Air Preparation Blog High Force Actuators

The Right Pneumatic Component Partner Can Help You Keep Automotive Manufacturing on Schedule

When you manufacture products for a just-in-time industry like automotive, the windows for machine design and construction typically get smaller with each product. In addition, the machines and equipment you build must stand up to harsh conditions on the factory floor. That’s why when it comes to selecting pneumatic components, it’s important to partner with a supplier who not only can provide tough, durable products, they must also get them to you fast.

Fabco-Air offers durable, pneumatic cylinders, accessories and air preparation products that withstand the rigors of capital equipment used for automotive production. Whether they’re intended for clamping, lifting, positioning or pressing — or keeping your plant’s compressed air tools and systems in optimal shape — our wide and varied lineup of standard pneumatic components come in many sizes, ready for shipping. We can also modify off-the-shelf components and ship custom samples to you in just 72 hours. Here are some examples of Fabco products that are well suited for automotive applications:

  • Pneumatic Cylinders. Heavy-duty construction features include anodized aluminum bodies, stainless steel piston rods and a high-strength composite to give these actuators added durability. Many cylinders also come pre-lubed with Magnalube-G® Teflon™-impregnated grease for a long operating life. ISO models like the FAQ2R and FAE Series with 6431 and 6432 dimensional interchanges, respectively, as well as the Fabco NFPA give designers flexibility and confidence when designing and specifying these components.
  • Multi-Power® Cylinders. This cylinder family is designed with multiple piston heads connected to a single rod, resulting in tremendous thrust forces. Multi-Power cylinders use just a small amount of shop air and don’t need a high-pressure hydraulic system. They have a composite rod bearing for long life and a hard chrome-plated stainless steel piston rod to ensure reliable operation.
  • Air Preparation Products. We’ll help you keep critical parts and tools throughout your plant running at their best and over a long lifetime with a large selection of filters, regulators, lubricators and separators plus FRLs and other combination units.
  • Swing Clamps. Available with single-or double-sided clamp arms, swing clamps provide easy access for loading and unloading workpieces.
  • Rod Locks. These accessories feature high clamping forces and require minimal air for release.
  • Specials. If our standard parts don’t quite meet your application’s requirements, we can modify our cylinders and air products to your exact specifications. In fact, almost half our business comes from specially modified products.

Pneumatic Components When You Need Them

As automotive manufacturers ramp up facilities to meet increasingly stringent production deadlines, component availability and reliability are critical to preventing unacceptable delays. When you need high-quality pneumatic technology for your automotive equipment, durable, reliable and readily available standard and custom components make Fabco an invaluable partner to get you up and running fast and for a long time.

For more information about Fabco-Air pneumatic components for automotive applications, visit our industry page.

Blog Grippers Linear Slides

Pneumatic Components Help Packaging Operations Meet Aggressive Production Targets

In the high-speed, high-volume packaging industry, automated systems and robots are used widely to maximize output and efficiency. If you’re building or upgrading packaging machines and systems to keep pace with aggressive production goals, the components you choose must provide precise, reliable, around-the-clock operation and satisfy your load and speed requirements.

Fabco-Air offers a wide range of robust, high-performance pneumatic slides, cylinders and grippers to help manufacturers of palletizers, conveyors and pick-and-place robots keep their high-speed machines running and ensure continuous uptime. They offer exceptional durability for harsh industrial environments, excellent repeatability and they can satisfy a wide range of size, speed and budget requirements. Highlights of the product lineup include:

  • Linear Slides. Whether you have a packaging machine that requires simple positioning or a multi-axis robotic system in an automated environment, you’ll find the right linear slide in our broad lineup. For example, the L Series offers a good load-handling capacity; the S Series is both economical and compact in size; and the SE Series has a compact size and exhibits no play.
  • Pneumatic Cylinders. Fabco-Air is well-known for compact cylinders with short stroke lengths that accommodate space-constrained automated systems. On top of that, Fabco has much more to offer including stainless-steel crimped cylinders, NFPA actuators and more. Many of our cylinders are available in double-acting versions, which are ideal for pushing and pulling tasks like feeding, lifting, lowering and sorting. They’re also built tough with several offering composite cylinder walls and rod bushings, stainless steel piston rods and internally lubricated captive rod and piston seals for long life. Food-grade and wash down cylinders are also available.
  • Parallel Grippers. When it comes to pick-and-place machines, part ejection equipment and end-of-arm tooling for robotic systems, parallel grippers are hard to beat. We offer a variety of jaw styles and size ranges to adapt to any application or load requirement.
  • Custom Products as Specials. If our standard parts don’t quite meet your application’s requirements, we can modify our slides and cylinders to deliver the higher forces, faster speeds and longer strokes you need. In fact, almost half our business comes from specially modified products. And, we can design, prototype and deliver custom samples within 72 hours, which is important for operations like packaging where downtime is not an option.

Maximize Equipment Uptime

Fast, efficient packaging operations depend on machines that run continuously and smoothly. Be sure to partner with a company that provides a wide range of strong, reliable and precise pneumatic components that can handle high loads and meet challenging production goals. Fabco-Air pneumatic components offer high performance, reliability, repeatability and customization options that allow your packaging equipment to maximize your equipment’s uptime and bolster your bottom line.

For more information about Fabco-Air pneumatic components for packaging equipment, visit our industry page.

Actuators Blog High Force Actuators

Powerful Cylinders for High-Force Applications

When it comes to shearing, punching or broaching applications, you’ll need a lot of force to do the job — especially if it involves metal workpieces. But obtaining that muscle adds a lot of headaches to what should be a simple setup. For example, high-pressure hydraulics can give you the force you need, but they can make a mess and add expensive equipment to your system. And, pneumatic cylinders come with the challenge of obtaining enough compressed air to do the job.

Thankfully, there’s a clean option that can deliver the high force you need while still economizing on space and air requirements. Fabco Multi-Power® cylinders provide tremendous thrust using a small amount of compressed air. In fact, just 100 psi of shop air can produce 22 pounds of force. No high-pressure hydraulics and no bulky, large-bore cylinders are needed.

The Multi-Power Principle

The Multi-Power cylinder design incorporates multiple pistons attached to a single rod that has integral air channels integrated through the shaft. Multiple pistons create a larger collective surface area for the shop air pressure to act on, while pistons are pressurized simultaneously. The result: extraordinary thrust forces at the cylinder rod. That means you get maximum power from the smallest footprint possible. Multi-Power cylinders use only one piston to retract, so you can achieve 22 to 37 percent air volume savings. And, mounting savings can range from 44 to 75 percent. Additional features and benefits of Multi-Power cylinders include:

  • A wide range of bore sizes
  • A composite rod bearing for long life
  • Chrome-plated stainless steel piston rods
  • Prelubrication with Magnalube-G® Teflon grease
  • Available in two, three and four stages with many mounting options (including NFPA).

If a standard product doesn’t suit your needs, we can tailor-make a cylinder with a Multi-Power design. You can also choose a Multi-Power version of these popular Fabco-Air actuators:

  • Pancake®
  • Pancake® II
  • Longstroke™
  • Square I®
  • Air presses

High Force Output With No Hassle

There are times when an application requires greater output forces than can be obtained from conventional cylinders even though space is at a premium. With Fabco Air’s Multi-Power line of cylinders, you can avoid the hassles and costs involved with conventional actuators and high-pressure hydraulic systems.

For more information about Fabco Air’s Multi-Power line of high-force actuators, visit the product page.

Actuators Blog

How Cylinders Support Copy Exact Manufacturing in Semiconductor Applications

When it comes to semiconductor applications, you need pneumatic components that offer high precision and reliability in a compact package. They should also conform to the Copy Exactly! standards prevalent in the industry, ensuring performance and quality consistency across the entire operation.

Let’s take a closer look at these features, which can help you select the right pneumatic parts for semiconductor equipment:

What is Copy Exact Manufacturing?

To ensure uniformity and consistency across the entire process, many semiconductor manufacturers have adopted a Copy Exact (CE) production strategy. This means new or replacement pneumatic cylinders must exhibit functional and physical interchangeability with each other, achieving the same technical and performance outputs as legacy parts. This method ensures components never vary from their original design and guarantees your manufacturing process is maintained without any quality issues.

From laboratories to high-volume production environments, look for cylinders that meet the demands of CE manufacturing. For example, our proven Pancake® cylinders—with all their features, material options and sizes—never vary in performance or design, leading to consistent end-products every time.

Durable Materials in a Compact Package

To meet your specific media requirements, cylinders, linear slides and valves should incorporate durable materials like aluminum and stainless steel, both of which enable smooth motion and longevity in semiconductor equipment. In addition, look for pneumatic parts that feature a lightweight, compact design—making them ideal for tight installation spaces.

Our Pancake® cylinders, for example, provide short strokes in a low-profile design. They also feature the longest possible stroke for the smallest package size.

Standard and Custom Cylinders—When You Need Them

With over half of our pneumatic products designed as specialty models, contact us today if one of our standard cylinders doesn’t fit your requirements. Best of all, you’ll still enjoy the same short lead times as our off-the-shelf products.

To learn more about our Pancake cylinders, please visit our product page.


Take the Guesswork Out of Cylinder Selection with NFPA Cylinders

Sorting through the many features and specifications of air cylinders from various manufacturers can be daunting. One good way to simplify this process is to consider NFPA style actuators. By adhering to a common set of standards, these actuators enable you to standardize your design, letting you turn your focus to the key features that can significantly impact the performance and reliability of your machine.

This blog post will review what to look for in NFPA actuators, ensuring you select the best-performing unit for your application. And if your budget is a concern, you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice features to meet your needs.

Once you’ve determined the force you’ll need and the bore size that will achieve it, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Construction. It’s a safe bet that your cylinder will go into a demanding application with potent forces acting on key parts and an operating environment that can threaten reliability. Quality materials and a sturdy construction can ensure reliable performance and a long life. At the same time, we recommend reviewing each cylinder’s standard features and materials to avoid driving up unnecessary costs.
  • Solid piston. The piston is the workhorse of your cylinder, so make sure it can withstand the rigors of your application.
  • Feedback. Look for sensor options to convey the piston position with accuracy.
  • Pre-lubrication. Lubrication is a critical component to the life of an NFPA air cylinder. Ensure you know the specific requirements of your application as some installations require support for higher temperatures or direct food contact.
  • Mounting. Make sure your chosen cylinder manufacturer offers a range of all NFPA standard mounting options to ensure these cylinders not only fit your current needs, but future applications and machine builds as well.

The Right Attributes Make a Difference

At Fabco-Air, we offer all these attributes and more in our NFPA cylinders. The standard offering has 19 different mounting styles to fit your equipment and fulfill your motion requirements as intended. They’re also built tough. The high-strength aluminum alloy tube includes a 60 Rc inner diameter hard-anodized coating that impregnates the base aluminum for extra durability. A solid yet lightweight aluminum alloy piston also includes a standard, wide and graphite-filled Teflon® wear band to support maximum loading, and the steel tie rods deliver effective holding power. Our standard cylinders include an oversized nonmetallic composite rod bearing that can handle high loads and resist wear. These NFPA cylinders come pre-lubed with Magnalube-G® — a Teflon-impregnated grease that resists corrosion and moisture across a wide temperature range to ensure long life.

In addition to cylinders with conventional machined end cap actuators, the NFPA line has an economical alternative with die-cast end caps: the OEM-NFPA FCQN Series. These units, which feature a design that trades flexibility for cost, come with a full complement of standard features, including hard-anodized aluminum barrels, standard magnetic piston with adjustable air cushions, anodized end caps for cost-sensitive applications and factory lubrication with Magnalube-G.

In addition, both the standard NFPA and OEM-NFPA FCQN cylinders offer LED magnetic piston position sensor and reed switch options, plus many more features. Custom designed units are also available to fit almost any application’s specific needs.

Get the Best Results From Your NFPA Cylinder

As you take advantage of the easy implementation that interchangeable NFPA cylinders offer, consider the construction and other features that set cylinders in this class apart. Our NFPA cylinders offer the mounting styles, heavy-duty construction, positioning options and maintenance features that can deliver the best performance and reliability for your application.

Although choosing a cylinder can be difficult, it pays to review your requirements with us. We can help provide just the right NFPA cylinder with the mounting style that you need.

For more information about Fabco-Air NFPA air cylinders, visit our product page.


Fabco-Air NFPA and OEM-NFPA Air Cylinders

NFPA pneumatic cylinders combine rugged construction and versatility. Available in a variety of versions and 17 mounting styles, these interchangeable NFPA cylinders allow users to directly replace other manufacturers’ NFPA units of the same type and dimensions for greater design freedom. The cylinder tube is built with a high-strength aluminum barrel, and users can also choose all-stainless steel, tandem, three-position and back-to-back models.


Design Flaws Solved With Pneumatic Grippers

When you’re using pneumatic grippers in an application, you’re not betting on them to fail, but not all grippers are created equal. Flaws in construction can do anything from impacting the life cycle of your equipment to creating major maintenance headaches. The simple construction of Fabco-Air’s SPG Series pneumatic grippers helps to eliminate these flaws.

The SPG Series uses a simple but effective approach. A pair of ground, stainless steel guide shafts doubling as air pistons are press-fit and pinned to each gripper jaw. These two jaw units are then linked by the third moving part, a rocker arm that synchronizes motion. With only three moving parts, the SPG Series can eliminate any number of problems, including:

  • Difficulties with tooling attachments
  • Troubles with maintenance
  • Replacements without major readjustment and alignment
  • Verifying parts presence or gauging part size

To learn more about how the SPG Series grippers can help decrease maintenance time and expand your mounting options, download our white paper here.


Fabco-Air Website Tour

Follow along as we show you how to get the most out of our new site. In our video tour, you’ll learn how to find products faster, build your own CAD model, search for distributors and more.

Actuators Blog

Exploring Important Cylinder Features for Medical Applications

From lab automation to device manufacturing, medical applications demand cylinders that offer reliability, consistent performance and above all—cleanliness. At Fabco-Air, we offer both custom and off-the-shelf cylinders that meet these requirements to keep your critical processes running smoothly.

Hygienic design resists corrosion. For safe, reliable operation in clean manufacturing environments, we offer cylinders made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel and Delrin®. For more specific requirements, our engineering team can leverage a variety of proprietary coatings to ensure the cylinders hold up to any caustic substances. If the cylinder is directly exposed to a sensitive environment, we can also incorporate corrosion-resistant seals and use FDA-approved lubricants.

Compact package fits tight installations. Cylinders like our popular Original Pancake®, Global Series™, Square 1® and F Series are also lightweight and compact; their low-profile design enables installation even in the tightest of footprints. As a result, our cylinders achieve a long cycle life and maximum performance for the smallest package size, making them ideal for lab environments and other installations where space may be an issue.

Overcome challenges with unlimited customization. Whether for medical device manufacturing or pharmaceutical production, we can adapt any of our standard cylinders to meet your unique application requirements. These specials can include many modified features related to size, media compatibility, temperature, material systems, sealing and more.

For example, we customized one of our double-acting Pancake® II Cylinders to fit a small space in a medical packaging machine. We milled flats on both end caps for more precise alignment and incorporated a 4-inch bore by 1-inch stroke, high-strength composite wall, hard chrome-plated stainless steel piston rod, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) composite rod bearings and internally lubricated dynamic O-rings.

For more information on how we can deliver a standard or custom cylinder for your medical application, visit our product page.

Actuators Blog

Choosing Reliable Cylinders for Fast-Moving Web Processes

Printing, converting and papermaking machines operate at breakneck line speeds around the clock. From laminating films to converting large parent rolls, you can’t afford to halt these processes due to a faulty pneumatic cylinder. Instead, you need cylinders that can provide the reliability and long lifespan required by these demanding web processes.

Durable, Powerful and On Time

Printing, converting and papermaking machines need durable cylinders that are built to last despite long hours of operation. Look for cylinders that integrate durable materials like aluminum and stainless steel, which will maximize cylinder performance and longevity in 24/7 printing processes. An example is our popular NFPA Standard Actuator Series, which incorporates hard chrome plated stainless steel piston rods, as well as a high performance composite rod bearing for maximum load bearing support and superb wear resistance.

Other durable features include:

  • Pre-lubrication using  special petroleum-based oil for long, maintenance-free performance.
  • Roll-formed rod threads at both ends, which provide strength for connections.
  • Buna-N rod and piston seals lower friction and compensate for wear, leading to long cycle life (optional low- and high-temperature seals available).

And for web processes that require higher forces and minimal floor space, our Multi-Power® Cylinders deliver forces comparable to low-pressure hydraulics—up to 22 tons. Choose from a variety of sizes, configurations and options, including Dial-A-Stroke®, which precisely adjusts strokes by 0.050 to 0.071 inches depending on your cylinder size.

Reap Even More Benefits With Custom Features

Sometimes your printing or converting applications may require custom cylinder features. If that’s the case, we can easily modify one of our standard models to withstand particulates, handle higher cycle rates—and more. And best of all, we offer short lead times on all standard and custom units, ensuring your fast-moving web processes run with minimal downtime.

To learn more, visit our product page.