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robotic grippers using pneumatics

Pneumatics Remain a Valuable Technology

March 6, 2024
Systems which employ pneumatics offer several advantages, especially as the technology continues to evolve.

Pneumatics, the portion of the fluid power industry which uses compressed air or other gases to transmit power, remain an important method of motion control in many applications. 

Some of the advantages offered by pneumatic systems include their quick cycle times, lower initial cost, ease of installation, and ability to absorb shock loads. These have helped make pneumatics a common technology used in factory automation applications for manipulating products. But they are also used in medical and food processing equipment, some mobile equipment, and on-highway trucking for various vehicle functions. 

In an interview with Power & Motion, Jon Jensen (no relation to author), CFPPS, CFPECS & CFPAI, Industry Projects Manager – Energy at SMC Corporation of America, said pneumatics are a good choice when you don't need the heavy loads offered by hydraulics but still want high speed and lower total cost of ownership.

While electric alternatives are replacing pneumatics in some of these applications, the incorporation of electronic control is also bringing new opportunities to pneumatics which will aid their longevity. It is helping to make them smarter and more efficient, enabling users to to improve the connectivity and overall efficiency of their own operations. 

As noted by Frank Langro, Director - Product Market Management, Pneumatic Automation at Festo North America, in an interview with Power & Motion, incorporation of electronics can enable better troubleshooting by allowing failure points to be found faster. 

The ability to detect failures sooner and mitigate unplanned downtime is vital to an operation of any type, and will continue to be an important capability going forward as customers look to improve productivity and efficiency. 

Where is Pneumatics Technology Headed? 

Pneumatic systems are not going away any time soon, and like any other technology will continue to evolve and adapt to market needs, such as through the offering of more diagnostics capabilities.

Have suggestions for more pneumatics related content we can cover in the future, or want to provide your insights on the technology? Feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected] or via social media: 

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Technical Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is technical editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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