It is defined as the replacement of muscular and mental effort of the operator by the use of Pneumatic, Hydraulic, Electric and Electronic components in manufacturing including assembly operations.

Objectives of LCA 

The main objective of low cost automation is to improve the productivity and efficiency of labour (fatigue reduction) without huge investment on capital equipment to produce quality products, to reduce the cost of production and deploy labour to the best advantages.


The application of the low cost automation particularly in small and medium scale industries with the use of simple devices make them automatic at ³LOW COST´ to yield to higher productivity and profitability for stability and growth in building up of national economy of the country.



Increase output. Operators can control several machines. Ensures accuracy. Reduces wastage of materials. Reduces human errors. Deploy labour for the best advantage. Reduces physical effort of operators.



Reduction in production cost. Saving in operating cost More reliable delivery. Better efficiency. Not only confined to industries but also in agriculture, medicine, cottage industries, textiles,etc. Significant reduction in process cost and increase in output. Remarkable improvement in quality, greater consistency of product and reduction in space. Less maintenance.

Choice of control media 

Mechanical Electrical Electronics Pneumatics Hydraulics    

Selection criteria for the control section 

Reliability of components Sensitivity to environment influence Ease of maintenance & repair. Switching time of components Signal speed. Space requirements. Service life. Training requirement for operator & maintenance. Project modification of the control system.

Choice of working media 

Electrics Hydraulics Pneumatics A combination of above.   

Selection criteria of the working section. 

Force Speed Type of motion Size Service life Sensitivity Safety & reliability Energy controls. Controllability. Handling. Storage.

Sl.No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Pneumatic System Reasonably cheap Max pressure is up to 10 bar. Fast working media. Not suitable to application with various load characteristics. Constant and uniform speed cannot be achieved. Synchronization is bit difficult. No health hazard. No return line. Specialist services not required. Air leakage will results in pressure drop causing spoilage of work. Hydraulic System Costly in view of the power pack. High pressure application up to 300-400 bar. Medium to slow working speed. Most suitable under variable load characteristics. Constant and uniform speed can be achieved and synchronization is possible. Contaminated oil results in health hazard and faster system failure. Return line is must. Sometimes specialist services are required to run the system. Oil leakage is common thing and must be prevented, to avoid pressure drop and shabby environments.

6. 7. 8. 9.


PNEUMA means breath or wind or air. PNEUMATICS means the study of air movement and its phenomena. 


In the majority of applications compressed air is used for one or more of the following functions. The use of sensor to determine status of process. Information processing. Switching of actuators by means of final control elements. Carrying out of work.    

Pneumatic components can perform the following types of motion 

Linear Swivel Rotary  


Material handling  Clamping  Shifting  Positioning  Orienting


Packaging Door or chute control Stamping and embossing of components Feeding and Transfer of materials. Turning and inverting of parts. Stacking of components. Sorting of parts


Availability Transport Storage Temperature Explosion proof Cleanliness Simple components Speed Overload safe


Preparation Compressible Force available Noise level Cost


Air contains
Nitrogen 78% Oxygen 21% Others 01 % (CO2,Argon,Hydrogen,Neon etc). 

Pressure Pressure (P) is defined as Force (F) per unit Area (A) and the unit is Pascal (Pa) P = Force / Area in N / m2

BOYLES LAW Boyle¶s law states that the absolute pressure of a given gas varies inversely at its volume, when temperature remains constant.
i.e., P1V1=P2V2=P3V3««.= Constant

Diagrammatic representation of pneumatic circuit diagrams
Drive element or Working element - Cylinders, motors

Final control elements

- Directional control Valve

Processing element

- Logic elements, Pressure and Time dependent valves etc. - Switches, push buttons, Limit switches etc. - Compressed air

Signal elements

Energy supply

General characteristics of pneumatic cylinder 

Diameter 6 mm to 320 mm Stroke length 1 mm to 2 m Available force 2 KN to 30KN Piston speed 0.02 mm to 2 m/s   

WORKING ELEMENTS - (Cylinders or Actuators)
Cylinder or Actuator is one, which converts Pneumatic energy to mechanical output


Single acting cylinder 

Double acting cylinder * Conventional * Double ended piston rod * Tandem * Multi position * Rotary * Rod less

Conventional Diaphragm Rolling diaphragm

Signal and control components influence the operating sequence of the working part and are termed as valves.


Directional control valve Flow control valve Logic elements Pressure and time dependent valves   

Directional control valve
DC valves are used to start, to stop and to change the directions of a pneumatic system

Representation of DC Valves 

Number of ports Number of switching position Mode of actuation Mode of reset   

Flow control valve are used to control the flow rate of air to reduce the speed of the driving element. 

Check valve or Non return valve Restrictor or throttle valve One way flow control valve Quick exhaust Valve   

Meter In (or) Supply Air Throttling 

Can be applied for single acting and smaller volume cylinder. Pressure drop due to the flow and we feel jerky motion. 

Meter Out (or) Exhaust Air Throttling 

Can be applied on any double acting cylinder. Uniform and Steady motion. 


Shuttle valve (OR gate) Duel pressure valve (AND gate) 3/2 way DC valve pilot operated, Spring return, NO (NOT Gate)  

Pressure and time dependent valves 

Pressure relief valve Pressure sequence valve On delay timer NC&NO  

Electro Pneumatics
Integration of Pneumatics and Electrical Technology. Sensing and processing - Electrical Working - Pneumatics


Cost effective Efficient production system-Quick & sure action Cycle times are minimized Signals are transmitted over a long distance Signal transmission and reception is minimized Longer life Less maintenance and minimum wastage of energy Sensing and processing-Electrical

Signal Structure and Signal Flow in Electro Pneumatic System 

Energy supply (Compressed air and electrical) Input elements (Limit switches/ pushbutton/ proximity sensors) Processing elements (switching logic, solenoid valves,
pneumatics to electric converters) 

Final control elements (solenoid operated directional control

Actuators or working element (Cylinders & Motors)

Uses of Elements 

Cylinders or Motors - Actuates the work DC valves

- To change the direction of
working element

Poppet type Slide type 

- For small flow - Larger flow rate

Flow control valve

- Restricts or throttles the
air in particular Direction

To provide signals such as Start, Stop and Position Confirmation. Switch contacts for the basic logic function such as : 

AND - Series contacts OR - Parallel contacts NOT ± Normally closed contacts

Relays are used as processing and final control elements like switches may consist of a simple contacts pair (or) a larger number of No, NC or Change over contacts. Characteristics :  Low maintenance  Able to switch a number of independent circuit parts  Easily adaptable to various operation voltages  High operating speed is short switching times

Certain application requires the use of electronic sensors employing:

Electrical induction Capacitance Infra red light

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