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Interchangeability Standards Take the Guesswork Out of Replacing an Actuator

Sometimes a machine builder may prefer to replace an actuator with an easier-to-obtain unit or one with more desirable features. In order to help simplify the transition, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) developed standards for cylinder interchangeability. These standards offer the assurance of knowing that a replacement cylinder will be dimensionally compatible across other compliant brands, and machine builders are not bound to one supplier’s products when modifying a machine. That means customers can obtain replacements that have the same form, fit and function as the original, and they can upgrade equipment faster. Interchangeability standards typically specify:

  • Piston rod-type cylinders.
  • Standard bore sizes and piston rod diameters.
  • Standard cylinder strokes.
  • Piston rod end thread sizes.
  • All cylinder dimensions that are relevant for customer interfaces, such as length, port thread and mounting dimensions.
  • Accessory dimensions, in some cases.

Not all actuators are created equal. For example, different manufacturers may use different materials in cylinder construction, and the scope of standard features or options can vary. Different manufacturers will also have various price points.

You may also encounter de facto industry standards, which typically develop around a product that achieves good market share and is replicated by other manufacturers. Fabco-Air’s Original Pancake® cylinder is one such example.

Fabco’s varied actuator lineup includes many interchangeable cylinders. Examples include the rugged, high-performance NFPA Series available in a full offering of features and mounting styles, and the cost-optimized FCQN Series, OEM-NFPA, which integrates many of the features as a standard offering. There’s also an ISO 6431 cylinder — the FAQ2R — featuring a hard-anodized aluminum body. If space is a concern, the popular Pancake® II and our stainless steel F Series are also interchangeable.

Stress-Free Cylinder Replacement

NFPA and ISO standards eliminate the worry of choosing an air cylinder that doesn’t meet your size or function expectations. For even more assurance, it also pays to work with a manufacturer that offers cylinders that both comply with these standards and come in a variety of sizes, mounting styles and constructions. Fabco-Air’s experts can review your requirements and help you select the interchangeable actuator that best meets your needs, making cylinder replacement quick, easy and stress-free.

For more information about specifying pneumatic cylinders, download our white paper.

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