Firestone Airstroke Actuators vs. Air Cylinders
When you have a pneumatic system being used to lift, push or pull– whether it’s a scissor lift or conveyor belt take up– the default tool for the job is an air cylinder. An air cylinder is essentially a closed, lubricated tube with a piston and rod assembly inside of it that moves outward as air is forced into the cylinder.
However many pneumatic system applications can be better designed using an Airstroke Actuator. The Airstroke Actuator has several distinct advantages over the classic air cylinder, including:
- Cost: The Airstroke Actuator can cost as little as half of an air cylinder that delivers similar force — and the cost savings goes up as the cylinders get bigger!
- Lifespan: Airstroke Actuators are designed and manufactured using Firestone’s patented Airide spring technology, provide a lifespan meaningfully longer than that of an air cylinder.
- Maintenance-Free: Try saying that about an air cylinder! Airstroke actuators require no lubrication, no maintenance, and in fact have no internal piston and no seals to break down.
- Friction-Free: Because there are no seals sliding inside, there is no ‘breakaway’ friction to overcome with an Airstroke Actuator — the response is smooth and instantaneous.
- Curved Motion: Without the need for any special machinery, an Airstroke actuator can easily extend along a 30-degree arc.
- Compact Size: Airstrokes have a much lower profile when fully retracted than a traditional air cylinder — between 2.2 and 5.5 inches, and can achieve long stroke lengths of up to 14 inches!
- Works In Multiple Mediums: While we’re comparing them to an air cylinder here, the Airstroke cylinder can just as easily become a Fluidstroke cylinder (don’t tell Firestone we called them that!) — because they function just as well using a fluid medium.
So What Is an Airstroke?
In short, an Airstroke actuator is a vulcanized rubber tube, carefully shaped so that as it collapses, it folds in on itself in as compact a manner as possible. As air (or another medium) flows in, the tube’s shape causes it to extend firmly and evenly in a specific direction. So next time you are designing a pneumatic system that requires up to a 14 inch stroke consider the Firestone Airstroke Actuator for the job.