We specialize in electric servos, drives, and controls from Indramat, now Rexroth-Bosch. So why are we even mentioning pneumatics? Because we’ve recently seen discussions of how packaging plants are switching from pneumatics to the smoother electric servos.
Is electric better than pneumatic?
Electric can be more energy-saving, since compressors usually produce pressure that is not needed. Since running an air compressor at a lower capacity can be less efficient, right-sizing pneumatic components can be difficult. If the pneumatic component is not used continually, it becomes even more of an energy hog, because the compressor has to be running even when the component is not in use.
Pneumatics are generally less accurate than electric or electronic options. With greater precision, you may also be looking at a higher initial cost. The inefficiency of pneumatics discussed above offsets the initial savings, though, making pneumatic options more costly in the long run.
In cases where maximum force for lowest initial cost is the goal and precision is not a major factor, pneumatics may be the way to go. However, they are being replaced across the board as the opportunity presents.
The picture? That’s a pneumatic potato cannon. An electric potato cannon would definitely be overkill.