How to quickly choose a pneumatic actuator? Proven methods of machine builders

How to quickly choose a pneumatic actuator? Proven methods of machine builders

The pneumatic actuator is a key component in many processes of automating mechanical equipment. Using the energy of compressed air, these mechanisms are able to drive movement in various machines and devices. Selecting the right pneumatic actuator can streamline and speed up the machine design process. An improperly selected actuator can cause actuator seals to wear out too quickly or lead to a reduction in process efficiency.

What is a pneumatic actuator?

A pneumatic actuator is an actuator that uses compressed air to generate mechanical motion. The displacement of a piston by means of compressed air becomes the driving force for an effective action, such as a moving part in a machine. It is through the delivery and conversion of energy that pneumatic actuators enable many different types of machinery and equipment to function.

How does the choice of actuator affect the efficiency of the device?

Choosing the right pneumatic actuator is crucial to the operation of any device or machine it works with. Pneumatic cylinders come in a variety of sizes, forces and types, and each is suitable for different applications. Choosing the wrong actuator can result in problems such as machine malfunctions, energy control problems and even failure.

What can go wrong with the wrong choice of actuator?

Matching the right pneumatic actuator is crucial to the operation of any device or machine it works with. If you choose the wrong device, you may encounter various problems. For example, the machine may malfunction, there may be problems with energy control, and the actuator may wear out faster, leading to failure.

Factors to consider when choosing a pneumatic actuator

To select a pneumatic actuator properly, several factors must be taken into account:


The load that the actuator will have to withstand is one of the key parameters to be studied. In other words, it is important to determine the force the mechanism will have to generate to handle the load. This is a critical aspect to evaluate, as choosing an actuator with excessive power can be detrimental to the device. Too little force can negatively affect the continuity of the production process.


The required speed of operation depends on the nature of the task the actuator is to perform. In some cases, such as production machinery, fast operation may be necessary. In other cases, such as precision applications, speed may be less important, but perfect speed control is required.

Type of movement

Another important factor is the type of motion the actuator is to provide. For example, should the actuator provide linear, swinging or rotary motion? The answer to this question determines the choice between a linear, swing or rotary actuator. The selection is of great importance in optimizing a given process in a machine.

Environmental conditions

The operating environment of the mechanism is another important factor. For example, if the machine will operate in high temperature or humidity conditions, special materials or additional protection may be required. CPP “PREMA” S.A. in such situations offers solutions in form of dedicated production materials and appropriately selected sealing packages, e.g. with an additional scraper.


Cylinder life is one of the most important factors when selecting an actuator. How long an actuator can operate without needing repair or replacement can have a significant impact on a machine’s performance and operational profitability. It is entirely correct to say that a properly selected actuator runs longer, thereby reducing the likelihood of failure. On the other hand, the downtime interval when operating a machine with a well-selected actuator is lengthened.

Types of pneumatic actuators and their applications

Different types of pneumatic actuators are suited to different applications. Linear, which generate motion perpendicular to the axis of the actuator, are commonly used in molding, cutting and stamping machines. Rotary, which generate rotary motion, are typically used in sorting and packaging machines. Pendulum ones, which generate a swinging motion, can be used in food production machines for mixing ingredients. Choosing the right type of actuator depends on the characteristics of the movement to be made and the specific process in which the actuator is to be used.

How to choose a pneumatic actuator quickly? Proven methods

There are proven methods for quickly selecting the right pneumatic actuator:

Using manufacturer's catalogs

One of the most effective ways to choose the right pneumatic actuator is to consult the manufacturer’s catalogs. Most pneumatic actuator manufacturers provide detailed catalogs of their products, offering all the information you need to make an informed choice.

Consulting the experts

It is always a good idea to consult an expert if you are unsure about your choice. Pneumatic actuator engineers, Technical and Sales Specialists or experienced designers are an excellent source of knowledge. They can help you understand your requirements in detail and provide guidance on choosing the right actuator.

Using actuator selection programs

Various applications and programs are available that can assist in the selection of a pneumatic actuator. These tools typically require input of data such as load, type of motion, operating conditions and service requirements, and then generate a list of actuators that meet specific criteria. Note, however, that these programs serve as tools and are not a substitute for a comprehensive engineering evaluation based on experience.


Quick selection of a pneumatic actuator is of great importance to reduce costs and increase the efficiency of machine construction and operation. It is important to consider key factors such as load, speed, environmental conditions and service life. Meanwhile, the use of manufacturer’s catalogs, consultations with experts, software and applications are proven methods that can help you quickly select pneumatic actuators.

We hope this article was helpful and provided you with a lot of new information about pneumatic actuator selection. Remember that the right choice of an actuator is crucial to the efficiency and durability of your machines.