The bending, pushing, and pulling of metals and other materials into their desired shapes is a task well suited to pneumatic technology. For example, in automobile assembly lines, controlled tensile force is required to bend automotive doorframe profiles into specified configurations.

A new type of pneumatic tensile actuator from Festo Corp., Hauppauge, N.Y., provides the pulling force required in this application. Its design is relatively simple: Rubber core tubing is enclosed with two layers of material, in which fibers are aligned in a rhomboidal pattern. Metal end caps are bolted on to complete the unit. When compressed air fills the tubing, it expands radially and contracts axially, thereby generating axial force that's very high compared to that of a conventional pneumatic cylinder. For example, at a given pressure, a tensile actuator with a 20-mm diameter develops as much force as a conventional pneumatic cylinder 63-mm in diameter. Both actuators develop a force of 1.5 kN at 6 bar, even though the cylinder has almost 10 times the cross-sectional area and about eight times the weight. The air consumption of the tensile actuator is lower as well.

Information courtesy of National Fluid Power Association and Festo Corp. For more information, visit nfpa.com or festo.com.

Fill up on fluid power at May conference

The Fluid Power Conference & Expo, produced by Hydraulics & Pneumatics magazine, takes place May 9 to 11 at the Dallas Convention Center and will be co-located with Waste Expo. The event incorporates a series of in-depth fluid power conference sessions within a tradeshow environment. Over the two days, industry experts will give presentations sponsored by manufacturers of fluid power components, systems, and related products. Following each session, an exhibit area of fluid power technology is open and available for attendees to visit. For more information, visit hydraulicspneumatics.com and wasteexpo.com.