Smart cylinders lower cost, up performance

Nov. 6, 2003
Advances in controls and networks combined with components that pack more punch have opened the door to more-precise, durable, and economical pneumatic systems.
The Smart Cylinder contains sensors, flow regulators, adjustable cushioning, an integrated valve, and fieldbus connections in a single package.

Combining virtually an entire pneumatic system within a single housing is said to boost performance, reduce downtime, and cut costs for machine designers.

The Smart Cylinder from Norgren, Littleton, Colo., is a pneumatic cylinder that contains its own sensors, flow regulators, adjustable cushioning, integrated 5/2 or 5/3 valve, and ASI bus or multipole fieldbus connections inside the casing. The actuator is fully interchangeable with other VDMA actuators across a complete range from 32 to100-mm bores. The integrated valve enhances response times, and top speed is 1.5 m/sec.

The Smart Cylinder is said to simplify designs and cut costs. For instance, the unit requires only one electrical and one pneumatic connection, which speeds installation and reduces wiring costs and machine design times. It also offers savings of approximately 25% by buying one unit, compared with the cost of buying and assembling separate components.

It can also save costs by slashing downtime. Diagnostics via the fieldbus system tell the operator whether a cylinder is functioning normally. Data fed back to the operator pinpoints if a unit has malfunctioned or requires maintenance. Engineers know immediately which actuator to change without the need to carry out complicated troubleshooting routines. Smart Cylinders are available in stroke lengths to one meter. They are suited for most machine-building applications, and are fully compliant to ISO 6431 and VDMA 24562 standards.

About the Author

Kenneth Korane

Ken Korane holds a B.S. Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. In addition to serving as an editor at Machine Design until August 2015, his prior work experience includes product engineer at Parker Hannifin Corp. and mechanical design engineer at Euclid Inc. 

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