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  1. What Is a Servo Actuator?

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    Servo Actuators

    Actuators are designed to convert energy from different sources, such as electric currents, pneumatic pressure, or hydraulic fluid pressure, into motion. There are three main types of actuators: pneumatic actuators, hydraulic actuators, and servo actuators.

    Servo actuators use feedback signals to move or control mechanical systems in a highly efficient and safe manner. This is possible because servo actuators have a controller that can accurately compare, contrast, and calculate the potential differences between the desired results and system conditions on a real-time basis before the motion starts.

    Servo actuators use a servo motor in either an open or closed-loop control system. Several servo actuator models have a food-grade approved coating of paint for more sanitary wash-down applications.

    Servo actuators are available in both ball and roller screw configurations, like the HyperCyl-EMA, which has several options available for output force. They have an extended service life because they can easily be re-lubricated without disassembly.

    How Does a Servo Actuator Work?

    A servo system has three main core components:

    • A controlled device that allows the actuator to successfully operate
    • An output sensor/signal that acts as the main controller to tell the device what to do
    • A position sensor, encoder feedback, or load cell to provide accurate system feedback readings

    Servo Actuator Control Systems

    The control systems, which allow the actuators to operate, come in two different designs.

    Closed-Loop Control System

    Commonly referred to as feedback controllers, this type of control system is fully automatic and uses the input of the system and the output of the system controls to function. Closed-loop control systems are usually very accurate.

    Open-Loop Control System

    Commonly referred to as a non-feedback system, this type of control system is not automatic and doesn’t have a feedback loop. The output of the system depends on the input. However, the input or controller is independent of the output produced by the system. Open-loop systems do not measure the device’s output or use the information as input for further consideration.

    How Do Servo Actuator Controls Work?

    Servo actuators are controlled by a feedback signal generated by comparing the output signal and the reference-input signal rather than a variable-input signal. Whenever a command or reference-input signal is applied to the system, it is immediately compared with the system’s output-reference signal produced by the output sensor. Lastly, a third signal is produced by the servo actuator’s feedback system before it starts to move.

    The device can also be programmed with certain instructions and autonomously perform the movements on its own. For example, the actuator can receive a command to go to a specific position and immediately follow the command. This makes them very different from comparable pneumatic valves (pneumatic actuators) and pumps (hydraulic actuators), which can only follow simple instructions to ‘power on’ or ‘power off’ on their own.

    Applications of Servo Actuators

    There are numerous applications of servo actuators. Some of these include toys, home electronics, computers, drones, and remote controlled cars.

    Servo actuators also often play a crucial role in the function of both land- and sea-based vehicles – such as automobiles, airplanes, helicopters, and submarines.


    Servo actuators can contribute to the function of these parts in automobiles:

    • Engine Cradle Assembly
    • Engine Sub-Assembly
    • Ball Joints and Bushings

    Airplanes and Helicopters

    Servo actuators adjust the wing angle of airplanes and control steering by moving the levers back and forth. Airplanes can easily “fly-by-wire” when they have a servo-controlled main system instead of an older hydraulic-powered one.

    Servo actuators can also control the speed of a helicopter by moving a swash plate, which can tilt the pitch of the blades in a certain direction to give it more lift.


    Servo actuators can adjust the submarine’s steering, bay doors, hatches, and rudder.

    Servo Actuators at HyperCyl

    HyperCyl has been providing servo actuators and other high quality assembly and forming solutions for customers in the industrial automation, commercial, manufacturing, and defense industries for over 25 years. Please contact us or request a quote today to learn more about servo actuators or our other product and service offerings. Our highly experienced team members would be happy to use their expertise to talk with you and help you identify the appropriate actuator for your organization’s specific needs.

  2. Why Use Air Over Oil Cylinders?

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    air over oilAir over oil cylinders are pneumatic cylinders designed to produce greater force than standard pneumatic cylinders of the same bore size. They incorporate both oil and air within the mechanism, creating a hybrid pneumatic-hydraulic cylinder that intensifies the amount of force generated by compressed air input.

    HyperCyl takes the innovative design of hybrid air over oil cylinders to the next level with our patented rod and piston mechanism. Unlike other designs, our cylinders do not use an external oil reservoir. Instead, the oil reservoir is completely sealed and incorporated into the cylinder itself. Our air over oil cylinders uses compressed air on the piston to exert force within a sealed hydraulic chamber by pneumatically driving a rod into the oil reservoir, which is situated behind the work piston.

    Why Use Air Over Oil Cylinders?

    Air over oil cylinders offer a host of unique advantages over more traditional pneumatic systems. Since compressed air is ubiquitous in virtually every industrial setting, it offers a convenient source of clean power that can easily be intensified using HyperCyl’s air over oil cylinders.

    Our state-of-the-art air over oil cylinder design offers a low-cost, highly efficient means of converting compressed air to smooth fluid force. HyperCyl’s air over oil cylinders only use 25% – 30% of compressed air when compared with multi-piston pneumatic cylinders for the same operation.

    While many companies are phasing out hydraulic power units and cylinders, the HyperCyl air over oil cylinders offer a cost-effective solution for facilities that want the power of a hydraulic system in a smaller package. Our air over oil intensifier units can provide up to 200 tons of force while using significantly less space than traditional hydraulic systems. The smaller size of our air over oil cylinders allows for reduced bore size compared to standard multi-stage pneumatic cylinders.

    Our air over oil cylinders make no more sound than a standard pneumatic cylinder. Since there is no power unit like hydraulics, you enjoy less noise, less heat generation, and no continuously running motor. Energy is needed only while HyperCyl is moving; at rest zero noise and zero energy is realized. To suit your specific needs, we offer six models of air over oil intensifier cylinders suitable for a broad variety of industries and applications. In addition, we are pleased to work with you to create custom stroke cylinders quickly and efficiently, within your budget.

    Partnering With HyperCyl for Air Over Oil Cylinders

    For more than 25 years, HyperCyl has been a leading expert in the design and manufacture of air over oil, or hydra-pneumatic, cylinders. Our extensive expertise extends to servo-controlled actuators, assembly cells, and presses using our cutting-edge cylinder technology. As a privately-owned company based out of Dundee, Michigan, we are proud to produce our products in America.

    We are dedicated to helping our customers find the perfect motion solutions for their particular needs. Our seasoned experts will work closely with you to determine the appropriate force and stroke requirements for optimal power and efficiency. Each of our air-over-oil cylinders offers unique features to enhance your operations, soft initial part contact and enhanced energy efficiency. The pressure stroke of the cylinder can be regulated separately from the approach stroke, allowing you to fully tailor your force and energy usage for optimal cost savings.

    At HyperCyl, we offer a variety of triggering mechanisms for high-pressure actuation, without the need for cylinder alterations. This mechanism can be triggered based on a pressure threshold (ELT sensor), specified stroke distance (LVDT), or a simple proximity sensor. Other standard features of our air over oil cylinders include:

    • Complete air/oil separation
    • Wear bands on internal pistons for increased life
    • Variable operating positions or attitudes
    • No external oil reservoir
    • Up to 200 tons linear output force
    • Three primary moving components
    • NFPA medium-duty mounting
    • Tie rods with 100,000 psi tensile-strength
    • Operation and maintenance manual
    • Heavy-duty construction for long service life
    • 4.5 million MTBF (mean time before failure)
    • 20 million cycle service life
    • Accessories include gauge kits, sensors, total stroke limiters, alignment couplers, rod locks, and more
    • HyperCyl’s “IntelliCyl” package offers in-process validation of each part thereby dramatically reducing part-nonconformance, scrap rates, and check QTY of fixtures involved
    • Limited Lifetime warranty for cylinder materials and workmanship

    Superior Quality and Exceptional Workmanship by HyperCyl

    Since 1994, HyperCyl has been providing innovative solutions to some of the most challenging motion problems. Our years of experience and commitment to quality have made us a leading provider of actuators and press systems for customers in almost any industry. We hold our products to the highest standard, consistent with the Buy American Act and Made in the USA requirements.

    To learn more about our extensive selection of air over oil cylinders and other actuation solutions, contact us today or request a quote.

  3. A Guide to Pneumatic Cylinder Installation

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    Pneumatic cylinders are mechanical components that provide linear force to various devices and systems. They generate the force by applying compressed air to one side of a sealed barrel and exhausting it from the other side. This action causes the piston/rod assembly contained inside to extend or retract.

    It is important to install pneumatic cylinders correctly. Otherwise, there is a risk of inaccurate or unreliable operation and premature failure. This is especially true for hydra-pneumatic cylinders, which generate high forces in a small package. As such, incorrect installation can lead to severe equipment damage and/or operator injury.

    Below, we discuss how to install a pneumatic cylinder properly. Additionally, we highlight the importance of testing the system before putting it into operation and the precautions to take when performing installations.

    How Do I Install a Pneumatic Cylinder Properly?

    Pneumatic CylinderThere are two essential fixing points to consider when installing a pneumatic cylinder: the body and the piston rod end. How these points are fixed depends on the application.

    In static applications, the cylinder can be mounted to the machine bench and fixed rigidly to its structure. Both pneumatic and hydra-pneumatic cylinders are typically mounted with a rectangular front flange mount (also sometimes called an MF1 mount or FH mount) or tapped holes in the front of the face (also sometimes called an MR1 mount or UH mount) due to the high forces generated. However, some pneumatic cylinders use a semi-rigid trunnion mounting method (MT1) that utilizes body supports or pivots and clevis pins. It allows them to rotate as they follow the extension and retraction of the piston rod. In rare cases, a side lug mounting method (MS2T mount) may be used.

    In complex linkage applications, the cylinder must be able to swivel on its mountings. There are several solutions to this mounting requirement. For example, a front clevis, central trunnion, or rear hinge can be used on the body of the cylinder to allow the cylinder and load system to achieve different degrees of balance. Alternatively, a clevis, front hinge, or universal eye can be used at the end of the piston rod to mount swivel attachments. If a trunnion mounting method is chosen, it is essential to ensure the cylinder can oscillate freely on the mountings and the pipe connections can flex when in use.

    Some of the things to keep in mind when installing a pneumatic cylinder include:

    • Minimize or eliminate side loading. Side loading is highly damaging to pneumatic cylinders. Ensuring the cylinder is correctly aligned and properly mounted can reduce the risk of it occurring. An alignment coupler or die set coupling can also eliminate or minimize side loading when attaching the rod end to the tooling.
    • Lubricate the bearing slides and trunnions. The bearing slides and trunnions should be lubricated as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

    Why Should I Test the System?

    Before putting a cylinder into operation, it is critical to test the entire system to ensure the component actuates with minimal resistance and the rod experiences minimal side loading. Testing operations can be conducted by using a flexible air line and blow gun to check the cylinder is installed properly and able to move freely at the published minimum operating pressures. For hydra-pneumatic cylinders, it is vital to test them in low pressures (approach and retract) without going into high pressures (intensification) to ensure the tooling and overall setup are aligned correctly. These testing operations should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for sequencing the cylinder for approach, retract, and intensification.

    What Precautions Should I Take When Installing Pneumatic Cylinders?

    There are many considerations to keep in mind when installing a pneumatic cylinder. Be sure to take the following precautions to ensure safe installation:

    • Avoid attaching unsupported loads directly to the piston rod. Use roller guides or a slide to support the load.
    • Minimize bending moments. Suspend the rod end from a roller track or another form of external guidance if it has a long out-stroke and high shear weight.  Install external bearings, or guides, to reduce side loading wherever possible.
    • Align the pneumatic cylinder and guided loads properly. The use of alignment couplers, or die set couplers, will overcome minimal alignment issues.
    • Use properly conditioned air, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Particulate filtration, removal of water (moisture), and other contaminants is important for nearly every manufacturer’s cylinders and pneumatic valves.

    Hydra-Pneumatic Cylinder Solutions at HyperCyl

    If you’re looking for hydra-pneumatic cylinders and presses for your assembly and forming operations, turn to the experts at HyperCyl. Equipped with more than 20 years of experience, we have the knowledge and skills to help you identify the right equipment for your needs. Our products are carefully designed, assembled, and installed to allow for greater process control, higher retract force, and better cost savings.

    For more information about pneumatic cylinders or our product and service offerings, contact us or request a quote today.

  4. The Different Types of Industrial Press Systems

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    C-Frame PressAn industrial press — more commonly called a machine press — can perform a broad range of tasks that require the application of pressure to form and shape metal. In addition to forming, industrial presses can accommodate tooling for cutting, assembly, and more. Presses are available in many different sizes and may use various energy sources.

    There are three types of standard press system frames:

    • The H-frame press allows for easy material pass-through; front to back &/or left to right.
    • The C-frame press facilitates easy loading/unloading from the front, or from either side.
    • The CGB-frame press features a low-profile design and accommodates bench-top use.

    The ideal frame and method of applying force will depend on the application. There are five types of industrial presses commonly used in machine shops.

    Manual Press

    (Click to Expand)
    The Different Types of Industrial Press Systems

    Manual presses are sometimes known as a workshop press or arbor press. A manual press derives its power from a human operator. The manual press’s ram can be moved in a linear motion and generates forces using simple methods like leverage. Affordable and straightforward in design, manual presses are ideal for bench-mounting and performing light-duty tasks, like bending and piercing for very low volume operations. The operator controls the press by moving the ram and applying force using a lever or handle.

    Pneumatic Press

    A pneumatic press uses compressed air to increase the cylinder’s internal pressure, generating linear motion and force. Pneumatic presses generate a relatively low maximum force dependent on the pressure of the regulated air source and the size of the cylinder bore. Although the maximum force may be low, pneumatic presses minimize operator fatigue with no tactile feedback.

    Pneumatic presses are typically cost-effective for minimal to periodic use, providing quick and consistent force throughout the stroke range. Typical processes for pneumatic presses may include punching, bending, extruding, forming, and shearing.

    Pneumatic Intensified (Air/Oil) Press

    These presses are also called hydra-pneumatic presses, or air over oil presses. They use an air over oil intensifier cylinder for the press’s motion. They are controlled pneumatically, but they have a trapped section of hydraulic oil in the cylinder which gets intensified to provide higher forces (up to 200 tons). Air/Oil presses provide a smooth controlled power stroke to the workpiece. A pressure regulator controls the power stroke force, and a hard stop in the cylinder, part, or tooling controls the power stroke length. Hydra-pneumatic presses typically use significantly less compressed air than standard pneumatic presses, so they are more efficient for production environments.

    Hydraulic Assembly Press

    Pneumo-Hydraulic CylinderA hydraulic assembly press uses a hydraulic cylinder filled with oil, and a hydraulic power unit powered by an electric motor to move the ram and generate force through the hydraulic cylinder. Hydraulic presses are available in a broad range of sizes and capabilities. In general, the hydraulic cylinders’ bore size and regulated operating pressure determine the machine’s maximum force. The hydraulic press delivers consistent force throughout the stroke range and is adjustable based on a pressure switch or force setting.

    Servo-Electric Press

    servo-electric pressA servo-electric press delivers fuller control with flexibility and consistent force throughout the stroke. The servo-electric press is gaining popularity in recent years as the prices become lower. This industrial press type has several advantages, including a long lifespan, energy efficiency, and simple maintenance without messy oil and power units. It uses plant electricity to generate linear motion through a servo motor or drive unit integrated with a ball screw or roller screw actuator. Servo-electric presses also feature high precision and deliver full tonnage throughout the stroke without producing substantial noise, and have complete controllability at the touch of a button.

    Rely on HyperCyl for Your Industrial Press Systems

    An industrial press delivers force for cutting, assembling, and forming workpieces. With various industrial press systems to choose from, there is sure to be a press that suits your application. At HyperCyl, we have been delivering high-quality hydra-pneumatic press solutions since our establishment in 1994, and HyperCyl-EMA servo press solutions since 2010. Aries Engineering/HyperCyl is a privately-owned, American company with headquarters in Dundee, Michigan.

    HyperCyl has been a member of the NFPA since the year 2000, and a charter member of the Assembly Show. We offer UL, CSA, CE panel certifications for any given system. We also hold seven trademarks and six patents on our cutting edge technology.

    To learn more about our services and capabilities, reach out to us, or request a quote.

  5. Everything You Need to Know About Hydra-Pneumatic Cylinders

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    Hydra-pneumatic cylinders—commonly referred to in the industry as hydro-pneumatic cylinders, air-over-oil cylinders, or intensifier cylinders—are pneumatically controlled cylinders engineered to generate higher hydraulic pressures to achieve a greater stroke force than can be attained by solely pneumatic cylinders of the same bore size. For example, a 5-inch bore pneumatic cylinder can output less than 1 ton of force at 100 psi, while a 5-inch bore hydra-pneumatic cylinder can produce up to 10, 15, or 20 tons of force, depending on the design.

    The following blog post provides an overview of hydra-pneumatic cylinders, including how they work, key features, typical applications, and solutions at HyperCyl.

    How Do Hydra-Pneumatic Cylinders Work?

    Pneumo-Hydraulic CylinderIn contrast to strictly pneumatic or strictly hydraulic cylinders, these hybrid cylinders rely on the surface area differential of an internal pneumatic piston-rod assembly to significantly increase the pressure of trapped oil above the work piston, to provide an intensified hydraulic cylinder output force. Initially, they function similarly to pneumatic, double-acting cylinders, extending and retracting to the workpiece with output forces typical of pneumatic cylinders. However, once in contact with the workpiece, a second pneumatically controlled cylinder section drives a rod into the oil section, sealing it off, and intensifying the internal pressure. The intensified oil pressure pushes against the work piston, producing an increased output thrust, typical of hydraulic cylinders.

    Similar to other double-acting pneumatic cylinders, hydra-pneumatic cylinders utilize valves to control their motion. They have one four-way valve to control approach and retract motion, and one four-way valve to control oil pressure intensification. This design combines the advantages of pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders without any of the disadvantages (e.g., excess heat and noise, space limits, or risk of leaks). Compared to strictly pneumatic cylinders with a multi-stage design, these cylinders consume only about 1/4 to 1/3 of the air.

    Key Features of Hydra-Pneumatic Cylinders

    While hydra-pneumatic cylinders come in a variety of designs to suit different applications, some of their key features include:

    • HPX Hydra-pneumatic cylinderThree major moving components
    • Simple control circuits
    • Total/air oil separation on both sides of the oil
    • Wear bands on the reservoir and work pistons
    • Linear output forces up to 200 tons
    • Heavy-duty construction for durability and reliability
    • Tie rods with tensile strengths of 100,000 psi
    • Mean time between failure (MTBF) of 4.7 million strokes
    • Service life of 20 million strokes
    • Operational capacities in any position or attitude
    • Medium-duty mounting styles compliant with National Fluid Power Association (NFPA)
    • Included repair manual and field serviceable seal kits
    • Options for gage kits, sensors, total stroke limiters, alignment couplers, and more

    Typical Industry Applications for Hydra-Pneumatic Cylinders

    InetlliCyl Pneumo-Hydraulic CylinderThe full line (six series) of HyperCyl® hydra-pneumatic cylinders are designed for machine builders and OEMs to use in their own presses and automation, as well as for use in HyperCyl supplied presses. HyperCyl presses are available with “C” frames or “H” frames, unguided, two-column guided, or four-column guided upper bolsters, and bench-mounted, pedestal, or machine base configurations. Due to their modular design, machine designers can choose a simple frame and drive unit design that facilitates integration into a larger assembly process, or a turnkey design that incorporates automation technology, controls, and more.

    HyperCyl presses find use in a wide range of production applications, such as:

    • Part insertion and assembly
    • Material piercing
    • Clinching
    • Staking
    • Drawing
    • Marking
    • Cutting
    • Pressing
    • Folding
    • Riveting

    Why Partner With HyperCyl for Your Hydra-Pneumatic Cylinder Needs?

    HyperCyl by Aries Engineering Company (AEC) is a privately owned company based in Dundee, Michigan. We specialize in the manufacture of hydra-pneumatic cylinders and presses for assembly, piercing, and forming applications. By utilizing our cylinders, our customers benefit from the following:

    • Greater Process Control: Our cylinders allow for separate regulation of the approach stroke and power stroke, which allows for more complete control over the process without the need for cylinder reconfiguration.
    • Higher Retract Force: Since our cylinders generate greater retract forces, they can accommodate the attachment of heavier tooling.
    • No Stored Energy: Our cylinders do not use mechanical springs to move the pistons, which can break and hinder/halt operations. There are no unexpected motions from stored energy in HyperCyl cylinders.
    • Better Cost Savings: Our cylinders consume less air than other pneumatic cylinders. Our cylinders take up less space, generate less heat and noise, and cost less to purchase than a hydraulic cylinder and power unit. Additionally, they offer faster operational speeds and a smaller risk of leakage.

    All of these qualities translate to lower investment, operational, and/or maintenance costs.

    Source Hydra-Pneumatic Cylinders from HyperCyl

    Since 1994, we’ve helped our customers determine the force and stroke requirements for their applications to help them design and purchase the right equipment for their needs. By evaluating their parts with our in-house equipment, we help identify the forces needed, and which actuator is best suited for their assembly, piercing, or forming application. All supplied materials are accompanied by complete evaluation documentation and reporting. We also offer access to an extensive database of hundreds of previous assembly and forming applications for examples of our capabilities.

    To learn more about our product solutions and how they can benefit your assembly or forming application, contact us today. To discuss your application requirements with one of our experts, request a quote.