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Pneumatic Actuators

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Airpot Corp. manufactures four basic families of pneumatic actuators, Airpel Anti-Stiction cylinders, Airpel Plus, Airpel-AB air bearing cylinders, and Airpot Self- Aligning Actuators. All employ our unique combination of a borosilicate glass cylinder and either a graphite or specially shaped stainless steel piston and have outstanding performance properties with respect to friction, cleanliness, and temperature range. The major differences are in the level of friction, actuation direction capabilities, outer construction, mounting features, and dimensions.

The performance properties of all four of our product families are vastly superior to those of conventional cylinders. Airpot and Airpel actuators are ideal for applying a precise force, a repeatable motive or counterbalancing force, applying a gentle or precise holding or squeezing force (as low as a few grams) and for actuation with uniform motion. You will also find our actuators ideal for requirements involving the need to move something slowly and smoothly, even over distances less than 0.1 inch and to cycle at very high speeds- up to 100 cps.

Airpot Pneumatic Actuators


The basic Airpel and the Airpot Self-Aligning Actuator lines share the capability to extend under pressure and vacuum actuate if desired. The basic Airpel cylinders differ from the Airpot Self-Aligning actuators in that the Airpel cylinders are available in double acting configurations, that can actuate from either end, have a stainless steel outer case, come in double rod models, and the cylinder can pivot. The Airpel also offers models with one way pressurization and spring retraction. Airpot Self-Aligning Actuators offer even lower friction, the lowest pressure response, are slightly cleaner running, and are the most compact with the lowest moving mass and overall weight. Airpot actuators are also useful for pumping small volumes of air.

Airpel Plus

The Airpel Plus model offers less than 25% of the friction of the already low friction basic Airpel and designed to be pressurized in the extension direction only. It is a hybrid design that uses the same mounting construction and some of the internal design elements of our top-of-the-line Airpel-AB (described in the next paragraph) but it is priced midway between our basic Airpel and the Airpel-AB to satisfy demanding applications that require lower friction and more accurate force control but do not need the zero friction capability of our Airpel-AB.

Airpel -AB

Our fourth family of actuators, the Airpel-AB line, offers the ultimate in accurate force control, responsiveness, cleanliness, and long life. Unlike our other actuators, the Airpel-AB uses a specially shaped steel piston that becomes an air bearing when the cylinder is pressurized to provide pneumatic actuation. The air bearing technology keeps the piston from touching the cylinder walls as long as the required minimum operating pressure is maintained. This means there is essentially ZERO friction in the piston’s motion. In addition, the piston and cylinder never wear out and never create any contaminants. Thus, the Airpel-AB provides the smoothest motion, greatest force accuracy, and longest life of any air cylinder on the market. We even guarantee it for the life of any original equipment in which it is properly used. Although the Airpel-AB is limited to applying friction- free force only in the extension direction, it is ideal for counterbalancing, tension control, and applications requiring extremely accurate applied forces with high resolution and repeatability, even to within 0.5 gram.

Product Lineup

Airpel-AB Air Bearing Cylinders

Airpel Anti-Stiction® Air Cylinders created an amazing new class of pneumatic actuators specifically designed for highly accurate force control. They are built using a graphite piston / borosilicate glass cylinder combination in which each piston is selectively matched to fit the cylinder with extremely close clearances. They have unparalleled low friction, responding to forces as low as only a few grams and pressures less than 0.2 psi. Starting and running friction are almost identical, preventing jerky, uncontrolled starts and providing uniform smoothness throughout the full stroke of the device. Airpel low friction air cylinders are unaffected by extreme temperature variations, run clean and do not contaminate surrounding components. No interference seals are required, and there are no lubricants or other liquids to leak. Materials used are clean running and self-lubricating and are capable of exceedingly high cycle rates. They do not heat up or materially change under conditions of rapid and/or continuous cycling and they have a life-span of multi-millions of cycles.

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Inch Double Acting

Inch Single Acting
Metric Double Acting
Metric Single Acting
Show Product Specifications

    Single rod end models
    Double rod end models
    Single rod end models
    Double rod end models
    MAX LEAK RATE at 0.34 MPa- by Piston: SL / min
    M9 Single Acting
    Bore Size (mm): 9.3
    9.3 67.7 0.7 Yes 47.4 42 67.7 60 < 0.0035 1%-2% -55° C to +150° C 4.5+(0.053 x STROKE)
    8.87+(0.13 x STROKE)
    31.7+(0.375 x STROKE)
    41.02+(0.462x STROKE)
    M16 Single Acting
    Bore Size (mm): 15.9
    15.9 198 0.7 Yes 139 125 198 178 < 0.0035 1%-2% -55° C to +150° C 16+(0.142 x STROKE)
    28.48+(0.315 x STROKE)
    64.6+(0.622 x STROKE)
    80.45+(0.854 x STROKE)
    M24 Single Acting
    Bore Size (mm): 24
    24 452.5 0.7 Yes 316.6 294.5 452.5 420.8 < 0.0035 1%-2% -55° C to +150° C 41.4+(0.254 x STROKE)
    74.28+(.509 x STROKE)
    157.18+(1.225 x STROKE)
    204.9+(1.480 x STROKE)

Airpel-AB Air Bearing Cylinders

Airpel-AB Air Bearing Cylinders
The Airpel -AB Air Bearing Cylinder line features a specially shaped stainless steel piston that is precisely fitted to a borosilicate glass cylinder. The introduction of pressurized air into the air bearing’s cylinder creates a true air bearing airflow effect around the piston. With as little as 5 PSI of air applied to the cylinder, the same air that drives the piston also produces a stiff circumferential cushion of air to support the piston and prevent it from contacting the cylinder wall. The result is a frictionless air cylinder that delivers virtually unlimited piston life, no lubrication and super clean operation. Because the output force of this frictionless air cylinder is reduced only infinitesimally by movement of ultra-low friction ball joints used to connect the rod, the force can be controlled to very high levels of accuracy and resolution.

These unique frictionless air cylinders provide the ultimate in accurate force pneumatic control for applications such as tensioning, counterbalancing linear actuator motor driven loads, and applying squeezing or holding forces to within 0.5 gm resolution. Airpel-AB air bearing actuators are available in metric models with four bore diameters and ten standard strokes to provide precisely repeatable driving or supporting forces from 2 grams to 58 kg. Operating temperatures range from -20 C to +90 C.

Airpel Plus Air Cylinders

Airpot Pneumatic Actuators
To expand and enhance the Airpel family of accurate force, ultra low friction air cylinders, we developed the Airpel Plus line. These Airpel models occupy the middle of the price / performace range between our standard Anti-Stiction® Airpel and the Force Without Friction® Airpel-AB®. By combining features and components from these original two designs, we are able to offer a high performance air cylinder for applications requiring even lower friction than the standard Airpel but at a price well below our top-of-the-line Airpel -AB.

The Airpel Plus uses the same graphite piston/borosilicate glass cylinder combination as our standard Airpel but the piston construction takes advantage of our Airpel-AB technology. The result is an air cylinder with friction levels only about 25% of the standard Airpel model. This allows for even greater force accuracy and more precise resolution whie offering a significant cost savings over the Airpel-AB. In addition, the Airpel Plus offers the same wide operating temperature range and long life of our original Airpel.

Airpel Plus models are currently available in standard configurations as single acting – extension models with the same metric sizes, threads, mounts and strokes as the Airpel-AB so most models can be easily interchanged if you are uncertain which product will best meet your requirements or if your needs change in new designs. They also can be made in double acting configurations upon request after discussion with our application engineers about retraction direction characteristics. They are ideal for counterbalancing, tension and precise applied force applications.

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Self-Aligning Pneumatic Actuators

Airpot Self-Aligning Actuators
Airpot Corp. self- aligning pneumatic actuators employ our unique combination of a borosilicate glass cylinder and graphite piston and have notable performance properties with respect to friction, cleanliness, and temperature range. Their performance is vastly superior to those of conventional cylinders. In addition, they are configured with low friction ball joints or pin-links at both the piston and rod end which allow for easy mounting and accommodation for angular misalignments up to +/- 15 degrees.

This category of pneumatic actuators has been designed for space savings and low mass and includes compact mini air cylinder configurations. They only may be actuated with pressure in the extension direction, but their very low friction allows them to vacuum actuate or be spring returned for retraction. All our pneumatic actuators are low friction air cylinders, having amazing pressure response and low mass and weight. Airpot actuators are extremely clean and are useful for pumping, for applying a precise force, a repeatable motive or counterbalancing force, applying a gentle or precise holding or squeezing force (as low as a few grams) and for any other actuation needs requiring uniform motion. You will find our actuators ideal for requirements involving the need to move something slowly and smoothly, even over distances less than 0.1 inch, but they can also cycle at very high speeds- up to 100 cps.

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