Sensors are a means of providing feedback to a control system, so that the operating parameters of an application can be continually adjusted for optimal results. Pneumatic cylinder sensors can be used to measure various parameters. Their typical function in pneumatics is to detect the position of a pneumatic cylinder during its operation by means of proximity switches.
The phrase “pneumatic cylinder sensors” usually refers to position sensors, which are important in applications where the piston’s linear position is critical. Position feedback is provided by sensors mounted on the cylinder. It’s passed to the control system so that it can make necessary operational adjustments. Sensor proximity switches can be of an inductive mechanical type, but more common is a magnetic proximity switch and position transmitter connected to a control system.
The sensors deliver electrical signals via a transmitter, reporting the piston’s position to a control system. The feedback provided by position sensors offers an additional layer of security, ensuring that the piston is ideally placed to drive crucial applications.
Pneumatic cylinders also use other sensors, including those measuring airflow and pressure, but we’re focusing on position sensors. Of these, magnetic proximity sensors are probably the most common type. They’re mounted onto the cylinder body, where they can detect the magnetic field generated by the piston’s integral magnet. They indicate its proximity by relaying an ON or OFF signal to the control system.
The sensors can be mounted in various positions on the cylinder body to detect extension and retraction of the piston. They can also be mounted at one or more specific positions for more precise sensory input. The type of sensor you choose and the way they’re mounted will depend on whether you have a round or a rectangular (profile) cylinder body.