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Benefits and disadvantages of pneumatics

Pneumatic systems are designs that use pressurized gas to power machines and tools. There are many disadvantages and advantages of pneumatic systems.   Here is a short pro and con list comparison:


Source availability: Pneumatic systems require air to operate successfully.  As a result of air being extremely abundant, and free, it is easy to restock the system.

Safety: As a result of pneumatic systems running on air, safety hazards are significantly reduced. There are limited occurrences of fires because air is non-flammable, and leakages in the system do not negatively effect the outside environment

Cost effectiveness: The initial cost of manufacturing a pneumatic device is minimal as a result of the low cost design materials. Plastics, zinc, and aluminum are all relatively affordable materials that are commonly found in pneumatic designs.

Cleanliness- As a result of the system being powered solely by air, the pneumatic device typically requires limited cleaning.  Pressurized air constantly pushes out dirt or debris that get stuck in the system. If there is a blockage, the simplicity of the design also helps. Due to the limited amounts of tubes, the system can be easily disassembled and cleaned.

Maintenance- In order for the system to properly operate it must be lubricated with oil consistently but they have less plumbing than hydraulic systems.


Control and Speed- Air is a compressible gas, which makes control and speed in a pneumatic system more difficult, in comparison to electric or hydraulic systems.  When specific speeds are needed, additional devices have to be attached to the pneumatic system in order to procure the desired result.

Maintenance- Pneumatic systems are less durable that hydraulic counterparts. Due to moisture accumulation the system can freeze up.

Safety: Pipes that feed the system air have the ability to move on uncontrollably on their own, which could cause serious injuries to those nearby

Environment suitability: Devices are known to fail over long periods of time due to the dampening of inside edges in the tubes.  Additionally, systems cannot operate underwater and are sensitive to changing temperatures and vibrations

Loudness:  Pneumatic systems are the loudest type of designs that power machines. Actuators that run the system are the source of the noise and are sometimes placed in a separate room to limit sound pollution.

Toxins and chemicals: Sometimes, pneumatic systems use hazardous chemicals in their design. This can result in accidental launches of chemicals into the air, which can be harmful to the surrounding environment.