It is becoming an increasing important question when building automated machines. What is best for my application? Pneumatic or Electric actuator. Both actuators have their pros and cons. When it comes down to it, there are a handful of reasons why to use one over another.
While they are different as night and day, the way you size them is very similar. You just need to know some basic information to start the decision process.
Once you know this information you can size your cylinder as needed. Beyond that information, air and electric start to differ.
Air will never be replaced. No matter what anyone says, air does have its place and it has some key features that eclectic just can’t match up to.
- Speed or cycle time
To get an air cylinder to move faster, the air flow needs to be increase. The size of the unit versus the power it puts out can’t even be matched by an electric cylinder. If all you need is two points then air is the way to go and simple compared to electric.
Like air, electric cylinders do have their merits.
These are just a few aspects that air can’t match electric. With an electric cylinder, you have complete control over the acceleration and deceleration. An application example for acceleration and deceleration is handling of liquids or fragile materials. Electric cylinders give you the ability to program and control multiple positions with high accuracy and repeatability. And last, there is the ‘Green’ factor. The overall operating cost of electric can be anywhere from 1/3 to 1/10 the cost of air.
So overall they both have their benefits over each other and it really comes down to if it fits the application. If they both fit the application, then it really just comes down to what the user prefers as well as the application. Air or electric?
- Multiple Positions
- Overall Cost
- Acceleration and deceleration
- Accuracy and Repeatability
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