Pneumatic linear slides are used in a wide range of applications throughout many industries. Guided and supported linear motion is the foundation for many of these applications. Over the years the requirement for flexibility and more productive devices has led to the need for multiple position linear slides. Providing multiple positions with a pneumatic linear slide can be a tricky proposition. There have been numerous products introduced using pneumatic servo technology with some success. The compressibility of air, potential contamination issues, and high cost have limited the success of these pneumatic servo systems.
Another more popular alternative is to use electrically driven linear slides using a belt or ball screw drive and servo or stepper motors. This technology has been widely adopted but comes with a higher initial investment than a pneumatic linear slide. One cost-effective alternative is a pneumatic linear slide using adjustable built-in pneumatic stops to achieve very accurate multiple positions.
The idea of incorporating built-in adjustable stops on a pneumatic linear slide does not fit every application, but is effective where 3 to 5 adjustable positions are needed. The example presented in this article is a saddle or carriage type pneumatic slide using a built-in rodless cylinder as the drive mechanism. The load carrying carriage is supported and guided by a built-in precision rail bearing assembly.