Air Cylinders-Meaning And Its Various Types


Air cylinders are mechanical appliances that produce a strong force in an opposing linear motion by using the power of compressed gas. They are commonly referred to as pneumatic cylinders as the term ‘pneuma’ means ‘air’. These cylinders are simple, highly durable, and economical and can be installed easily. They are widely used as they have the ability to generate thousands of pounds of force over a vast range of velocities, do not overheat from the constant use and do not cause any internal damage to the equipment’s. Air actuators come in thousands of styles, designs, sizes and configurations.

Different types of pneumatic cylinders


  • Single-acting cylinders (SAC)- This type of cylinder produces a driving force in one direction with the help of the pressure generated by the compressed air and come back to the ‘home’ position with the use of spring. The spring used in this type take up enough space and offers very limited extension.
  • Double-acting cylinders (DAC)-This type of cylinder has two ports to allow the entry of air in, one for outstroke and the other for in stroke. It uses the compressed air pressure to pull in the strokes and move in range. In this design of air cylinder, the stroke length is not limited how ever the piston rod is more prone to bending and fastening.


  • Multi-stage, telescopic cylinder- This type of cylinder comes in both single-acting and double acting cylinder. It comprises of a piston rod encapsulated within a series of hollow platforms of increasing length. Upon operation, the piston rod and each following stage telescopes out as a segmented piston. The unique formation of this type of cylinder lets piston face minimal side loading by allowing notably much longer stroke as compared to single or double acting cylinders.

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