Automation Blog

Full Stop: How End-Position Cushioning Optimizes Pneumatic System Performance

Full Stop: How End-Position Cushioning Optimizes Pneumatic System Performance

In order to meet always-increasing throughput demands while saving on costs for automated systems, machine designers often push the performance envelope by reducing cycle times as much as possible. For pneumatic drives, where the compressed air can cause the piston to reach its peak travel speed at or near the end positions, the impact energy will be high. Without a means to decelerate the fast-traveling load, the resulting impact forces to the end cover can introduce several problems, such as:

  • Premature wear to the cylinder and other components.
  • Shock and vibration transmission throughout the machine.
  • Reduced cylinder accuracy.
  • Excessive noise.
  • Piston bounce, or rebounding.

Good end-position cushioning dramatically decreases the impact forces at the end of a pneumatic cylinder’s stroke. Reducing shock and stress, cushioning plays a crucial role in defining the minimum travel time and maximum speed of pneumatic cylinders so you can achieve high productivity, greater efficiency and a long lifetime for your machine.

Although end-position cushioning is a well-known and necessary feature of many pneumatic cylinders, it can be easy to overlook certain aspects of cushioning and unintentionally diminish your system’s overall performance or reliability. For example, little or no cushioning can cause a load to strike the end cap with too much force, causing shock loads and vibrations that can damage both your cylinder and other parts of your machine. And, too much cushioning can slow down the process and hurt productivity.

The next two blog posts in this series will provide an overview of end-position cushioning concepts and technologies including considerations to help select the best cushioning option for your application. You’ll also learn best practices to help you get the most benefit from your pneumatic actuator.

For more information about end-position cushioning for pneumatic cylinders, download our white paper.