Components used in a Pneumatic System

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

To operate a system with help of pneumatic we need certain tools and components which with the help of pneumatic gives a controlled output.

We need controlled output because high air pressure can damage equipment and can cause accident.

In this blog we will see about the type of components are used to generate the output and controls the pneumatic system.

1. Actuator.

Actutors are the devices which gives output for a certain input, motors, piston-cylinders are examples.

Actuators are the devices which perform the work in a pneumatic system, they perform the tasks according to the command given from the control unit. Actuators are controlled by controlling the flow and its direction. 

By controlling the flow and direction of air, motion and direction of operation can be controlled.

Fig. 1: A double acting pneumatic cylinder (Pneumatic Actuator)
Fig. 2: A electric motor based actuator.

2. Supply Elements

Supply elements are mainly responsible for supply of compressed air in the system, these elements start working from very initial stage. It start working from the point when the atmospheric air enters in the compressor, the process starts from filtration of dust in the air then the moisture in the air which may cause damage to the components, once air is compressed it is stored in the cylinder and then it is released according to the pressure needed for that we need pressure control valve(control element), the air is transmitted with hose pipes.

Once the air reaches to the station it needed to be distributed among the the components for the purpose we need manifolds.

There are many types of filters are used for various purposes during transmission which we will see later.

Fig. 3: Pneumatic Manifold

Fig: Supply Hose Pipe.

3. Directional Valves

Directional valves are mainly responsible for the decide path of flow of fluid(air) from one a source which further decides the movement and working of a actuator, these valves are also responsible for direction of movement of the actuator.

Directional valves works with help of spools inside them they opens, closes or direct the path of flow, these spools can be controlled mechanically(manually or with some mechanism), electrically.

The electrical directional valves can be controlled by switches or with PLC or other micro-controllers.

The handle of the valve is used to move the spool which further opens or closes the flow of air from a particular space which decides if the circuit is on(actuator in moving condition) or off.
Fig. 5: A Mechanical Directional Valve

4. Flow Control Valves

As the name signifies these valves are used to control the flow of the air on the basis of certain parameters that can be decided manually of automatically.

It can be used to control the rate of flow just like a throttle or can be used to control the flow with help of a timer, we will discuss all the possibilities.

Fig. 6: A throttle valve to control amount of flow.

5. Measuring Instruments and Sensors.

These are one of the most important components used in any system which helps us in controlling the flow as per need, Measuring instruments help us know the speed at which actuator is working pressure, flow and any detail we need for smooth functioning of the system. Pressure gauge, flow meter and flow sensor are examples.

Fig. 7: A Pressure Gauge

Hoping you enjoyed the piece of information about the tools we need to operate a system pneumatically.

In next blogs we will see how each elements works particularly.

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