Not All ISO Cylinders Are Created Equal
If you’re an industrial equipment manufacturer, distributor, or customer that uses ISO cylinders, it’s important to note that not all ISO cylinders are exactly the same. That might seem surprising, considering that ISO certification assures that products conform to certain stringent requirements.
ISO cylinders are, indeed, alike in form, fit, and function. They have the same key dimensions regardless of brand, so ISO designation indicates that “like” cylinders will all fit in the same space and perform the same function. However, there are four quality measures to look at when considering which manufacturer to go with: the types of seals, cap construction, and the materials used for both the pistons and the cushioning pins.
Quality Considerations for ISO Cylinders
No one wants to overpay for industrial components. But a cylinder that costs less upfront may not give you the long, consistent service life you expect and need. If it doesn’t, you’ll wind up paying more in the long run–so price should not be your only consideration.
Aside from cost, the ISO designation alone doesn’t guarantee you’re getting the best product. Cylinders are made up of multiple components. Here’s what you need to know to determine the quality of the cylinders you’re considering, which sometimes includes what’s inside. The information is not always available in the brand’s specs. If it’s not, be prepared with these things you should ask the manufacturer about.
1. The type of seals
What the material seals are made of determines how well they do their job and how long they last–two factors that are mission-critical for any equipment that uses actuators. In industrial settings, imperfect seals can allow contaminants to infiltrate the cylinder and/or allow lubricants to leak, potentially endangering both the equipment and the products being made. Look for seals made by a well-established company that uses time-proven materials for their seals.
2. The structure of the caps
If the caps aren’t securely fastened, repeated operating cycles and vibration can weaken the attachment causing performance problems. It’s essential that caps have a solid structure, especially around the screw holes, with reinforcing ribbing or something similar that ensures the caps remain tightly secured to the cylinder under duress.
3. Piston material
Pistons take the brunt of every stroke. The stronger and more durable the material, the longer the piston will last. Some ISO actuators use pistons made of a plastic compound, which is less expensive but also prone to breakage or quicker wear. Pistons made of aluminum are tougher and more durable.
4. Cushioning pin material
Here, too, material directly affects longevity and overall cost-effectiveness. Cushioning pins absorb force so they have to be durable. While some ISO cylinders use cushioning pins made of nickel-plated aluminum or another material, the strongest material is nickel-plated steel. In harsh environments where corrosion resistance is also an important factor, only nickel-plated steel or stainless steel are advisable.
Manufacturing You Can Trust
ISO certification infers a certain level of trust–the reason the ISO system exists. But there’s more than that to finding the best product for your application. Customers have trusted W.C. Branham for decades to provide cylinders and other products that are consistently top quality.
If you need ISO cylinders or are considering switching to ISO cylinders for your applications, check out our line of Artec products. And if you have questions, we’re always here to answer them and help you explore solutions for your complex actuator needs.