Different Types of Pneumatic Cylinder

Different Types of Pneumatic Cylinder

When it comes to linear motion and force, pneumatic cylinders are a handy solution that every engineer should have in their toolkit. These devices use the power of compressed air to create automated pushing, pulling, lifting, lowering, or rotating movements. The quality of the aluminum used to construct the cylinder body has a huge impact on its performance and durability over time. Aluminum sheets and alloys translate into tighter tolerances and improved designs, and enhanced grades boast incredible strength without adding extra weight to your cylinders.

It can get confusing trying to pick the right type and size with all the options available out there, right? What about rodless designs? How do you choose between the different mounting styles? Seat back. This handy guide will walk you through the most common styles and designs so you can better understand the pros and cons of each. That way, you can zero in on the best fit for your particular needs.

We will provide a comprehensive overview of the most common types of pneumatic cylinders and their key attributes, including the following:

Types of Pneumatic Cylinders and Their Applications

Single Acting vs Double Acting Pneumatic Cylinders

As the name suggests, single acting uses compressed air to power the piston in only one direction–typically just the outstrokes. These are the best for simple tasks that only need one-way force. While double acting cylinders utilize air pressure on both sides of the piston. This gives you force and motion during both the extend and retract strokes. So you can get that smooth back-and-forth action. Double acting is your best choice for tasks that need reciprocating motion.

Rod vs Rodless

Your next big choice is a rod or rodless design. Standard cylinders have a piston rod that pushes out from the chamber to transfer force. Rodless cylinders don’t have a center rod. The force gets applied through an external carriage riding along the body.

Rodless types are great when you need to fit a cylinder into tight spaces. They also protect the piston and seals better since the load doesn’t connect directly. The smooth body lets the carriage glide unimpeded over the entire stroke length. Rodless cylinders work well in confined spaces and for horizontal travel applications.

Standard rod cylinders tend to be simpler and more affordable. They work fine for many basic tasks, especially vertical motions.

Telescoping Pneumatic Cylinders

These are also called multi-stage or telescopic cylinders, consisting of multiple nested cylinders that extend and retract in a telescopic manner. They provide a longer stroke length while maintaining a compact design. Telescoping cylinders are commonly used in applications that require extended reach or height adjustment, such as dump trucks, aerial lifts, and scissor lifts.

Rotary Pneumatic Cylinders

These cylinders convert linear motion into rotary motion to provide precise rotational control. They feature a piston connected to a rotary mechanism, such as a rack and pinion or a vane motor. Rotary cylinders are commonly used in applications that require rotational movement, such as indexing tables, rotary actuators, and rotary grippers.

Guided Pneumatic Cylinders

Guided pneumatic cylinders incorporate additional guidance mechanisms to ensure smooth and precise linear motion. They feature external guide rods or linear bearings that provide stability and prevent side loads. They are commonly used in applications that require high precision and repeatability, such as pick-and-place systems, machine tools, and inspection equipment.

Match Materials to Your Mission

With so many types, configurations, and options, how do you select the right materials and designs? Here are a few key factors to consider:
Force and loaded capacity needs
Total stroke length and cylinder size
Speed and precision requirements
Expected cycle rates and frequency of motion
Mounting limitations and space constraints
Operating environment and conditions
Available air pressure supply capacity

Take time to make a list of your ideal specifications, requirements, and features. This makes it easier for engineers to point you toward suitable options. Oversize your needs a bit to allow for future flexibility.


Taking into account all the details shared, we have to give importance to considering your specific needs and requirements when it comes to pneumatic cylinders. Whether you’re looking for compactness, precision, or power, there’s a type of cylinder out there that can meet your demands. By understanding the different types available, such as single-acting, double-acting, rod and rodless, telescoping, rotary, and guided pneumatic cylinders, you can make an informed decision that suits your applications. So, don’t hesitate to explore the options and choose the cylinder that will help you achieve optimal performance and efficiency. Feel free to reach us at YK-Longshun to assist you every step of the way.

  • 0 Comment
  • Post Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *