Tech Tips - Compact Air Cylinders Are Still A Big Deal

sponsored by: compact air cylinders: 101 FIGURE 2. Round and square head designs figure 1. bored body design More or Less – Compact Air Cylinders are a Big Deal! “Less is more” seems to be the trend in the pneumatic actuator market. Real estate on OEM equipment is at a premium today more than ever before! This just confirms that Alfred W. Schmidt (the founder of Fabco-Air, Inc.) was well ahead of the curve when he designed the original Pancake® (a registered trademark of Fabco-Air, Inc.) air cylinder in the late 1950’s. This particular type of pneumatic actuator was designed to satisfy the need for short stroke, low profile, compact air cylinders that were required to fit in very tight spaces. In fact, this cylinder type provides the longest stroke possible in the smallest overall envelope size. Approximately 6 decades later, compact air cylinders are still a big deal! Today, compact cylinders using compressed air are most often the primary solution when space is limited and mechanical actuation is desired. A typical compact air cylinder is between the bore size range of ½” (12mm) to 4” (100mm) with standard strokes ranging from 1/16” (1.5mm) to 4” (100mm). With the typical maximum standard stroke of 4” (100mm), these cylinders are also frequently referenced as short stroke cylinders. The original Pancake® is a bored body design as shown in the cutaway view in Figure 1. In addition to the bored body design, compact cylinders are now offered in a conventional tie-rod/spacer configuration in both a round and square design ( Figure 2 ) as well as an extruded body designs ( Figure 3 ). 2