Supply Elements in a Pneumatic System

Actuators in the system are the end components, they perform various actions, basically actuators do the work.

But the supply elements work from the very initial point so that the pneumatic system can work properly and the components can be avoided from any kind of damage.

They are used to supply the air by removing components which can cause damage to other valves or actuators. Let's take a look at number of supply elements and for what purpose we use them.

1. Compressor:

Compressor is a device which compresses air to a higher pressure (in PSI or bar), it is a pump of rotary or reciprocating type. These devices are powered by electricity mostly, some are powered by gas also.

Fig. 1: Air Compressor with Storage tank mounted

2. Compressed Air Supply:

The very initial and important task in supply elements is where we are going to store compressed air. We need to store the compressed air and cannot directly feed from the compressor because then the supply will be uncontrolled and we will get fluctuated output.

To store the compressed air we need a storage tank, these tanks are specially design to bear air pressure upto a certain label with required Factor of safety.These storage tanks can be vertical or horizontal.

This supply unit helps the compressor to work with maximum efficiency, how? (Do let me know your answers in comments)

Fig. 2: Supply/storage cylinder.

3. Start-up Valve with Filter Control Valve:

Start-up valve is mounted next to the storage tank, it is used to control the supply pressure as per need also it removes the water droplets with the help of the filter, it helps avoiding corrosion on the components.

Fig. 3: Startup Valve and Filter Control Valve combined

4. Drain Filters:

Drain filters are mounted at the workstation(Location: Point just before the manifold/first device on workstation). The work of drain filter is to remove the remaining dirt, dust, water and oil from the supply before it starts operation on workstation. These can be of auto or manual type. It helps to keep the components contamination free.

Fig. 4: Drain filter

5. Manifold :

The meaning of manifold is many openings. In a pneumatic system, to process a certain task we may need more than one devices and to supply compressed air to all of them we cannot arrange storage tanks or supply unit for each component separately and it is not convenient, so what we do in this case is we distribute the compressed air to each component with help of a manifold.

A manifold is a device which is used to distribute the flow of compressed air to multiple junctions. All the output holes of the manifold contains a valve arrangement so that air can be passed only from the ports which are in use.

Fig. 5: Manifold

6. Air Lubricator:

To keep the actuators and other devices moving we need to lubricate them after certain cycle and it is done with the help of air lubricator, this device injects the lubrication oil in the air supply system which reaches to the working part of the tools.

These were the components we use basically when we set up a pneumatic workstation. Hope you all have found it useful. Share your views in comments.


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