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Intro to Pneumatics

Presented by Jon Pannell

Lesson Breakdown:
• Part One: Lecture covering:
• What are Pneumatics
• What is a “system” and what is it made of
• Applications
• Advantages and disadvantages
• Calculations with Pneumatics

• Part Two: Hands on lab and

What are Pneumatics?
• Pneumatics is a type of power
transmission that uses a gas ( in our case,
air) and pressure differential to create

• Akin to Hydraulics, hydraulics use oil,

water, or other fluids instead of gases.
The Pneumatics System:
• A “System” is a complete set of parts
working together.
• Our systems usually contain :
• A compressor
• Storage tanks
• Regulators
• Gauges
• Valves and solenoids
• Actuators
• Fittings and tubing
The Pneumatic “System”
Parts of the “System” Pt.1
The compressor:
– Heart of the system.
– Converts electrical
energy to pneumatic
– Contains a relief valve
protects compressor
and system from
– Controlled by a Spike
Parts of the “System”: Pt. 2
Air tanks:
• Stores pressure to
activate actuators
• Our robots can have up
to 2 (included in the KOP)
Pressure Switch:
• Used to signal Robot
Controller when to turn
on and off compressor
Parts of the “System”: Pt. 3
• Adjust pressure output to
working levels for actuators
• 2 types :
– Relieving and Non- Relieving

• Quick release and pipe
• Pipe thread requires Teflon
Connection and Disconnection
Parts of the “System”: Pt. 4
Valves and Solenoids:
• Used to control actuators
• Types:
– Double Solenoid (detented)

– Single Solenoid (spring offset)

So, how do we hook up a solenoid?
Parts of the “System”: Pt. 5
• Actuators
– Linear – Often called cylinders
– can be made to perform
complex motions by using
mechanical components
– Rotary
• Limited Rotation
– Self-contained
– Rack and pinion or
• Air Motors or turbines
– Clamps
Operation with Flow Controls
Typically Flow Controls are mounted between the valve and
the cylinder as close to the cylinder as practical.
The check valve permits free
flow into the cylinder from
the valve and metered flow
from the cylinder to exhaust

Advantages of Pneumatics
• Complete kit • Adjustable Force
• Weight – Different bore cylinders
change the available force
equal or lighter than
comparable alternatives and
– By adjusting the applied
• Simple pressure you can instantly
Review the manual that adjust the force
comes with the pneumatic kit
and you’re ready to go
• Durable
No burned up motors – stall
• Strong with no damage
Force from 9 lbs to 180 lbs – • Easy to expand once
easily adjustable
Disadvantages for Pneumatics
• Initial weight cost is high ~15lbs
• Requires fine tuning for optimum use
• Limited uses with larger actuators
• Pneumatics are good
for straight
movements, but, with
the right linkage can
be used for rotation or
other movements.
• Output force is determined
– Bore or diameter
– Pressure over ambient
• Cylinder Force
– Push Force =  x
cylinder radius2 x
Pressure (psig)
– Pull Force = Push Force
-  x rod radius2 x
Pressure (psig)
Tips & Tricks
 Minimize Leaks (better  Use the Compressor
yet, remove them Vibration Isolators.
completely) by careful The Compressor is a
use of teflon tape and reciprocating device
careful assembly of
tubing and fittings. and will cause
Teflon tape should start sympathetic vibrations
two threads back and throughout your
wrap in the direction of assembly unless they
the threads. are used.
 With no movement  When ordering custom
taking place the cylinders, use extreme
compressor should
care on the form, both
charge the tanks and
then shut off. It should on the address and
not restart until a valve models ordered
and cylinder is operated
Tips & Tricks
 Pressure Switch must be  Fittings are not required
used as inputs to the in the exhaust ports
controller. They cannot unless the circuit requires
handle the amperage of them.
the compressor.
 The Norgren Regulator  Always stay clear of
should be first with the cylinders in motion. Until
Monnier unit used after compressed air is being
that if needed. metered, flow controls do
 Make sure you have little to control speed.
adequate pilot pressure  Download additional
(30 psi) for the valves. copies of the pneumatic
 When using the double manual from
solenoid valve, energize
only coil one at time.
• First Pneumatic Presentation 2004