Finding the Right Key Design for Air Cylinders

air ramsAir cylinders, sometimes called air rams, are offered in various types, sizes, and shapes. There is also a plethora of standard options available.

Air rams are selected by their ability to do work, and proper air cylinder selection is of great importance to any industry. It starts with the right design to meet the application’s needs and also knowing the parts and options available in air cylinders.

Rod Bearings

This is always the first component that requires maintenance because of debris and wear. This necessitates constant seal replacement. Choose air rams that offer easy seal or bearing replacement without having to disassemble the cylinder completely. Also, choose bearings with friction coating in a non-rigid and floating style to extend its lifespan and prevent binding.


These are “end-of-stroke” that reduce noise from end-of-stroke banging by trapping air that decelerates the piston before it impacts the end cap. These can be fixed or adjusted, a less costly option.

Piston bearings

This is a low friction strip wrapped around the piston. Piston bearings help reduce wear between the piston and tube ID. They are most effective in harsh applications where a side load may be put on the piston rod.

Coatings vs brass or stainless steel

Chemical coatings or epoxy on a cylinder are less expensive alternatives to brass or stainless-steel cylinders. Most cylinder manufacturers today offer an option of adding a tie rod, bearing, or steel piston rod to an aluminium cylinder. Specific applications like food processing may require a chemical washdown that necessitates an all-stainless-steel cylinder.


Not every application uses a standard NFPA cylinder. Manufacturers usually provide specially designed air rams to solve specific customer applications. Non-standard mounting brackets, rod or thread extensions, and special seals are examples of options that manufacturers may offer. Never hesitate to enquire about a cylinder specifically designed for certain equipment. This is much more affordable than creating equipment around a standard air cylinder.

To learn more or for enquiries about air cylinders, valves, pneumatic tools, and the like, visit Master Mac 2000 at their website,

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