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Compressed Air & Pneumatics - Fluid Controls

How a pneumatic system works

Pneumatic systems are commonly used in a wide variety of industries and applications. You can find them in air compressors, power tools, air brakes, and much more. Pneumatic systems are so common that you may not even be aware of their presence in a number of applications. But just how do they work? Continue reading this insightful blog from Fluid Controls to find out how pneumatic systems work.

What is a pneumatic system?

A pneumatic system uses compressed air or gas to power and control the movement of mechanical components. They are used in a wide range of applications, including manufacturing, automation, transportation, and construction.

The basic components of a pneumatic system include a storage tank that’s used to house compressed air, a compressor that generates the compressed air or gas, and various pneumatic components (such as valves, cylinders, and actuators). These are used to control the flow and pressure of the compressed air and convert it into mechanical motion.

Pneumatics are the preferred choice in situations where electricity or hydraulics may not be practical. They’re also, generally, more cost-effective and easier to maintain than other types of systems. Plus, they can be designed to be highly precise and provide consistent and reliable operation.

How does the pneumatic system work?

A pneumatic system uses compressed air or gas to transmit and control energy. When the compressed air is released from the storage tank, it flows through a series of pipes to reach the pneumatic components. Air pressure is then controlled by regulating the flow of air through valves or adjusting the pressure regulator.

The components of the pneumatic system convert the energy of the compressed air into mechanical motion. For example, a pneumatic cylinder uses a piston that moves within a cylinder. This is driven by compressed air.

What are the benefits of pneumatic systems?

Pneumatic systems are often chosen to power applications and equipment in a wide range of industries and environments because they come with so many benefits. Here is a breakdown of some of the advantages you can get from pneumatic systems:

  • Reliability
  • Safety
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Flexibility
  • Efficiency


Pneumatic systems are well-known for their durability and reliability. They’re not affected by changes in temperature or humidity and they’re resistant to shock and vibration. This makes them ideal for use in harsh environments, like construction sites.


Pneumatic systems excel in terms of safety because they don’t generate sparks or heat, thus reducing the risk of fire or explosion. They can also be used in hazardous environments without risk to individuals operating the machinery.


For any industry, costs are an important factor in decision-making. Pneumatic systems are often chosen as the power source because they’re generally less expensive than other types of systems. They require fewer components, they’re easier to install and have a longer lifespan because of how simple their maintenance is.


Pneumatic systems can be customised to accommodate changes in production or manufacturing. They can be designed to operate in a variety of ways, which makes them ideal for use in tight spaces or unusual applications.


The final benefit of a pneumatic system is its efficiency. A pneumatic system can provide precise and consistent operation and can be used to power multiple components at the same time. This reduces the need for additional power sources, which is ideal for remote working environments.

Which industries and applications would you find pneumatic systems being used?

As previously mentioned, pneumatic systems are used in a wide variety of applications and industries. Here is a list of the most common:

  • Manufacturing – Pneumatic systems are used in manufacturing for material handling, packaging and assembly.
  • Automotive – You’ll find pneumatic systems in braking, suspension and transmission systems in vehicles. For example, air brakes on buses use pneumatics.
  • Aerospace – Similar to the automotive industry, the aerospace industry uses pneumatic systems for braking and landing gear.
  • Food and beverage – Pneumatics are used for conveying, filling and packaging in the food and beverage industry.
  • Medical and pharmaceutical – Medical equipment such as ventilators, blood pressure monitors and dental equipment all use pneumatic systems as a power source.
  • Construction – Pneumatics are used in construction to power tools and equipment on-site. They’re heavily favoured because of a lack of power sources on a building site.

Pneumatics at Fluid Controls

At Fluid Controls, we offer a large range of compressed air and pneumatic products from respected manufacturing giants, Norgren. You can choose from a number of different Norgren products, including actuators, valves, pressure switches, and fittings. All of these are ideal for a broad spectrum of pneumatic applications in the industrial automation industry.
If you’d like to find out more about our range of pneumatic products, don’t hesitate to contact us today at +44(0)118 970 2060, or email us at fluid@fluidcontrols.co.uk.

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