Pneumatic actuation is a critical process for a broad range of industries and applications, and plays an essential role in computerized automation. Pneumatic actuation is an extremely efficient, reliable and safe means of motion control which employs pressurized gas to convert energy into rotary or linear motion. It is particularly useful as a process for the repeated opening and closing of valves and further industrial applications in which the use of electricity could result in a fire or ignition hazard.
How Does Pneumatic Actuation Work?
Pneumatic actuation relies on the use of pressurized gas which can be precisely controlled and is highly repeatable and reliable, whereas electric actuation requires electricity to function. Pneumatic actuators are significantly lower in cost than the electrical variety and are also more cost efficient when the compressor size matches the number of cylinders it is powering.
In pneumatic actuation, speed and thrust are positively linked, so as one increases, the other does as well. In electric actuation, speed and thrust are not always linked in the same way.
Advantages of Pneumatic Actuation
Pneumatic actuation is extremely safe and reliable, it is able to convert energy into motion without electricity, meaning it is more environmentally friendly and safe. Pneumatic actuation is extremely beneficial in situations where sparking and combustion are not permissible, such as in highly flammable atmospheres.
Pneumatic actuators are also highly durable and overheating is not an issue, even through excessive use.
Applications of Pneumatic Actuation
Pneumatic actuation devices are frequently used in water treatment plants for the purpose of controlling valves. Monitoring systems can negatively effect the function of the systems so the use of a compressed air module which is locally monitored benefits the overall system.
Chemical and processes industries also frequently use pneumatic actuators in valving to control the flow of chemicals. These industries frequently perform dangerous tasks such as handling toxic or hazardous chemicals and pneumatic actuators help ensure safety and reliability.
Pneumatic actuation is also important in the electronic industry, in the assembling, handling and testing of small parts. Production of electronic components requires precision, which pneumatic actuators can offer.
In the scientific industry, pneumatic actuation is often preferred for applications with a very high duty-cycle or in hazardous environments. They also provide an alternative in some applications for bellows sealed translators.
Pneumatic Actuators from UHV Design
At UHV Design, most of our standard products have an option to be pneumatically actuated. We also offer custom solutions such as the magnetically-coupled Pneumatically Actuated Linear Translator (PAT) from UHV Design which has been designed in conjunction with CERN to eradicate the use of bellows. Pneumatic actuation offers a safer, cheaper alternative and using UHV Design’s magnetic coupling technology, the PAT drive has a linear breakaway thrust of 90N. This design is fail-safe even in the even of a loss of electrical power. To find out more, contact us today.