Low Friction Air Cylinders
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.
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.
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.
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.
The chart below offers a quick comparison of our three basic designs.