Electric linear drives are replacing conventional pneumatic cylinders in more and more applications. The reasons include poor efficiency, high costs for commissioning, reconfiguration, service and maintenance, and the limited control capabilities of pneumatic systems. A recent total cost comparison demonstrates that electric linear drives, at current prices for components and electricity, pay for themselves within a few months even for simple point-to-point motions with two end positions. This also helps to reduce the carbon footprint significantly. In addition, they provide greater flexibility in the design of production processes and production monitoring systems.
Pneumatic drives are characterized by lower acquisition costs, robustness against external influences (e.g., temperature variations and dust), and high resistance to overload. They are also simple to operate and do not require holding current when installed in a vertical orientation. Compressed air is also used for transport and cleaning tasks in many shop floor and industrial environments, so that compressor systems need to be provided in any case. So it’s no wonder that pneumatics are used in a wide range of applications and can be found in many factories.