locknut. Also, special tie rod such as ISO or CNOMO cylinders can be fitted with tie rod extensions for fixing through a flat plate.
Articulated mountings on cylinder body or piston rod endIf the cylinder is part of a linkage, then it can be pivoted in one or more planes at the mounting point. By choosing either a rear hinge, front clevis, or central trunnion, different degrees of balance can be achieved for the cylinder and load system. However, a front hinge, clevis or universal eye allows spinning attachments at the end of the piston rod.
Cautionary guidanceCaution while installing a cylinder.
- Make sure you do not attach an unsupported load to the piston rod, support the load on a slide or roller guides.
- The weight of a long out-stroked piston rod alone can produce a high bending moment, so, better you hang the rod end from a roller track or provide other external guidance just to minimize bending moments.
- Make sure that the cylinder is not misaligned or have a guided load as it can jam the cylinder completely. For this you can install a front fork and slot which will eliminate this type of side load on the front-end cap bearing in the cylinder.
- Bending moment can cause an offset load on the piston rod of the cylinder. If you install external bearing that will relieve the side load as well.
- If a horizontal mounted rear is attached to the cylinder it can also cause the weight of the body cylinder to create a bending moment. This will be handled by fitting a central trunnion at the point the cylinder balances.
However, side loads can’t be eliminated completely, but if one employs good practices and basic mechanical design knowledge, it will not only reduce side loads to a minimum but also increase the lifetime and performance of the cylinder in the application.