In a pneumatic cylinder, the compressed air is used to exert force on a cylinder piston in order move it in a specific direction. The movement of the piston is transferred to the parts to be moved by a piston rod or a frictional connection. A pneumatic cylinder is an actuator operated with compressed air usually up to a maximum of 12 bar in order to generate linear or rotary motion. A distinction should be made between single-acting and double-acting cylinders (work is performed only in one direction or in both directions). Typical application areas for pneumatic drives are clamping, lifting, countersinking, pushing, pulling, feeding, turning, gripping, clamping and holding, joining, stopping, stamping, embossing and many others. Pneumatic drives are characterised by high acceleration and deceleration. Speeds of between 10 mm/s and 3 m/s can be achieved. Pneumatic drives are sturdy and flexible thanks to the compressibility of the air.
Standards-based or ISO cylinders are pneumatic cylinders with standardised dimensions and mounting interfaces. Cylinders that comply with a specific standard have identical dimensions. There are standards for piston rod cylinders with round design (ISO 6432), compact design (ISO 21287) and for large cylinders (ISO 15552).