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Double Acting Cylinder

Explain the function of double
acting cylinder.
Describe the main types of
controlling double acting cylinder.
Explain the difference between
direct control and indirect control
of single acting cylinder.
Explain the differences between
single and double acting cylinder.
Draw the required circuit diagram.
Simulate the pneumatic circuit
using FluidSIM software.

Double Acting Cylinder
Double acting cylinder is considered to be as a main
actuator in any pneumatic systems.
Double acting cylinders are more expensive than single
acting cylinders, but double acting cylinders are
superior to single acting cylinders by any other
important measure.
Double action cylinders are faster and stronger.
In industrial applications, single action cylinders are
used in few applications, but when speed and force
are important double acting cylinders are employed.

Applications of DAC
1. Opening and closing doors
2. Taking things off conveyor belts
and putting things on conveyor
3. Lifting and moving packages around
4. Presses and punches.

Comparison between Single &
Double Acting Cylinders
Serial Single acting cylinder Double acting cylinder
1 It has one port. It has two ports.
2 It has a spring. It has no spring.
It exerts force in one
direction only.
It exerts force in two directions
(forward and backward).
It uses compressed air in
the forward stroke while
the return stroke is
achieved by the spring.
It uses compressed air in both
strokes forward and backward.
Double acting cylinder is an
output device that converts
the pressure energy to a
mechanical energy (linear

Way of Operation
Double acting cylinder as
mentioned has two ports and
the air is applied in both
directions (forward and

Forward (Advance) Stroke
The air is supplied to port
(1) and the exhaust air is
forced out through port (2)
Backward (Return) Stroke
The air is supplied to port
(2) and the exhaust air is
forced out through port (1)
Which Force is larger; The
Forward or Backward Stroke?
The force produced by the
piston during the advance
stroke is greater than the
force produced during the
return stroke due to the area
difference between the two
sides of the piston
Control circuit of the
double acting cylinder
The piston rod of a double-acting
cylinder is to advance when a push
button is operated and to return to
the initial position when the push
button is released. The double-acting
cylinder can carry out work in both
directions of motion, due to the full
air supply pressure being available for
extension and retraction.

Types of Control of a Pneumatic


The simplest level of control for the single or double-acting
cylinder involves direct control signals.

With this, the cylinder is actuated directly via a manually or
mechanically actuated valve, without any intermediate switching
of additional directional control valves.

If the port sizes and the flow values of the valve are too large,
the operating forces required may be too great for direct
manual operation.

: Reference values for limits of direct cylinder control
Cylinder with piston diameter smaller than 40 mm
Valves with connection sizes smaller than 1/4"


Cylinders with a large piston diameter have a high
air requirement.

A control element with high nominal flow rate must
be used to actuate these.

If the force should prove too high for a manual
actuation of the valve, then an indirect actuation
should be constructed, whereby a signal is
generated via a second smaller valve, which will
provide the force necessary to switch the control
To achieve the indirect control, a single and/or
double pilot valves will be required

The actuation of a cylinder is effected via a directional
control valve. The choice of such a directional control valve
(number of connections, number of switching positions, and
type of actuation) is dependent on the respective

The advancing speed and the retracting speed are
different in the single acting cylinder because the piston
reset spring creates a counteracting force when advancing.
When retracting, the displaced air escapes via the valve. A
flow resistance must therefore be overcome.

Normally, single-acting cylinders are designed in such a way
that the advancing speed is greater than the retracting