How Rodless Air Cylinders Work

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  • Air cylinders are devices that use air pressure to put air into linear motion, such as in an air compressor. A typical air cylinder has a rod and piston that operates the air cylinder. A rodless air cylinder has no rod outside of the cylinder but rather a piston connected to a carriage inside the cylinder. The different types of airless rod cylinders include cable cylinders, magnetically coupled air cylinders, pneumatic cylinders, and band cylinders.

  • A band cylinder is a type of rodless air cylinder that has a cylinder carriage and the piston assembly inside the cylinder barrel. There are also top and inner sealers that prevent air leakage. As compressed air enters the cylinder, it pushes the piston along inside the cylinder. As the cylinder operates, the seals keep the air inside so it can create linear motion.

  • Cable cylinders are a type of rodless air cylinder that uses a cable which attaches to the piston inside the cylinder. Cable cylinders use an end cap that helps prevent the leakage of air from within the cylinder. A cable cylinder also has a pulley that travels through the end cap and around the carriage. As the piston moves inside the cylinder, the carriage moves along the cable to give motion to an object.

  • There are also rodless air cylinders that don't use mechanical means to connect the piston and carriage. This type of cylinder is called a magnetic coupling cylinder. In this type of air cylinder, both the carriage and the piston contain magnets that attract each other. As compressed air moves the piston inside the air cylinder, the magnetic attraction moves the carriage along the cylinder barrel. All rodless air cylinders, no matter which type, rely on the weight and size of the load they are moving for power. The weight and size of the load determine how well the rodless air cylinder operates within the equipment.

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