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Festo adds self-adjusting cushioning to food industry pneumatic cylinders

02 April 2012

In the food and beverage industries hygienic manufacturing is important to ensure safe first-class products and protect customers and brands alike. However it is far from the only consideration, reduction of costs and overall production efficiency are also important topics. In its latest pneumatic cylinders Festo have taken the opportunity to combine these two aspects to create hygienic design cylinders with time saving integrated self adjusting cushioning.

Clean Design
In the food and splash zone of food processing operations, corrosion-proof design and the use of appropriate materials is mandatory to prevent contamination and protect automation equipment that may be damaged by cleaning agents or foodstuffs.

Of course Festo offers a variety of pneumatic solutions for the food and splash zones including compact clean design cylinders (CDN) and valves and valve terminals (CDSV/CDVI).However the Festo round cylinders CRDSNU and ISO cylinders DSBF offer more than just suitability for the food industry and corrosion resistance: they also feature self-adjusting cushioning PPS. This makes commissioning as quick and easy as child’s play.

Self adjusting cushioning saves time
The Festo self-adjusting cushioning PPS means no more toing-and-froing when adjusting the cushioning of hygienic pneumatic cylinders. This cushioning system, available as an option, allows dynamic but gentle deceleration into the end positions without the need for users to intervene manually ensuring an optimum cushioning action every time, even if parameters such as friction and pressure vary. This reduces wear and minimizes vibration which costs cycle time. Thanks to PPS, there is no need for an adjusting screw, which makes the cylinders easier to clean.

Until now, users needed to adjust the cylinders’ integrated end-position cushioning manually. This takes time, making the commissioning of systems with large numbers of cylinders requiring cushioning a lengthy process.

Quieter, safer and maintenance free
Innovative cushioning ports allow the air to be vented in an optimal manner and adjust automatically to suit the prevailing speed and load conditions, providing manufacturers and machine builders with a true 'fit and forget' solution.

Cylinders with PPS cushioning have exactly the same physical dimensions as their standard counterparts and are completely interchangeable, providing users with considerable flexibility of design. The system provides highly repeatable cushioning characteristics, with up to 400 percent better energy absorption, depending on cylinder size. This leads to considerably quieter operation - a noise reduction of up to 50 percent - and as much as 80 per cent less vibration. These attributes mean that machine designers can now elect to use cylinders of the same size to handle larger loads and speeds or to obtain increased actuator life-times, or they can use smaller cylinders to secure the same dynamic performance.

Another advantage of Festo's PPS system is that it requires no adjustment, making it a safe and maintenance-free option. Virtually all pneumatic actuators on the market that offer pneumatic end-position cushioning have adjustment screws. Setting up the end-position damping on these actuators can be a potentially hazardous procedure, involving exposure to moving parts. It invariably involves operating the machine under normal load conditions but without guarding, in order that trained personnel can adjust the actuator's damping characteristics in situ.

Furthermore, final adjustments are usually made just before a machine enters service, which places personnel under considerable pressure to complete the task as quickly as possible. As a consequence, pneumatic actuators are often imperfectly adjusted, with under-damping causing higher end-position impacts, higher noise levels and increased wear, or over-damping causing lengthier machine cycle times. Either way, less than optimal adjustment results in decreased operating efficiency.

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