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Rodless Pneumatic Cylinders: All You Need to Know

Rodless Pneumatic Cylinders: All You Need to Know


Pneumatics technology remains essential to many modern systems and manufacturing machines today. And with trends continuing to shift toward smaller machines, the use of more compact components is essential. When it comes to smaller components to build these modern systems, rodless pneumatic cylinders have become increasingly indispensable.

One advantage of using a rodless air cylinder is that it serves as both an efficient and budget-friendly device. With its implementation, it can help move loads in various different machine applications. However, there are some different factors that come into play when finding the best rodless cylinder for your machinery. To better understand all the advantages of rodless cylinder pieces, we are sharing the function, various types of cylinders, and more to assist.

Rodless Cylinders: How Do They Work?

How do rodless cylinders work?

In our image, you can view the various components of a mechanical coupling rodless cylinder. It includes an internal piston (1) that moves within the cylinder barrel (5), which is driven by compressed air. Based on the air pressure on each port, the piston moves in either direction along with the cylinder. For this process to work, the piston is attached to a carrier.

The carrier works by supporting the mounted load and moves with the piston. The metal bands (4) are what allow the carrier to move back and forth in a linear direction. Additionally, these metal bands create reliable sealing for the cylinder slot. Beneath the carrier, the bands are bent away from the slot to connect the piston and carrier. There are also adjustable end cushions on either end (2) to avoid hard stops after a full length of travel to the end caps (3).

Different Types of Rodless Pneumatic Cylinders

There are many different rodless cylinder types, with three main categories to define each. These three types are differentiated based on how the piston is connected to the carrier to permit the movement of the load.

  • Magnetic: This type is characterized by a magnetic connection between the piston and the carrier. Being magnetically coupled creates a leak-free cylinder. That being said, the cylinder body can be fragile and decoupling of the carrier can be a concern with this cylinder.
  • Cable: A cable cylinder uses a cable to connect the piston through a pulley on either end that then connects to the carrier. This is a simple rodless cylinder design, but cable wear over time can impact the consistency of the position and cause leaks due to stretched cables.
  • Slotted: A slotted rodless cylinder features a slot in the cylinder's length with an inner and outer metal band incorporated to prevent leaks. The function of this rodless cylinder provides the carrier with a direct mechanical connection to the piston, allowing it to be regarded as the most versatile and widely used rodless pneumatic cylinders today.

Pros & Cons of Rodless Pneumatic Cylinders

There are a number of different advantages of pneumatic cylinders, including:

  • Provides a smaller footprint with a similar stroke length, perfect for limited space.
  • Can better support high loads and moment forces.
  • Constructed without a rod, a rodless cylinder eliminates the risk of rod bending or buckling.
  • Provides the same force in either direction.

While there are many perks, there are a few downsides to the function of rodless cylinder equipment. These include:

  • Susceptible to dust and debris.
  • The load movement is fixed to solely the length of the cylinder.
  • The inner and outer bands can wear over time due to stretching.
  • Band wear can cause air leaks, creating a loss of air pressure.

Choosing a Rodless Cylinder: 5 Things to Consider

There are some different rodless cylinder uses and benefits to suit your machinery's needs. However, with the various rodless cylinder applications, there are different characteristics to consider to ensure you choose the best type. To assist, we are sharing five things to consider when exploring rodless pneumatic cylinders.

#1. The Shape of Rodless Cylinder Pistons

In many instances, a slotted-type rodless cylinder will be the most effective solution. That is unless an application requires specific capabilities of a cable or flexible wall cylinder.

One of the alternative shape options is the oval piston shape. This cylinder includes circular pistons, with a side load carried by the band that connects the piston and carriage. Due to the shape, this rodless cylinder increases its load capacity and additionally allows for a thicker and, subsequently, stronger mechanical connection between the carriage and piston.

#2. Pneumatic Cylinder Cushioning Option

The cushioning capabilities within rodless pneumatic cylinders help reduce wear and tear, as well as shock, on the cylinder components. This adjustable end cushioning option can do a lot to reduce the sound of end-cover contact, and extend the lifespan of the cylinder components. Plus, it can result in a minimized cycle time.

#3. Reliability Additions

Like conventional cylinders, some rodless pneumatic cylinders include elements that prevent contamination and extend reliable performance. This includes elements such as wear-free stainless-steel cover strips covering the cylinder slot, or scrapers with spring loading that help keep the cover strip clean and prevent contaminants. All of these upgrades help keep the rodless cylinder running smoothly, and for longer.

#4. Integration Simplicity

rodless cylinder uses

Sometimes, simple is better. While you may think the simplest rodless cylinder on the market won’t do as good of a job, there are benefits to these options. Some manufacturers offer simple options, such as cylinders with just one air inlet at the end. Other modifications include integrated grooves for foot mountings, as well as groves to include sensor devices to save energy.

#5. Magnetic Piston Option

Magnetic piston options are another upgrade available when optimizing the function of rodless cylinder devices. Built-in magnetic pistons help allow for non-contact sensing of the piston position, ensuring the system runs smoothly with keen sensing.

With so many different rodless cylinder uses, it's time to find the right one for your machines! These small, compact solutions can do a great deal to improve the functionality of your machinery, carrying heavy loads despite their small size. And with many different rodless cylinder applications, it's certainly something to look into.

For more on the different types of rodless cylinders that we repair and to find the one that’s best for your needs, our cylinder repair company is here to help. For assistance, request cylinder repairs with Cylinders Inc. today.

Cylinders inc. team



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