Pneumatics v Hydraulics? It’s a common debate within the manufacturing world. Both are tried and tested means of actuation and both are widely relied upon across industry. In this article, Best Pneumatic Systems looks to resolve the “pneumatic equipment v hydraulic equipment” debate once and for all. From discussing their individual benefits and why you might decide to use them, it’s time for pneumatic equipment and hydraulic equipment to go head-to-head!
BENEFITS OF PNEUMATIC EQUIPMENT
The main difference between pneumatics and hydraulics is the medium used to transmit power. Pneumatic equipment uses compressed air and gases to function, whereas hydraulic equipment relies on fluids and oils. One of the main benefits of pneumatic equipment over hydraulic is the ability to work faster. Because air is agile and can flow with little resistance, pneumatic equipment benefits from higher compressor flow rates. As a result, pneumatic components deliver higher operating speeds, as well as rapid movement in general. Another benefit of pneumatic equipment is the ability to dump compressed air straight into the atmosphere. In addition, pneumatics also offer a very clean system, which makes them suitable for hygienic applications, such as food processing. Because pneumatic equipment works best with low load applications, it can come in a wide variety of smaller sizes to suit the working environment. As a result, pneumatics are much more commonly used than hydraulics. Above all else, the upkeep of pneumatic equipment tends to cost less too. Hydraulic equipment usually requires more complex assembly and maintenance, something that pneumatics do not. For a more economical means of actuation, pneumatic equipment would always be the preference.
BENEFITS OF HYDRAULIC EQUIPMENT
The main benefits of hydraulic equipment is its ability to work well with higher load applications. Hydraulic equipment can produce higher forces than pneumatics, which means it can lift and move heavier loads far more efficiently. This is because hydraulic oil is not compressible, unlike air and gases found in pneumatic equipment. To obtain the force that a standard hydraulic ram would produce with a piece of pneumatic equipment you would need a much larger pneumatic cylinder. As a result, hydraulic equipment and systems can be found in various high power environments, such as in dams, rivers and turbines. While pneumatics are often chosen for their low-maintenance characteristics, hydraulics offer far greater power, meaning they can be applied in more demanding scenarios. Therefore, for any operation that requires extremely high pressures, hydraulic equipment offers greater benefits than pneumatics, making them the logical choice. Another benefit of hydraulic equipment is precision. Hydraulic equipment makes it easy to control heavier loads smoothly.
PNEUMATICS V HYDRAULICS: WHICH IS BETTER?
Now for the million-pound question: “which one is better?”. The truth is, both pneumatic and hydraulic equipment have their advantages and disadvantages. Neither means of actuation is inherently better than the other. Which one you should use depends entirely on your application or industry requirements. Fortunately, Best Pneumatic Systems is a comprehensive supplier of both pneumatic equipment and hydraulic equipment. Whatever your application or industry requirements might be, we have pneumatic and hydraulic solutions to suit you. If you’d like to find out more about any of our pneumatic or hydraulic equipment, please contact Best Pneumatic Systems today on 01254 395000 or email [email protected]. We are ready and willing to give you the best possible advice and guidance.